How To Clean Outdoor Carpet Like a Pro!

Last Update:

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Learn more

how to clean outdoor carpet

Learning how to clean outdoor carpet is essential if you want it to last and keep its attractiveness. Luckily, outdoor carpet cleaning is not complicated. You can do most of the work with household cleaning products and simple cleaning strategies.

Key Takeaways:

Ensure your carpet’s dry before cleaning (otherwise, it’ll develop mold). Store when not in use, and in many cases, you can sweep it clean. Some vacuum cleaners, such as ShopVacs, are great for these carpet types.

You can also clean your carpet on an incline with dish soap or mild detergent. Rinse and apply with a brush to scrub. Then, hang to dry.

Simple Steps to Clean an Outdoor Carpet

The job of cleaning outdoor carpets focuses on removing dirt and dealing with stains. Also, you need to take unique “outdoor-rug-only” steps to keep your carpet dry and deal with insects, leaves, and other materials that do not affect indoor rugs. Once you understand how to care for your outdoor carpet, maintenance and cleaning will be a breeze.

Pro Tip: From my own experience, one of the most effective and often overlooked methods for maintaining freshness in your outdoor carpet is regular care. This means shaking out the carpet twice a week to remove any trapped dirt or dust. Shaking it outside not only keeps it clean, it also helps in airing it out frequently, which is particularly beneficial in preventing the growth of mold and moss.

How to Keep Your Outdoor Carpet Dry

Unlike their indoor counterparts, outdoor carpets can get wet very quickly, and you need to ensure that they get dry again. You can bring your ground covering inside when it rains or place it in a covered area such as a porch, but it will still get affected by humidity and dew.

Also, you’ll get tired of having to watch the weather and move a carpet all the time.

You will find it much more convenient to have a workable strategy for drying your carpet after it gets wet.

One step that you can take is to lay the carpet in a sunny area. If you do this, it will dry naturally when the sun comes out. If you have a smaller rug, you can hang it up after a rainstorm or move it into the sun. If the carpet gets soaked by heavy rain, another option is to get a wet-dry vacuum cleaner that can suck up both dirt and moisture from the carpet.

Pro Tip: During my years of working with outdoor carpets, I’ve discovered a neat trick for quicker drying. If you have a flat patio or cordless leaf blower handy, you can use it on the wet carpet to dry it faster. This method particularly works well when there is little to no sun available and you want to prevent your carpet from staying damp for too long. Remember to use it on a low setting to avoid damaging the carpet fibers.

Why Do You Need to Keep Your Outdoor Carpet Dry?

Mold and moss can grow on carpets that often get moist. Even if you do not planto use your carpet for a long time, you need to make sure that it remains drybecause mold, especially, can do irreparable damage. It can get in between the fibers of a carpet and become impossible to remove.

Also, a damp rug can make it more difficult to perform other cleaning tasks, and you will have to deal with the musty smell that comes from moisture.

Store Your Carpet When You Are Not Using It

roll up outdoor carpet

Of course, the easiest way to limit the need to clean an outdoor carpet is to store it during the seasons when you will not spend time outside. During these times, it is best toroll up the carpet if possible.. After rolling it, you can place it in an upright position so that it does not get overly exposed to moisture or pests while in storage.

Should You Vacuum Your Outdoor Carpet?

You can vacuum an outdoor carpet.If your carpet has materials such as leaves or mud, you may want to use a multipurpose vacuum cleaner, such as a ShopVac, instead of a vacuum made for indoor carpets. Multipurpose vacuum cleaners also have blowing features that you can use to blow leaves and twigs off of your outdoor carpet before cleaning.

There are other options for cleaning your outdoor carpet that do not involve a vacuum.

In some cases, merely sweeping your carpet can help keep it clean. Most outdoor ground coverings have synthetic fibers that do not absorb substances as easily as indoor carpets. A regular broom or push broom can remove leaves, grass clippings, dirt, and dust that accuminate on the surface.

How to Clean Your Carpet with Soap

clean outdoor carpet with soap

You can use a mixture of soap and water to perform a deeper clean on your outdoor carpet.The best option is to use a mild detergent such as dish soap.You mix it with water and then apply it with a sponge or brush. If you have a large carpet, you can use a push broom to scrub the surface.

You can rinse the carpet with a clean sponge, or you can use a garden hose. If you can hang your rug or place it in the sun after washing, then the garden hose is a much more convenient option.

If possible, set the carpet on an inclined surface and spray it with the hose to rinse out all the soap. Because of the slope, the water will eventually flow off the carpet. This strategy will aid drying. This method can prove very useful if you waited until the last minute to clean your carpet (on the morning of an outdoor party or barbecue).

What Should You Do with Stains on an Outdoor Rug?

Outdoor carpets are more stain-resistant than their indoor peers. However, they get exposed to the elements, and they witness barbecues and picnics. People, in general, aren’t as careful with liquids, food, and wearing shoes on an outdoor carpet. Sooner or later, your carpet is going to get hit with wine, juice, oily meats, and staining sauces.

Hydrogen peroxide (an over the counter 3% solution) or ammonia, mixed with water, can deal with difficult stains. You rub the hydrogen peroxide into the carpet with a sponge, blot it dry, and rinse with clean water if necessary.

Pro Tip: I’ve found that certain natural solutions can be remarkably effective for dealing with stains on your outdoor carpet that are resistant to common household cleaning products. For instance, a paste made out of lemon juice and salt in equal parts can be applied to the stubborn stain directly. Leave it on for a few hours and then rinse off – the result might just surprise you.

If you are dealing with dirt or food stains, you can use a mixture of vinegar, dish soap, and water in a spray bottle. Cover the stain with this solution, rub it with a sponge, and blot it dry with a cloth.

Another option is to baking soda on the top of the stain. You can then spray water or the vinegar-soap-water solution on top of the powder and gently rub it into the carpet with a sponge. You then wait for approximately three hours and rinse.

Want Quotes for Carpet Cleaning?

Connect with Local Pros


Should You Get a Professional Cleaner for Your Outdoor Carpet?

Indoor carpeting needs a professional steam cleaning every one to two years. Outdoor carpets have synthetic fibers that do not need this kind of deep cleaning.In most cases, outdoor coverings would not benefit from a steam cleaning, and, in fact, they may get damaged by hot steam.

However, If you have a large carpet, or feel you are in over your head, using a professional service is advised.

With the correct strategies and cleaning methods, you can keep your outdoor carpet in a like-new state over its entire lifetime.

Photo of author


Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

Leave a Comment

one × 4 =