How To Clean An Area Rug At The Car Wash

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There are three steps that you need to do to clean an area rug at the car wash.

Step 1. Prepare the rug

Step 2. Wash the rug

Step 3. Dry the rug

In this article, we will go through each step in detail to help you clean an area rug at the car wash.

Before you run off to any car wash you need to be aware that if you want to know how to clean an area rug at the car wash you must use the old type of car washes that still have wands for washing by hand. 

If you go to a new style car wash it will be more difficult to control the water stream. 

Also, in many new car wash facilities, they use wax, which is not what you want to use to clean an area rug at the car wash.

You should read any labels on the rug to make sure that you can wash the area rug with a pressure washer.

Step 1. Preparing The Rug

So the first thing you need to do when getting ready to clean an area rug at the car wash is to prepare the rug for the wash at the car wash.  You will want to do this at home so that you can do it in your own time and at your own pace. 

Imagine being in a car wash with a row of cars behind you.  You will no doubt start feeling pressured and end up not doing a good cleaning job on the rug.  So doing as much as possible before going to the car wash is best.

clean area rug at car wash

To start with, thoroughly sweep the rug on both sides.  You should try to remove as much loose dirt, hair, food substances, and dust as possible. 

You should then vacuum your rug several times so that you can get out as much of the leftover dirt as possible.

It is also a good idea to take the rug outside and shake vigorously to loosen up and shake off any bits of debris that may be stuck to the rug.


If there are any stains or spots on the area rug you should get rid of them with a specialized solution such as Zout. 

You will need to let the solution soak into the rug for a few minutes and then use a damp rag or a soft brush to scrub the stain

It is worth spending the time doing this preparation work before you go to the car wash.  

This will mean that you will be able to clean an area rug at the car wash more efficiently.

Step 2. Washing The Rug At The Car Wash

When you are ready to go to the car wash, roll up the area rug and use rope or bungee cords to keep it rolled up when it is in your car.


When you get to the car wash, you should check to see if they have any clips onto which you can hang your area rug, as this will probably be the easiest way to wash it.

If the particular car wash you go to does not have clips, you will need to roll out the area rug on the ground. 

But before you lay down your rug, spray the area you are going to use to clear it from any debris. This will also remove any soap or wax that is in the wand which you do not want.

When laying down the rug make sure that you do not cover any drains.


Next, you should hold the wand about 0.3 meters away from the rug and start spraying.  You can just spray away for a few minutes ensuring that all areas of the rug are getting wet.  

Once the rug is wet use a long-handled scrubbing brush to scrub down the rug. Or if you don’t have one with you then you should change the wand setting to soap and spray the soap onto the rug. 

You should spend some time on the areas that have had a lot of traffic or still have stains. 

Taking your time over the brushing will give you better results as this is the action that will clean the rug the best.  It is also a good idea to sprinkle baking soda on heavily soiled areas.


Once you have finished scrubbing with the brush, rinse off the rug with plenty of water to get rid of all the soap. 

Start at the edge of the rug that is on the highest slant of the floor (most car wash floors slant so water can run to the drains) and work your way down in rows, like a “Z” pattern.

Step 3. Drying The Rug

dry rug

You should let the rug drip dry before taking it home, and remember that a wet rug is much heavier than a dry one. You may need some help in moving the rug to the area where you are going to let it drip dry.

When most of the water has run off the rug, you can roll it up and take it home. 

Find a spot to place the rug to dry.  Make sure there is plenty of sunlight to help it dry. 

It can also be helpful to place it in an area where there is wind so that the wind can blow it dry.

If you are looking to clean an area rug on a hardwood floor then check out our guide on how to clean an area rug on a hardwood floor.

If you have a killim rug which needs a clean check our article on how to clean a kilim rug.

If you have a ben ourain rug which could do with a clean then you should check our article how to clean a Beni Ourain rug.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I clean an area rug at the carwash?

Yes you can clean an area rug at the carwash. You have to make sure that you go to an old style car wash that has a wand.

The new style car washes usually use a wax which could damage your area rug.

Can you wash other things at a car wash?

The primary purpose of a car wash is to wash cars, but it is possible to wash other things at a car wash.

What is the cheapest way to clean an area rug?

The cheapest way to clean an area rug if you don’t have a pressure washer at home is to take it to a car wash.

Using a pressure washer will be the most effective method and should not take too long compared to other methods.

How do you wash a large area rug?

The best way to wash a large area rug is to wash it with a pressure washer.

Our article on how to clean an area rug with a pressure washer will guide you.

If you do not have a pressure washer then take it to a car wash and use the pressure washer at the car wash to clean the large area rug.

If you have a few area rugs around your house then it could be worth your while investing in a pressure washer.