How To Clean A Rag Rug

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Many people think that the best way to clean a rag rug is to wash it in a washing machine.  However, my advice is that you should not put these rugs in your washing machine and only put them in your dryer minimally.

The reason for this is that a wet rug is approximately two and a half times heavier than a dry rug. So if you were to clean a rag rug by putting a big room-size rug in your washing machine this would create a tremendous strain on your washer drum. 

In addition to that if you put the rug in your washing machines too many times it can throw off the balance of your washer drum due to the strain. 

And the final reason not to put your rug in the washing machine is that the agitation from the machine can shorten the life of your rug.

So How Should You Clean A Rag Rug?

VacuumGive the rug a quick vacuum
BeatGive the rug a good beating
Hand WashOn a warm day wash in a bathtub
DryDry over the bath and then complete the drying process outside


Give it a quick vacuum regularly to keep them clean.  But be careful not to snag the loops of loopy rag rugs.


Give it a good beating. 

The traditional way to clean a rag rug is to give it a good shake outside.  Another effective way is to give the rag rug a beating on the line.

This helps shake out the loose bits of debris that have got trapped in the rug.   It also fluffs the rug up again, which gives it a new lease of life. 

If you don’t have a proper carpet beater, you can use a tennis racket, making for an excellent rug beater.

Hand Wash

When you are planning to clean a rag rug by hand wash,  make sure you pick a warm and breezy day where there is not a lot of direct hot sun.

And the best way to clean a rag rug by hand wash is in the bathtub.

Put some warm water in your bathtub together with some mild detergent and then put the rug in the bathtub. 

You can either just let it soak or if you really want to give it a good wash roll up the legs of your pants and get in the bathtub together with the rug.   

Force the water up through the fiber of your rug and you will be amazed to see how much dirt and debris comes out of the rug. 

Rinse the rag rug multiple times until you have managed to get rid of as much dirt and debris as you can. 


Then let it drip dry over your bathtub for an hour or two. 

Take a nice big terry cloth towel and roll that rug into the terry cloth towel.

Then take your mat to your driveway, porch, or even your deck, lay the rug rag down on one side, and leave until it is dry.  Then flip it over and let the other side dry.

If you are drying your rag rug on your deck then the air circulation will dry both sides together so it should dry quickly.

Make sure you do not place your mat in direct sunlight as the heat could lead to fading in the rug.

As a final touch, you can spray some Scotchguard spray on the front and back of your rag rug to give it that extra finish.

So this is all the information you need to know about how to clean a rag rug.

If you were wondering how do you clean a large rag rug, the answer is that you should be able to clean it using the methods described above.

If you also have a braided rag rug and want to know how to clean a braided rag rug then have a look at our article on how to clean a braided rug.