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How to Clean and Maintain Outdoor Rugs and Carpets

modern outdoor patio with carpet


Adding outdoor rugs and carpets to your deck or patio is a fun way to incorporate colours and textures into your outdoor living space. With abundant available styles, sizes, and designs, you will surely find an outdoor rug that helps bring your vision for your deck or patio to life! However, keeping your outdoor rug or carpet looking fresh and tidy requires a bit of maintenance and regular cleaning – just like indoor rugs, carpets, and mats!


Luckily cleaning outdoor rugs and maintaining outdoor carpets is fairly simple – particularly when you have some space outside to give them a good cleaning from time to time. Below, we share our outdoor rug care guide and offer tips for DIY outdoor rug cleaning. Continue reading to learn more!


Cleaning Outdoor Rugs and Carpets

Cleaning your outdoor rug is not complex, but the process can require a bit of time and muscle power depending on the material, texture, and outdoor carpet size you are working with. For example, natural fibre rugs are elegant, lightweight, and cozy, but they can also be tough to keep clean and mould-free. On the other hand, outdoor rugs made from synthetic materials like polypropylene, polyester, and nylon are typically more suited to outdoor environments and are easier to maintain.


Regardless, there are generally four steps for routine outdoor carpet maintenance, including:

  • Shaking off loose dirt and debris

  • Vacuuming or sweeping

  • Rinsing with water

  • Gently scrubbing with a cleaning solution

  • Drying


We cover these steps for cleaning your outdoor rug or carpet in more detail below.


Step 1: Shake Off Loose Dirt and Debris

With any outdoor rug or carpet, dirt, stones, dust, pollen, and snack crumbs will inevitably accumulate over time. Often, they can work themselves down into the weave of your outdoor rug or carpet and be difficult to get out otherwise. More plush outdoor carpets are typically the worst offenders for collecting crud, but natural fibre rugs can also trap a lot of tiny particles in their smaller weaves. However, a good shake can make a big difference in loosening or freeing all those bits and pieces.


If your outdoor rug or carpet is large or heavy, enlist your partner or family members to help with this step; you'll need to work your muscles to loosen as many particulars as possible. Alternatively, you can drape your outdoor rug or carpet over your deck railing or fence and whack away with a broom until you’re satisfied that much of the unwanted dirt, dust, and debris has been removed for your outdoor rug or carpet.


Step 2: Vacuum Your Outdoor Rug or Carpet

Vacuuming or sweeping outdoor carpets is a quick and easy way to draw up smaller dirt or dust particles still clinging to the surface or within the weaves. This part of the process is one of the easiest steps for both routine outdoor rug and carpet cleaning, as well as your more infrequent deep cleans. It is also a low-effort thing to knock off your to-do list on a beautiful sunny day when you want to be outside enjoying your backyard, deck, or patio.


pressure washing outdoor carpet


Step 3: Rinse Away Dirt

Deep cleaning outdoor rugs is a bit more involved than simply sweeping away or vacuuming up dirt and debris, but it can still be a really satisfying process when you have time to get it done. While most people do not love cleaning during their limited free time, watching the dirt flow off an outdoor carpet or rug can be kind of fun! Who doesn't love a small dose of immediate gratification?


In preparation for rinsing your outdoor rugs, carpets, or mats, find a debris- and spill-free surface on your deck, patio, or driveway. Choose a location large enough to unroll your rug fully. Look for slight inclines where possible, as these will help water drain off your rug later.


Next, spray your outdoor rug, carpet, or mat with clean water from your hose or pressure washer until you are satisfied that you have done a thorough job. Keep an eye out for stains or other trouble spots, and make a mental note of where they are so you can treat them accordingly.


Pro Tip for Removing Stains from Outdoor Rugs: If you notice spills or stains, spot-treat your outdoor rug or carpet before proceeding to step 4. Best practices for spot cleaning outdoor rugs and carpets include spraying or applying a spot treatment and blotting the stain. Scrubbing stains can work them deeper into the weave and ultimately make them more difficult for you to remove. You will likely have better luck removing stains from synthetic outdoor rugs versus natural fibre materials, especially if you catch them early.


Step 4: Scrub Off Stubborn Dirt and Grime

Once your outdoor rug or carpet is saturated with water, you are ready to give it a deep clean and scrub off stubborn dirt and grime. To help lift greasy buildup, use a simple mixture of dish soap and water. Vinegar and baking soda are also popular choices for eco-friendly cleaning methods for outdoor rugs - and you likely already have these cleaning solution ingredients on-hand at home!


As outdoor rugs and carpets are designed to withstand the elements and foot traffic on your deck or patio (particularly those made with synthetic materials), more concentrated cleaning solutions typically are not required. However, you can use household carpet cleaners if you wish – just ensure you test a small spot first to avoid discolouring or damaging your outdoor rug.


Work your DIY or household carpet cleaning solution of choice into your outdoor rug and gently scrub both sides with a soft-bristled brush. Once complete, rinse your outdoor rug with clean water from your hose or pressure washer until all cleaning solution appears to have been washed away.


woman brushing a blue carpet


Step 6: Dry Your Outdoor Rug or Carpet

The last step for cleaning your outdoor rug or carpet is to dry it completely. At this stage of the process, it will likely be heavier than before you began the cleaning process. If you have someone to give you a hand, and a sturdy railing or fence where you can hang your rug, you can do so immediately after rinsing. Alternatively, you can leave it in place and let the sun do most of the work for drying outdoor carpets – just be sure to flip it from time to time to ensure even drying on both sides.


Pro Tip for Drying Outdoor Carpets: One quick way to drain some excess water from your synthetic or natural fibre outdoor rug before hanging or laying it out to dry is to roll it and stand it on one of its ends. Gravity will help drain much of the water, reducing drying time and preventing mould and mildew on outdoor rugs and carpets.


Preserving Outdoor Rugs and Carpets

Now that you know the best practices for cleaning outdoor carpets, our last tip for outdoor rug maintenance is regarding storage – particularly in the winter months. Storage best practices for outdoor rugs and carpets are very similar to how you typically store your patio furniture cushions and other outdoor décor.


The key to maintaining the durability and colour of outdoor rugs and carpets is to reduce exposure to the harshest elements whenever possible. To do this, ensure you vacuum or sweep your rug. Then, roll or gently fold it up and set it aside in storage until you are ready to resume patio season again! This will help it last for - and look great - for years to come!


outdoor carpet and wicker patio furniture



In conclusion, incorporating outdoor rugs and carpets into your deck or patio décor plan is an easy way to increase visual interest while showcasing your personal design style.


Cleaning and maintaining your outdoor carpets is a simple process involving shaking off loose dirt and debris, vacuuming or sweeping your outdoor rug, rinsing it with a hose or power washer, scrubbing off grime with a cleaning solution, and allowing everything to dry naturally.


In addition to regularly cleaning your outdoor rug or carpet, it is also important to treat it the same way you would treat your outdoor patio cushions and décor over the winter months. Tuck them away throughout the winter to protect their durability and reduce fading and wear and tear.


Once your outdoor rug or carpet is clean, the last step is to get out into your backyard retreat and enjoy your outdoor living area!


Build Your Perfect Backyard Retreat With Decks by Premier!

Are you building your outdoor oasis but noticing that your deck, patio, or pergola could use an upgrade? Then give Decks by Premier a call today! For over 90 years, we have been helping homeowners like you create their perfect backyard retreat. We would love to make your vision come to life too!


Reach out to us today to connect with a Decks by Premier sales representative. We look forward to scheduling a no-obligation, on-site consultation at your convenience.

Dan Boyer at 2:55 PM
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