Indoor-Outdoor Carpet Cleaning | Tips on How to Do It Right

An indoor or outdoor carpet is one of the most effective ways to elevate your new or existing space. The carpets are designed to breathe warmth, functionality, and satisfaction into your space – sunroom, porch, deck, or patio.

That said, the first step is to learn how to clean an outdoor rug or indoor carpet, especially if it’s used in high-traffic areas.

Indoor-outdoor carpets come in various designs and colors to meet property owners’ varying needs and preferences.

The critical difference between indoor-outdoor carpets and those you select for your living spaces is the material used to make them. The former is made from synthetic materials like rubber, acrylic, polypropylene, and recycled materials.

They are resistant to UV – to minimize fading – moisture, and mildew – to withstand harsh outdoor conditions. Indoor-outdoor carpets are also perfect for commercial use and high-traffic areas in your home.

Despite serving as filters to your home, trapping dust and dirt, indoor-outdoor carpets should be kept clean, just like the indoor ones. While they get filthy faster due to exposure to foot traffic, and you can’t throw them into the washing machine with the rest of the laundry, these carpets are easy to clean.

How to Clean Outdoor Rugs?

Like other carpet types and rugs, you should vacuum your indoor-outdoor carpet at least once weekly to maintain its state and appeal—vacuum more if your carpet receives higher traffic, especially during warm months.

Ensure that you treat stains and spills immediately after they occur. Doing so guarantees an effortless carpet cleaning experience, as fresh stains are easier to remove. In addition to weekly vacuuming, it is also advisable to include deep cleaning as part of your outdoor carpeting cleaning routine – at least twice annually.

Pro-Tip: Always choose sunny and breezy days on deep cleaning days to help the carpet dry faster.

Carpet Cleaning Tools and Equipment

Effective carpet cleaning requires various tools and equipment, including:

  • Spray bottle
  • Broom
  • Water bucket
  • Garden hose with a spray nozzle
  • Power washer
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Plastic tarp
  • Steam or Bissell carpet cleaner
  • Scrub brush with nylon bristles
  • Vacuum


Here are some essential materials you need for successful outdoor and indoor carpet cleaning:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Enzyme-based stain remover
  • All-purpose or dishwashing liquid cleaner
  • Paper towels

The Cleaning Process for an Indoor-Outdoor Rug

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine from Amazon

1. Prompt Treatment of Stains and Spills

One of the critical secrets to keeping your outdoor rug tidy and in shape is treating spills and stains as soon as they occur. Blot away spillages using a microfiber cloth or paper towels.

For solid stains such as mud and food drops, you can use a dull knife or credit card edge to lift them away. It is not advisable to rub the stain as it pushes the solids deeper into the fibers.

After the initial clean-up, check out the stain removal chart for guidance on how to treat specific stain types.

2. Sweep or Vacuum Weekly

Outdoor rugs collect most of the dirt and dust from outside, keeping your home clean. It is thus vital to regularly sweep or vacuum – at least once a week – to prevent the dust and dirt from embedding too deeply into the rug. A good starting point is learning how to use a Bissell carpet cleaner.

Excessive build-up of the matter creates a foul odor and weakens the fibers due to the abrasive action they encounter. When vacuuming the rug, use the lowest setting on the vacuum cleaner as they (the rugs) have a very low pile.

You can sweep vertically and horizontally or move the furniture and other items from the rug as you vacuum.

3. Deep-clean at Least Twice a Year

It is advisable to deep clean your outdoor rug at least twice annually. The process involves vacuuming both sides of the rug to ensure it is thoroughly clean. You can also hang it from a firm railing and beat both sides with a broom to loosen the dirt.

With the rug hanging, use the lowest setting on the power washer or a garden hose with a nozzle to rinse away the soil. If you don’t have somewhere to hang the rug, you can place it on the plastic tarp as you clean it.

With the wet rug, fill a bucket with cool water and add about ¼ cup of all-purpose or dishwashing liquid cleaner to create a soapy solution. Apply the solution to the rug using a scrub brush while paying attention to heavily soiled sections.

Rinse away the soapy water using the power washer or garden hose, and then hang the rug to air dry. It would help if you also turned it over severally to ensure adequate aeration on both sides. The rug may require up to 8 hours to dry completely before you put it back.

Cleaning the Installed Indoor-Outdoor Carpet

1. Vacuum regularly and treat stains immediately

Every indoor-outdoor carpet should be vacuumed at least once weekly regardless of location – inside or outside. You should also treat stains when fresh, just like you would do with the rug.

2. Deep-clean the carpet with vinegar

While installed indoor-outdoor carpets cannot be hosed down like the rugs, they still need as much cleaning as their indoor counterparts. The cleaning steps are shown here:

  • Thoroughly vacuum the carpet to remove loose soil and other particles.
  • Check out for stains and treat them using a carpet cleaner or an enzyme-based stain remover. Stains such as tar, oil, and pet accidents require special treatment as per the stain removal chart, which states the right cleaners to use for each stain.
  • Clean the carpet section by section – 3 feet by 3 feet area – using a mixture of cold water and white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle. The mixture should comprise one part of vinegar and three parts of cold water. Do not saturate and follow a grid to separate cleaned areas from dirty ones.
  • Allow about 5 minutes for the solution to set on the carpet, breaking down the soil, before using a microfiber cloth to blot away the soil and solution. Rinse the microfiber cloth in a bucket of clean water, wring thoroughly, and change the water frequently.
  • Allow the carpet to air-dry well before re-installation.

Pro-Tip: You can clean your indoor-outdoor carpet using a home or commercial steam carpet cleaner. In the case of the former, adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

Wrapping Up Indoor-Outdoor Carpet Cleaning

An indoor-outdoor carpet preserves your home by filtering away most of the outdoor dirt and dust. For this reason, they soil heavily and faster than indoor ones. However, this shouldn’t be a reason to neglect them – they deserve the best care and maintenance to extend their longevity.

The tips shared in this guide should help you get started on how to clean an outdoor rug with mildew or an installed indoor carpet.

Affiliate Disclaimer: The links in this product review may result in a small commission to us if you choose to buy the recommended product. This is totally no additional cost to you. We depend on the commission to support our research and editorial team. We only recommend high-quality products.

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