How to Clean an Area Rug with Pressure Washer

As an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
nuLOOM Moroccan Blythe Area Rug, 8' x 10', Grey/Off-white
Moroccan Blythe Area Rug (Click Image for More Info)

For many of us, area rugs, although sometimes unconscious or impulsive when added to a space, are a cornerstone décor and a significant statement piece that can hold any interior space together. They warm up and add color to rooms, as well as provide soft places for game playing, movie watching, and slumber partying. You can hang it on the wall or lay it on the floor as a covering. Either way you choose, a carpet or area rug serves a very important role in its function and aesthetic.

One downside of owning a rug is the seemingly magnetic ability of rugs to attract dirt. Kids spill food on them, visitors walk over Them with dirty shoes, pets can pee on them and you cannot stop it from gathering dust. All these make the regular cleaning of your rug a priority. In this article, we will show you how to clean your area rug with a pressure washer and little elbow grease. If you’ve been asking the question “How to deep clean your area rug?“, just go on reading.

Benefits Of Pressure Washing Your Rug

Some of the benefits of regularly cleaning a rug include:

  • It is very fast and cheap
  • It leaves your space free of airborne particles that can cause flu and respiratory troubles.
  • Properly cleaned rugs last longer
  • The fresh, calming smell is to look forward to. (Hint: deodorize by putting a generous amount of baking soda every couple of months. Allow the rug to soak it in, then vacuum)
  • The colors are better protected for longer if the rug is regularly washed.

You can send out a carpet to be cleaned by professionals. However, to save on cost, you can clean your rugs yourself. You only need a properly working pressure washer, and you will have it sparkling clean like a new one.

What to Consider Before Using a Pressure Washer on Your Area Rug


What material is the area rug made of?

You need to make sure that your rug is made from materials that can be pressure washed.

Area rugs are made from a diverse range of materials; from synthetic, polyester and polypropylene to oriental rugs, natural fibre rugs and pure wool rugs.

A pressure washer will do a great job with most rugs especially synthetic and polyester rugs which contain plastic. Plastic can basically withstand pressure washers and come out clean and unmarred. However, you may want to be careful or even avoid using a pressure washer on your oriental rugs and wool rugs because these materials are too delicate for a washer that works on so much force from power washing equipment. As you might deduce from the name, a pressure washer cleans using a lot of power and force. A steam cleaner may be more suitable for these. Natural fibre rugs have a degree sensitivity to too much water; a cleaning feature of pressure washer so you may want to be careful when washing as well.

Joinery and Stitching of the Area Rug

You should also check the joinery and stitching to ensure that they won’t come loose while being washed.  Not all area rugs are made from power washable materials. It is better if spot-cleaned, dry-cleaned, and others laundered.

The other aspect to consider is if you need to wash the entire rug or simply lift out the stains in a particular area. There is no reason to wash an entire rug if you simply need to clean a soiled spot.

What Materials Do You for Cleaning Your Area Rug With a Pressure Washer?

  • Carpet Shampoo, Dishwashing fluid – 1/3 to 1 Tsp or laundry detergent (Some detergents might not be suitable because they can cause discoloration.)
  • Stiff bristled broom or scrub brush – this helps if you have nasty spots.
  • Drying Equipment if not, a strong clothesline
  • Of course, your dirty area rug
  • An electric pressure washer with a garden hose

In this video, you can see the process of washing your area rug with washing powder and subsequently being pressure washed with a Karcher K4 full power pressure washer.


Kärcher - K 4 Electric Power Induction Pressure Washer - 1900 PSI - with Vario & Dirtblaster Spray Wands – 1.5 GPM

Check Price on Amazon

Here, another video shows you how to pressure wash your area rug but gives a bit more advise. As you can see, he uses the 45 and 25 degree nozzles. He also advises pressure washing only synthetic rugs.

The Ryobi 1600PSI also does a great job when pressure washing your rug.

Ryobi 1,600-PSI 1.2-GPM Electric Pressure Washer (Model RY141612)

Check Price on Amazon


Steps in Cleaning the Rug

1.  Select the surface to wash the rug on.

  • Find a place outdoors that is free from grease and loose dirt. Find a clean station that won’t dirty the rug. The most suitable areas for cleaning are wooden decks, or parking lots, and concrete sidewalks.
  • If you cannot find a clean spot, spread a tarp on the floor and wash the rug on it. You can also take your rug to a DIY car wash.
  • You should also ensure that the location is close to a source of water. Never power wash inside your house. Never power wash your rug inside the house because it is difficult to control the water.

2. Prepare For The Actual Cleaning

  • Hang the rug from a strong clothesline or spread it against the wall and beat the back to shake out the dust with a broom. Remember to wear a nose covering while doing this.
  • Sweep both sides of the rug thoroughly on both sides to remove any loose dirt. This is the best way to prepare your material for thorough cleaning. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to suck up all the loose dirt. Removing any debris, hair, food substances, and soil particles will enable the pressure washer to clean the immense dirt excellently.
  • To begin cleaning, lay the rug upside down on the washing surface. This is to allow you to get the compacted dirt at the bottom of the rug.

3. Prepare Your Machine

Before you press the trigger, attend to the machine.

  • Depending on the size of the rug to be washed, add as much carpet shampoo as recommended or as detergent as needed to the machine. Adding too much soap will make it difficult to rinse the rug.
  • Check if it is well filled and that the tanks are covered. Check if the hose and nozzles are sturdy enough and connect to the water source and they have the necessary attachments and accessories.
  • Plug it in or start the engine.

4. Wash the Area Rug Gently

  • Apply some carpet shampoo or detergent on the area rug if your washer doesn’t have a soap tank.
  • Spray the rug very generously with a solution of detergent and water. And leave it to soak for an hour. This helps loosen up the soil and dirt.
  • It is essential to use a cleaning aid to sanitize. Hold the wand about 0.3 meters from the area rug surface. Now pull the trigger on the washer to apply the pressure sufficiently on the material.
  • Do not hold the wand too close to the rug because this can damage the area rug, If it is too far, it won’t wash well. To make sure that the pressure cleaner works efficiently, pass it over the surface moderately taking out any spots, accumulated dirt, or dust.

5. Rinse Thoroughly

  • After you have cleaned the area rug with water, now rinse thoroughly by spraying water on the front and back removing all the soap and ensure that traces of soap are not left. Repeat the process several times to become sure it is correctly done.

6. Drying the Area Rug

  • After you have finished with the cleaning, find the perfect spot where you can place it to dry. Different places are suitable depending on the weight and size. Also, the ideal spot should be free from any dirt or dust and accessible to the wind. Many people prefer the clotheslines as they expose the area rug to sunlight and wind to dry up faster. You can also hang it on a garden wall or the back of your truck.

Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Area Rug with a Pressure Washer


  • Use the right equipment and cleaning solution. There are so many pressure washers out there as well as cleaning aids not all of them are apt. The right tools clean well without under cleaning or overdoing it. The solution should be the one that does not cause bleaching of your area rug. Gentle cleaning solutions are the best.
  • Use the right pressure. Applying the correct pressure is essential not to destroy the material used in making the area rug. Choose the cleaner as specified in the instructions or user manual. In this case, you can start with the lowest pressure going upwards.
  • Maintain the right distance. As we saw previous, the proper range should not be too short or too long. It should be one that dispenses water to the rug in the most accurate manner.
  • Use pressure washer on the right surface. As we know, there are many types of materials that aren’t compatible with the pressure washer. Hence, check if the rug is pressure washable to avoid damage.


  • Do not use hot water: There is no need of using hot water since it is already pressured. When hot water passes the pressure washer, it alters the amount of pressure.
  • Do not point the nozzle to close: Bringing the nozzle very close automatically damages the area rug or disorganizes it, and thus you should maintain the 12-inch distance.
  • Do not use too much detergent: Too much detergent makes it harder to rinse out the rug.

To sum it up…How to Clean an Area Rug with Pressure Washer

Now you know how to clean an area rug with a pressure. It is a simple task and yields very positive results when done correctly. Make the process more comfortable and less cumbersome by following this appropriate procedure, and you will find it utterly fantastic. Get the best tools and get the job done without hiring a professional. For perfection, read through the user manual and get to know what is required.


1. Where Should I Clean My Area Rug?          

An outdoor spot that is free from loose dirt, grime, and grease would be the best place to clean your area rug.

2. Can you pressure wash a polypropylene rug?                                                                                

Yes. Polypropylene rugs can be pressure washed. Like polyester or other synthetic rugs, they aren’t as delicate as wool or natural fibre rugs and moreso, they’re made of a percentage of plastic which holds up well under pressure washers.

3. Can you use a carpet shampooer on an area rug?                                                                         

Yes. You are advised to use them instead of regular commercial detergents. However, check the label to see that it is suitable for the material. If still unsure, use the shampoo on a small, inconspicuous part of the are rug and see if it discolors after a couple of hours.

4. Can you vacuum a fluffy rug?                                                          

Yes. You can vacuum fluffy rugs/shag rugs as often as once or twice a week.

5. How often should area rugs be cleaned?                            

Ideally,  you should clean your area rug at least once a year. But this isn’t a number set in stone. Rightly, it should depend on how much usage your area rugs get. it also depends on the condition of the home. You can imagine that if you allow visitors wear their shoes in your home and on your area rugs, you may need to clean more frequently than if not. This would also apply to if the area rug or carpet is in a high traffic area and if you have pets or infants. In these cases, once every 2 weeks might even be a viable option.

On the other hand, you may not need to clean more than once in one and a half years if you’re very meticulous when cleaning and the rug isn’t in a high traffic area. If you are still unsure of what works for you, simply leave your area rug till it’s visibly dirty, then do a thorough, deep clean.

6. Can you use Bissell carpet cleaner on area rugs?                                                                          

Yes. Bissell is one of the cleaning brands that we are confident about their products.

 7. Is it worth getting carpets professionally cleaned?              

Yes. While most area rugs and carpets can be done after a bit of reading up, we recommend that you leave natural fibre rugs to the professional.

8. Can you power wash an outdoor rug?         

Yes. Chances are that an outdoor rug is already designed to be able to withstand a lot such as bad weather etc. Using pressure washer when cleaning them should only be right.

People Also Viewed:

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *