If you have rugs and pets, kids, or feet – then you likely have dirt and stains.  Today I’ll show you how to deep-clean area rugs like the professionals (without the professional price tag).

Did you know I’m a foster mom?  Perhaps not as noble as a foster parent to children, but an equally necessary role as a foster home to fur-babies.  I have helped with 27 kittens from S.A.L.T. Rescue – but after one of the babies died (she was ill at intake), I took a break for awhile.

Now I’m fostering for K9 Safe Space – a rescue group that saves retired breeding dogs from puppy mills.  We’ve had 7 dogs come stay with us until they were ready for their forever homes, which means my house has seen an extra-dose of dirt (and urine, and poop, and vomit).

deep-clean area rugs

Sounds awful, but it’s SO worth it.

Even moreso when you aren’t out-of-pocket to restore your home after they leave.  Flooring and rugs take a big beating.  I have invested in a couple of washable rugs (this is a similar version to mine – Amazon affiliate link) but again, they can be pricey.

However, I have a simple way to deep-clean area rugs to an almost-professional finish, without the professional price tag!

I have a carpet cleaner machine, but even it doesn’t get the stains out like the hose and a teeny bit of Dawn dish soap does.

Just look – not a stain to be seen!

deep-clean area rugs

I’ll show you the 5×7 rug I have in my foyer;

dirty area rug

It sees fewer poop stains than other area rugs in my house, but I’m sharing it because it’s fairly typical.  There is a definitive dirt path from where the most foot-traffic treads.

dirty area rug

I cheated a bit by buying mottled rugs with beiges and browns in the pattern – an effort to hide dirt for as long as possible – even so, the pile crushes and certain areas get more brown than others.

So how to I deep-clean area rugs in my house?


I start by spraying down my rug with a pressure washer (you can use a hose as well).  This first rinse removes surface dust and dirt and penetrates into the fibres to loosen old and embedded stains.

Next, fill a watering can with water – cold is fine – and then add a few drops of Dawn dish soap.

Sprinkle the diluted soap mixture over the entire rug.

area rug with soap foam

Use a stiff-bristled push-broom to agitate the soapy mixture deep into the fibres.  I scrub one direction and then go over it again in a different direction.

Use the flip-side of the broom to push (squeegee) the excess suds and water off of your area rug.

Pressure wash to rinse as much of the soap out of your rug as possible.  Soap has this awful side-effect of adhering dirt… meaning, if you leave soap in your rug, dirt will stick to it and those areas will become dirty again very quickly.

Flip your rug over and repeat this process on the back.

I built a simple frame for drying my area rugs, but I used to just hang them over the fence, so a build isn’t really necessary.

You’ll probably need a friend to help you lift the wet rug to hang it.

hang your area rug over a frame or fence

Now you’re going to rinse and rinse again.  The goal is to see clear water with zero dirt or suds coming off of your mat.

how to deep-clean area rugs

Wasn’t hard was it?  (Other than maybe lifting the wet rug)

If you don’t have a pressure washer, no biggie – you can use a regular garden hose, but you might need to do a little extra scrubbing with the broom.

Leave your new deep-cleaned area rug to hang and dry for at least 2 days, then bring it inside and vacuum it to soften the pile and remove the pressure washing lines.

how to deep-clean area rugs

There are oxy-boosters you could use, or mix-in vinegar to help kill bacteria and eliminate odours – I don’t find these necessary, but to each his own.

How about a before and after so you can see how effective this method is to deep-clean area rugs?

how to deep-clean area rugs

Look at the colour of my driveway, so you know that I didn’t do any trick-lighting on the after photo.

how to deep-clean area rugs

That came to zero dollars, and very little of your time for professional results!

Now I’m ready for the next round of fosters to come and get loved-up!

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How to deep-clean area rugs

Have a great one!