How to Clean Outdoor Carpets Like a Pro

Outdoor rugs can be a great asset to your external space, brightening it up and bringing in a new dimension to your area.

They can be a pain to clean, as there is a lot of dirt that can build up from outdoor use. They are commonly battered by the elements and you will need to clean deeper dirt and stains than you would find on indoor carpets.

Outdoor carpets will also need to be maintained more than indoor ones. This is because they need to be kept as dry as possible, and be impervious to ingrained dirt, leaves, and animals.


Outdoor carpets are made of different fibers from indoor ones, and they tend to be more synthetic. This means that the outdoor carpets are much less absorbent and the fibers will not trap dirt as easily. 

Using a firm bristled brush and a forceful sweeping motion, you should be able to move most debris off the surface with ease.


You can use a standard vacuum to clean your carpet. Alternatively, you can purchase a wet-dry vacuum which can suck up dirt and moisture.

These are also referred to as multipurpose vacuum cleaners and are designed to do more than just vacuum.

Some will even have features that emit a stream of air. This can be used as a leaf blower to remove outdoor debris off the surface of your carpet.


If your outdoor carpet is in need of a deep clean, we suggest combining some dish soap and warm water in a large bowl.

Use a stiff-bristled brush or tough sponge to apply this solution to the surface of your outdoor carpet. If your carpet is relatively small we suggest using a hand brush, but if it is larger a broom may be the way to go.

Use a clean sponge or garden hose to rinse off any remaining dish soap from your carpet. We recommend placing it on an angled surface to allow the water to drain off easily. This will help it to rinse and dry faster. 

Removing solids

If you have young children, you know how much stuff can get caked into carpets. We’re talking silly putty, chewing gum, and hard candies. This can be super difficult to get out, and it’s not much easier on an outdoor carpet.

You should use some ice cubes in a ziplock bag to freeze the solid substance on the carpet. This will make it much easier to remove. Use a butter knife, palette knife, or scraper to gently prise the solid off of your carpet. 

Spray the area with a solution of dish soap and warm water to remove any leftover residue. The dish soap is designed to cut through grease and grime, meaning that it will effectively break the bonds between the solid and the fibers of your carpet.

A good ratio to use is 1 teaspoon of dish soap to every cup of warm water.


As we have noted already, outdoor carpets are a lot hardier than their indoor counterparts. It takes a lot more to stain them, but people tend to be less careful of the flooring as they are outside. This means that stains are almost inevitable, so what can you do when they appear?

For food and general dirt stains, we suggest using a solution of white vinegar, dish soap, and water. Combine and then transfer this solution to a spray bottle. Soak the stained area in this solution and rub it in using a sponge. Rinse well and blot until the area is dry. 

If you are blotting a dry stain, you should use a wet cloth, and vice versa. You should work from the outer edges of the stain towards the center. This will prevent it from spreading further. You should not stop blotting until your cloth no longer picks up moisture or residue. 

For tomato sauce and red wine stains, you should use club soda (also known as carbonated, fizzy, or sparkling water). Dip a dry cloth into the spill when it is still liquid to absorb the bulk of the moisture. Take a clean cloth and dip it into the club soda. Use this to blot the stain until no more red appears on the cloth and the stain has disappeared.

You could also use baking soda to tackle stains. This is really convenient as almost everyone has baking soda in their cupboard. Pour a generous layer of baking soda over the stained area.

Spray some water on top, or use the solution mentioned above for a more hard-hitting clean. Rub the paste into the carpet fibers gently using a clean sponge. Allow the mixture to sit on the stained area for at least 3 hours before rinsing well with clean water. 

For difficult stains, we recommend using a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide or a combination of ammonia and water. We recommend wearing protective gloves on your hands to keep your skin safe. Use a sponge to rub in the hydrogen peroxide before blotting with a clean cloth and rinsing thoroughly.

You can also use a commercially available carpet cleaning product to do some spot cleaning. Acid-based and neutralized alkaline formulas tend to be the most effective at removing stains, although you should check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Not all carpets can hold up to the chemicals used in commercial carpet cleaners and so it is important to check the suitability before usage.

Keeping it dry 

If your outdoor carpet is kept outdoors and open to the elements, the moisture can easily become trapped inside the fibers. This can lead to the growth of mold and mildew in the fibers which can cause long-term issues. It can also begin to take on a very musty aroma. 

We recommend taking your carpet indoors when rain is predicted to keep it drier. You do not need to bring it completely indoors if you are worried about dirtying the inside of your home.

Simply dragging your outdoor carpet under a porch should be sufficient as this will keep the bulk of the water off. This will still mean that the carpet is affected by dew and ambient humidity.

If you live in an area that gets a lot of rainfall then you may quickly tire of moving your carpet all the time to dodge the rain. In these situations, it may be easier to figure out a way to dry the carpet following rain. This could be as simple as leaving them in the sun or hanging them up on a washing line. 

If you opt to leave your carpet outdoors to dry naturally, we recommend flipping it over a couple of times. This will ensure that it dries evenly on both sides and there are no trapped pockets of moisture.

How to store your outdoor carpet

In order to prolong its lifespan, you should store your outdoor carpet out of the elements during the colder, wetter seasons.

We recommend rolling up the carpet and placing it in an upright position in a cool and dry cupboard. This will reduce the exposure to pests and moisture while the carpet is being stored.

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