Can Area Rugs Be Steam Cleaned?

Area rugs are a wonderful way to add texture and color to a room. They can also serve as a focal point.

However, with regular use, they can get dirty and smelly. Steam cleaning can help remove stubborn stains and disinfect the rug. However, the hot moisture can damage hardwood floors beneath an area rug.

What to Expect

According to Valley Carpet Cleaning, the best way to get a deep clean on your area rug is to steam it. This is because a steam cleaner can remove dirt, grease, and grime from the carpet, which can often be hard to get rid of with other cleaning methods like shampooing. The best part about steam cleaning is that it doesn’t leave your carpet with excess moisture like shampooing does, which can lead to the growth of mold and mildew.

Following the steam cleaner manufacturer’s instructions is important when using it. Then, fill the tank with distilled water and add any cleaning solution that is recommended for your specific machine. Start the steamer in one corner of the room and work slowly toward the door as you move the cleaner around the area rug. You’ll want to make sure that you’ve covered the entire area rug before moving on to the next section of the room.

When you’re ready to switch to a new section of the rug, pull the steamer backward until the area is completely clean, and then push it forward again. Repeat this process until all areas of the rug are completely cleaned. This will help prevent any color or texture fading from over-saturation with the cleaning solution.

If you’re unsure whether your rug is safe to be steam cleaned, always do a spot test first in an inconspicuous area of the rug. It’s also a good idea to do a general dusting of the area before you steam clean. This will remove any dust that might fall onto the floor as the steam cleaner passes over it and can help keep your home dust-free.

The only downside to steam cleaning is that stains aren’t usually completely removed. If you have a stubborn stain, it may be necessary to use a chemical detergent in addition to the steamer. This will help to lift the stain and prevent it from reappearing after the area is dry. This is especially true for older stains, which can become set deeply into the fibers of your rug.


Area rugs are a wonderful addition to any home and can help keep floors warmer in winter, add some style, and offer safety when someone trips or falls on hard flooring. Unfortunately, like wall-to-wall carpeting, area rugs can pick up odors and stains and collect dirt and dust just as easily. Regular cleaning with a rug steamer can help reduce these issues.

To prep your area rugs for steam cleaning, vacuum them thoroughly and spot-treat any areas of concern with a quality stain remover. Then, hang your rugs outdoors on a sunny day over a clothesline or patio beam. Be sure to shake them well to force loose dirt elements to come out and help beat any dust mites hiding in the weave.

Once the rugs are back inside, you can use your home or rental rug steamer to steam them. Be sure to follow the directions for your steamer and use any cleaning solution that the manufacturer recommends. If you want to add some extra cleaning power, try adding a small amount of vinegar to your cleaning solution. Vinegar has a lower pH value than many commercial cleaners and will often perform just as well at breaking down and removing dirt.

Before you finish cleaning, comb through your area rugs to look for items you may have missed with the vacuum or steamer, such as bobby pins, jewelry, and rogue toys. Once the rugs are dry, it is a good idea to put up signs in your home or office to ask people to avoid the area until it’s fully dried, which can take up to a full day.

While steam cleaning does a great job at removing surface dirt, it can’t fully unsettle and dislodge the germs and contaminants that have been settling deep within your rug for years. This is why it’s important to regularly dust your rugs and clean them with a good carpet cleaner and deodorizer between steam cleaning sessions. These products can kill the bacteria and odors that have been building up in your rugs, making them feel fresher and healthier to live with.


Area rugs can be beautiful additions to your home decor, and they do a great job of defining rooms and adding warmth underfoot. Unfortunately, they also tend to pick up a lot of dirt, stains, and unpleasant odors over time. Getting them cleaned regularly can help keep your home looking good and smelling great.

Steaming an area rug is one of the best ways to clean it. This process sanitizes the fibers and helps to eliminate or reduce odors, stains, and other damage. This can help extend the life of your rugs, and it is relatively simple to do at home.

First, you will need to vacuum your rugs to remove any loose dirt and debris. This will also help to remove the dirt from the cracks and crevices where it can hide. It is a good idea to vacuum your area rugs at least once per week and several times weekly in high-traffic areas.

Next, you will need to rinse your area rugs in the sink or bathtub. You will need to use hot water for this and a mild dishwashing liquid or carpet cleaner. Consult your rug’s care instructions for a recommendation on the safest cleaner to use. Always test a small corner of your rug before using any cleaning product to ensure it is colorfast.

Once your rug is rinsed, you will need to let it dry. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a day. Place a fan in the room to speed up the drying process if you can.

In between steam cleaning your rugs, you can try to deodorize them with spray cleaners designed for area rugs. These cleaners can help eliminate odors caused by foods, stinky feet, and pets. Just be sure to rinse your rugs well after using these products so that the excess moisture can be removed as quickly as possible and you do not risk mold or mildew problems. It is also a good idea to vacuum your rugs regularly to keep them as clean as possible and prevent them from becoming matted and damaged.


Area rugs help define spaces, add color, and provide warmth underfoot. However, they can also attract and hold stains. And, like carpeting, they need to be cleaned on a regular basis. The most effective method is steam cleaning. Unlike carpeting, which can be shampooed, a rug’s natural fibers do not react well to harsh chemicals and heat. So, it is important to follow the care instructions that came with your rug or consult a professional to determine if steam cleaning is safe for your area rug.

Remove all the furniture from the room before you steam clean your area rug. This will allow you to reach the entire surface of your area rug. If you can’t move the furniture, place squares of wax paper, foil, wood blocks, or plastic film under the legs of the furniture to protect it from damage by the steam cleaner’s hot moisture.

Next, vacuum the area rug to remove any dirt and debris that may be trapped within the fibers. You can also use an enzymatic stain remover that is safe for your area rug’s fibers. If a stain is especially stubborn, you can try scrubbing it with a soft brush or a rag. But be sure to blot rather than scrub to avoid causing permanent damage to your area rug.

Once your area rug is clean, let it dry in an open area outside. If this is not possible, place the rug over a clothesline or laundry rack in a warm, sunny spot where air can move freely. You can also try placing the area rug in front of a fan to help speed up the drying process.

When the area rug is completely dry, you can put it back in its place. However, checking the rug every six hours for dampness is a good idea. If you notice that certain areas of the area rug are still wet, you can run a steam cleaner over it again using an extraction-only setting to pull out the remaining liquid and help your area rug dry faster.

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