Indeed, outdoor rugs can be one of the best alternatives to pursue such an intimate and interior-feeling space. After months of storage or even weathering elements, you have to make sure that your outdoor area rugs are in good shape and don’t look old, worn, or dirty. Although outdoor carpeting on patios, in backyard living rooms (and as dirt catchers at entry doors) are made to endure the elements, they still need recurrent cleaning to stay fresh.
Moreover, most outdoor rugs are constructed from durable synthetic fibers, like olefin or polypropylene and can be kept clean using ordinary household products. In other words, outdoor rugs commonly require diminutive maintenance. They are designed to dry quickly, struggle against fading, and clean easily.
The following are tips and tricks to keep your outdoor rugs in their premium state to get your backyard oasis ready for the season.
Mold and Mildew
Don’t let mold accumulate is the first step to remember. As most outdoor rugs are typically made from tough materials, as a solution you may clean it. You can use a bleach and water, or apply a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and water solution to clean your rug. Rinse thoroughly with a hose, and then then dry it completely in the sunlight to prevent the mold.
In details, to make sure that your outdoor rug stays free of mold growth after washing, hang it over a porch railing in the sunlight. If unfortunately there is no railing, place and stretch the rug out in the sun to dry and flip it over to assure both sides dry thoroughly.
If you aren’t comfortable doing this, you may go to area rug cleaning services instead, for they will have the right equipment and knowledge.
Vacuum it regularly
Vacuum, vacuum, and vacuum. Those can such magic spells to keep your outdoor rugs looking new and good even after long storage.
Even if outdoor rugs don’t have mold growing on them, but they withstand such high underfoot traffics that still requires frequent cleaning. Some sources say you should do this daily to prevent dust from settling in the fibers, but don’t worry, experts state that rugs in low traffic areas should be vacuumed about once a week and more often for high traffic rugs, and this goes for outdoor rugs too.
They all recommend turning the rug over and vacuuming the underside too. In this case, you may use a shop vac or some other commercial types of vacuum cleaners. Also, pay attention to the fringe as they have a tendency to get caught in the vacuum and can pull and damage the rug. One tip for you, brush out the fringes by hand gently.
Spots and Stains
Outdoor rugs attract a lot of dirt – spills, spots, stains, etc. They can be caused from various reasons like food and drinks, water, pet stains, urine, poop, or even throw up, and still many more.
If you see a spill, spot or stain, clean them immediately. And relying on the type of spills you facing, you may clean your outdoor rug in monthly base. Some tips you can follow are:
- Mix a solution of dish soap and water in a bucket. Then and there, scrub the rug by means of a large nylon brush. Be sure to clean both sides of the rug to get all the dirt off. After you’ve scrubbed it, rinse the rug with a hose. The best way to rinse the rug is on a sloped surface, such as your driveway; accordingly the water can drain away.
Sprinkle baking soda on the stain(s), and then add vinegar while waiting for it making bubbles. Scrub lightly by using a brush, wait about 15 minutes and vacuum. Also, you can create a paste with baking soda and water, put on, and let the paste to lift the stain. At last, vacuum when dry.
Blot out the water with paper towels or a clean white cloth. You can put the paper towel or the cloth on the underside and blot out from the top to get the most water out. Also, you can dry it out with a fan or a hair dryer set on cold/warm (not hot).
- Food or drinks
You may clean them with a paper towel, clean cloth, or a spoon if it is necessary, and then remove as much as you can. Rinse the stain by sponging it with cold water, placing a cloth or paper towel on the underside, or you can place a plastic dish pan on the underside of your rug. You have to create a hollow on your carpet over the dishpan so water won’t run in every direction. Be sure not to pour too much or your dishpan will overfill.
After the rinse, blot dry and sponge with rug shampoo or homemade cleaning solution made up of ¼ cup white vinegar, ¼ tea spoon dishwashing detergent, and 2 cups lukewarm water. Don’t use a stiff brush for it can pull the fibers. Sponge the area with cool water to finish. Let it dry completely. To help the air circulate, you can place something under you rug.
- Pet stains – urine, poop and throw-up
By and large, pet stains can be quite difficult to deal with.
Urine can cause the dyes to fade, ruin the structure of the rug, and attract moths. The smell is also very stressful to eliminate. Yet, you still can try to clean up a urine stain in the similar way you do to a food or drink spill. Simply add a cup of white vinegar per gallon to the rinse water. As many rug dyes are acid-fast this will help to avoid the colors from waning.
As to poop and throw-up, you may scrape up all the foreign material, and sponge the area by using a rug shampoo or the homemade cleaning solution as previously listed above. Also, you can find several specialized cleaning products in the market developed specially for this problem at your local pet supply store. Make sure to test the product in a small hidden area of the rug before your try and apply to remove the stain.
Synthetic rugs are characteristically resistant to mold, but they can still grow moss or algae if left to dry in damp, humid weather. Therefore, you need to remove the moss regularly.
Bleach is a quick solution for killing growth on outdoor rugs, however it’s not the most environmentally friendly option, and it can run the colors. Use a diluted vinegar-and-water mix and scrubbing cautiously with a brush. Press a dry towel on the spot to soak up extra moisture and allow the spot air-dry before using the rug. This will be better and safer especially if you have children or pets play on the rug.
To be sure your rug wears out evenly; you need to rotate your rug at least once a year. This will guarantee that wear from traffic and sun fading are distributed throughout your rug and are not only concentrated in a specific area.
Store when not in use
Cleaning your outdoor rugs is a good way to keep them looking good and lasting longer, however it also helps to put them in storage when it is not in use – winter months, for example.
If your patio or backyard is going to be covered in snow for months at a time, or as soon as the weather gets too cold for entertaining and spending time outdoors, you can roll up your rug and store it inside – in a dry play – instead.
If you lack storage space for a large rug, roll it up, wrap it with a plastic painting tarpaulin, and locked it with bungee cords. After that you can prop it up in the corner of a yard or deck without distressing about damage.
Similar with the counterpart indoor carpeting, it is recommended to ask for intermittent professional cleaning to your outdoor rugs to keep them looking their best. More especially, if you have had your rug for a long time, it might be time for a full professional cleaning. Some signs for this professional help are:
- After you vacuum, rub your rug with your finger robustly in a short sweep for 10 seconds. If your finger is dirty, it means your rug demands a deep cleaning.
- Pull the pile apart and look at the underside of your rug, if the twist and weft look dirty, the dirt has sunken in deep into your rug where the vacuum can’t reach, so it’s time to ask for professional deep clean your rug.