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November 17, 2021 5 min read

An outdoor rug will instantly make your patio or porch inviting and cozy. Outdoor rugs are made to dry quickly and resist mold and fading, but they still need to be cleaned regularly.

Below, we tell you how to clean an outdoor rug and keep it looking fresh season after season.  


Are Outdoor Rugs Easy To Clean?

Outdoor rugs are made from tightly woven synthetic materials such as polypropylene or polyester. They also have a coating that protects them from sun, moisture, mold, and dirt. These rugs are designed to be durable while you leave them outside for the season.

If you clean your outdoor rugs regularly, they will last a long time. The good news is, outdoor rugs are fairly easy to maintain. 

Continue reading to find out how to take care of your outdoor rugs, what kind of products to use, and how often you should clean them.

Methods of Cleaning an Outdoor Rug

Cleaning your outdoor rug properly will help extend its lifespan. Here’s how to do it. 


Firmly hold the corners of your rug and shake it vigorously to remove any loose debris. Continue shaking until no more dust or dirt particles are falling from the rug.

If your rug is too large to manage alone, hang it over a fence or clothesline. Then hit the rug with a broomstick or tennis racket. Don’t forget to turn the rug and hit the other side, too.

You should ideally shake and beat your outdoor rug about once a month to keep it clean and in great shape.


Vacuuming the rug will keep dirt and debris from building up and damaging the fibers. Run a vacuum cleaner both over the top and underside of your rug every two weeks or so. 


Sweeping your outdoor rug will help keep it clean and fresh. Sweep both sides of the rug and shake it after you're done to remove any remaining debris. 

Sweeping a rug is fast and easy and you can do it several times a week. However, it won’t completely remove dust and dirt so you should still vacuum your rug frequently.

Spot cleaning

Outdoor rugs are sturdy, but they can still get stained by red wine and tomato-based foods, for example. Fortunately, not all stains and spills require a full wash of the rug. When you just have a small soiled area, it’s enough to spot clean it.

To spot clean your rug, sweep it thoroughly and gently scrape off any dry spills with a knife or the back of a spoon. Then use a soft-bristled brush and a mix of mild detergent and water to remove the remaining stain. Make sure not to scrub the stain to prevent it from pressing further into the fibers. 

For small stains, simply use a clean cloth and blot with water to rinse. For larger areas, you can rinse with a garden hose as you would if you were cleaning the entire carpet.

Can You Wash an Outdoor Rug?

You can easily wash your outdoor rug. It’s best to do this on a warm, sunny day with little wind. 

Start by vacuuming, sweeping, or shaking off any loose dirt and debris. Then wet the rug using a garden hose or a few buckets of water. 

Using a soft brush, gently scrub a mixture of water and rug cleaner or mild detergent into the rug and let sit for 5-10 minutes. A solution of one half ounce of detergent to one gallon of water should be enough to clean a large outdoor rug.

Avoid washing your rug on the grass as the soap may be harmful to plants. You should also keep in mind that using harsh chemicals may fade your rug and break down its fibers.

Rinse the rug thoroughly with a hose. You don't need to worry about saturating your rug because synthetic products are mold and mildew-resistant. You should rinse the rug on a sloped surface such as a driveway, so that the water can easily drain away.

Can You Pressure Wash an Outdoor Rug?

Most outdoor rugs can be power washed. Just set the water to the lowest pressure and gently sweep the rug from one side to the other. You can use a power washer to remove the dirt when washing the rug as well as for rinsing.

Do Outdoor Rugs Get Moldy?

Outdoor rugs made from synthetic materials are designed to resist moss, mold, and mildew. But although mold can’t grow on synthetic rugs, it can crop up on the dirt within the rug fibers in humid environments. 

If you notice any moss, mold, or mildew on your rug, you can remove them using bleach or natural cleaners. 

Using bleach

To clean your outdoor rug with bleach, start by sweeping, vacuuming, or shaking the rug to remove loose dirt and debris. Mix a small amount of bleach with water, then use a spray bottle to spray the mixture on your rug. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and then rinse the rug thoroughly with a hose and leave it in the sun to dry.

Although most synthetic outdoor rugs can be bleached, you should test the solution on a corner of the rug first. Bleach can harm plants and discolor wood so it’s best to clean your rug on the driveway.

Using a natural cleaner

If you prefer not to clean your rug with bleach, you can use baking soda and vinegar instead. This natural cleaning solution will help you get rid of moss and mildew, but won’t harm the environment. The combination also works as a natural deodorizer that’s perfect for rugs in areas with pets or plenty of traffic.

After removing any dirt and debris, sprinkle the dry rug evenly with baking soda. Next, spray vinegar over the baking soda and leave it to bubble and soak for a few minutes. Rinse thoroughly and leave the rug to dry in the sun.

Always spot test a small area before cleaning the entire rug.

Drying You Outdoor Rug  

After you’ve washed and rinsed your outdoor rug, it needs to dry completely. Make sure all of the detergent is rinsed clean before letting the rug dry.

To start with, roll the rug up and stand it upright for several minutes to remove excess water. Next, lay the rug flat and allow it to dry completely in a flat, sunny spot. To ensure that the rug stays free of mold after washing, you can also hang it over a fence or railing in direct sunlight. 

When the top feels dry to the touch, flip the rug over and dry the back side. The rug is completely dry if you can’t feel any moisture when you press your fingers into the fibers. How long your outdoor rug will take to dry depends on the size of the rug and the humidity. 

Once dry, your rug may feel stiff and crunchy, but it will soften again over time. 

Can you dry an outdoor rug in a dryer?

Drying an outdoor rug in a dryer is not recommended because the heat from a dryer may ruin the rug’s fibers. 

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