OfAfter prolonged use, it is normal for a carpet to begin to accumulate stains and dirt. Cleaning them is a challenge, especially when it comes to plush rugs with long threads. If you’ve tried cleaning an area rug using a vacuum, you probably haven’t had much success, but there don’t seem to be many options for removing dirt when they’re on a hardwood floor. That’s when the question arises, how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor without damaging it?

The problem with area rugs is that they are large, and many times getting them out of where they are is very difficult, which makes it preferable to just clean them where they are. This can be done without complications when the floor is made of ceramic or stone, but when it is wooden, owners must be careful not to damage it in the process.

If you use water to clean the carpet, and it seeps into the floor, the wood may start to rot. You need to use the proper techniques to be able to focus on the rug.

In case you want to do the cleaning work yourself, as hiring a professional can be very expensive, keep reading to find out how to clean a large area rug.

Recommended cleaning products for carpets


Before starting to clean the carpet, you should have the necessary products for the task. Some of the best cleaners are household products, so you don’t need to spend too much.

Sodium bicarbonate is one of the most useful products when it comes to cleaning. Its abrasive properties allow it to eliminate odors and stains, and to use it you only need to mix it with a bit water, so there is no risk that it will penetrate the carpet and wet the floor.

Its application is simple; you just need to lightly wet the stains you want to clean and let it dry. The most difficult stains can be removed with the help of a cloth moistened with the mixture.

The best thing about sodium bicarbonate is that it will dry on its own, so you only have to vacuum the residues at the end.

Another effective alternative is the carpet shampoo. This carpet cleaner for area rugs is available in multiple presentations on the market for different types of carpets.

Its application is similar to that of baking soda, but this time you will have to brush the carpet for the shampoo to work. Be sure to always brush in one direction, and do not soak the carpet too much or it will damage the hardwood floor.

When the entire mat has been brushed with the shampoo, apply a vinegar and water solution, and brush in the opposite direction. This will remove excess cleaner so it does not penetrate the carpet. Finish the process by rinsing the area rug with a damp cloth and drying it with towels.

If any stain did not come out due to being oily, try using dish detergent. Before applying any of these products, prove that they will not harm your carpet by applying a small amount in one corner.

How to clean an area rug on hardwood floor – Deep clean

Avoid risks by putting a plastic blanket

The best way to protect the floor when cleaning a carpet is to put a protective layer between them.

For small stains, it is enough to place a rag under the carpet in the area to be cleaned. In case you are going to do general cleaning, then you will have to protect the entire area under the carpet.

To do this, roll up the rug until you can preferably lay a plastic sheet on the floor. Make sure this sheet is larger than the mat, at least 2 feet on each side, so you can glue it to the floor.

Vacuum large debris

Before applying any cleaning product, it is good to vacuum the rug to remove larger residues and loosen stains. For the best results, you should vacuum both the top and bottom of the area rug. Just be careful not to vacuum over the fringes of your run or you could damage them.

Vacuuming is the first technique to consider when cleaning a carpet. This can be used constantly without damaging your wooden floor. It is recommended that you vacuum your carpet at least once a week.

You should vacuum the carpet multiple times to make sure all dust is removed. This way, when you want to do a deep cleaning, you will have less residue to remove.

As mentioned previously, sodium bicarbonate is a compound that works to remove odors from the carpet, and once dry, it can be easily removed with the vacuum cleaner. If you want to clean small stains and odors, spray the water and sodium bicarbonate solution all over the carpet and let it dry overnight. In the morning, you will find bicarbonate residues that can be sucked up.

The vacuum is perfect for cleaning large area rugs, but you can obtain the same result on small rugs if you shake them outside your home. Do not try this with old or expensive rugs as the blows can damage them.

Check that the compound does not damage the carpet

Some compounds can be very abrasive to certain carpets, which will end in catastrophic results. If you do not want to discolor your carpet, it is best to check in a small area beforehand that the cleaner does not damage it.

Can you use a carpet cleaner on an area rug? Yes, you can, but like other compounds, it is best to dilute it to avoid accidents. Both specialized cleaners and dish detergents should be mixed with warm water or according to the package instructions.

Avoid hot water as it can damage the carpet fibers, causing them to lose color and shape.

Apply the solution to the carpet

If you have already verified that the product will not harm your carpet’s integrity, the next step is to apply it to the stains or to the entire area you want to clean.

Use a soft-bristled brush to help you penetrate between the carpet threads. Do not rub too hard to avoid damaging it.

Let the product dry and then remove the excess with water. You may need a hose to cover large surfaces.

How to wash large area rugs

Something you should know about how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor is that you cannot spend a long time soaking the carpet in water. This will cause moisture to accumulate, being the main enemy of a wooden floor.

Additionally, after 2 days a wet rug begins to develop fungus. That is why, when removing excess cleaning products, you should also make sure to remove as much water as possible using cloths and towels.

Finally, let the carpet dry naturally. Both sides must dry before you can put it back in the room.

How to clean an area rug on hardwood floor – Small stains

Similarly, if what you plan to do is clean a stain, you have to be careful to cover the floor with a rag so that it is not damaged.

Once you place the rag under the rug, proceed to wipe off the stain using another rag or damp towels. If the stain does not go away, use a mixture of a cup of water with a teaspoon of detergent and rub it again.

Now you should replace the towel you placed under the rug with a clean one. You must make this replacement or it will stain the carpet again. With the change made, clean the top of the carpet, but this time using only water. Finally, dry with a new rag.

How to clean an area rug with a steam cleaner

Using steam to clean carpets is a technique that is becoming increasingly popular. This is basically a cleaning using water, but being in the form of steam there is less risk of creating humidity.

Also, steam cleaning is a perfect alternative for those rugs and fabrics that do not fit in a conventional washing machine. The problem is that many people fear that steam is as harmful to wooden floors as water is.

You should know that steam can damage the wooden floor, and it is even more harmful than water, so before using the steam device you must prepare some things.

Read the following steps to learn how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor using steam:

  • Prepare a protective layer on the floor. Do not use cloths to protect the floor, as this will absorb the steam and will moisten. It is best to use plastic sheets. It is also recommended that you spread the plastic sheets over the entire room and stick it to the walls to prevent steam from reaching the floor.
  • Follow the instructions of the steam cleaner to effectively clean the carpet.
  • In the end, the steam should not leave big humidity stains on the carpet, so in a maximum of two days, it should be completely dry without removing any excess water. During this time, you must leave the plastic protection on the floor. When it is completely dry, lift the rug and remove the plastic sheeting from the wooden floor.

It is best to work outside the home

Whether using conventional products or a steam cleaner, it is always best to remove the carpet from the wooden floor to clean it. Even knowing how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor,it is best to avoid risks. Considering that the most effective way to clean the carpet always involves water, there is no way that the wood is 100% safe.

If it is not possible to remove the rug, then follow all the tips in the guide for extra protection, and remember that the most important thing is to keep the humidity controlled.

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