What to Know About Washing and Drying Outdoor Rugs


Outdoor rugs are exposed to the elements and can accumulate dirt, stains, and moisture over time. Proper cleaning and drying techniques are crucial to maintain their appearance and extend their lifespan. In this comprehensive article, we will walk you through the steps for effectively washing and drying outdoor rugs.

Assessing the Material  

Different outdoor rugs are made of various materials, such as polypropylene, jute, or natural fibers. Understanding the fabric is essential for choosing the right cleaning method.

Assessing the Material

Checking for Care Instructions

Before washing, consult the manufacturer’s care instructions. Some rugs may have specific guidelines for cleaning.

Preparing for Washing

Clearing the Area

Remove any debris, leaves, or loose dirt from the rug’s surface. This prevents further soiling during the washing process.

Pre-treating Stains

If there are specific stains or spots, pre-treat them with a suitable stain remover according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Pre-treating Stains

Washing Outdoor Rugs

Hose Down the Rug

Using a garden hose with a nozzle attachment, thoroughly rinse the rug to remove surface dirt and dust.

Using a Mild Detergent Solution

Prepare a solution of mild detergent and water. Gently scrub the rug with a soft brush or sponge, paying extra attention to stained areas.

Rinse Thoroughly

Ensure all detergent is completely rinsed out. Any residue left behind can attract dirt and cause discoloration.

Washing and drying outdoor rugs

Drying Outdoor Rugs

Removing Excess Water

After washing, gently squeeze or blot the rug to remove excess water. Do not wring or twist the fabric as this can harm the fibers.

Air Drying

Lay the rug flat in a well-ventilated area with good air circulation Direct sunlight should be avoided as it may degrade the colors.

Elevating the Rug

If possible, elevate the rug off the ground using a drying rack or two sawhorses. This promotes airflow and prevents the rug from sitting in dampness.

Special Considerations for Large Outdoor Rugs

Pressure Washing

For very large rugs, consider using a pressure washer on a low setting. Keep the nozzle at least two feet away from the rug to avoid damage.

Pressure Washing

Professional Cleaning

If the rug is particularly large or valuable, consulting a professional rug cleaner may be the best option.

Maintaining and Extending Longevity

Regular Maintenance

Regularly vacuum or shake out your outdoor rug to remove loose dirt and debris. This prevents deep-seated grime.

Regular Maintenance

Rolling or Folding for Storage

During off-seasons, roll or fold the rug and store it in a dry, cool place. Avoid areas prone to moisture.

rolling rugs


Properly washing and drying outdoor rugs not only enhances its appearance but also extends its lifespan. By following these comprehensive steps, you can enjoy a clean and well-maintained outdoor rug for years to come.


Q1: Can I use a pressure washer on all outdoor rugs?

You can use pressure washers on most outdoor rugs, but it’s crucial to adjust the pressure to a low setting to avoid damaging the fibers.

Q2: Can I erase stubborn stains with bleach?

Using bleach is not recommended because it can weaken the fibers and cause discoloration. Stick to mild detergents or specialized rug cleaners.

Q3: How often should I wash my outdoor rug?

The frequency of washing depends on usage and exposure to the elements. In general, aim to wash it at least once a season or as needed.

Q4: Can I hang my rug to dry?

Hanging a wet rug can lead to stretching and misshaping. It’s best to lay it flat or elevate it off the ground.

Q5: Are there specific detergents for outdoor rugs?

There are specialized rug cleaners available that are suitable for outdoor rugs. Keep away from harsh substances that can harm the fibers.

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