Land of Rugs™

  • Home
  • Blog
  • How to clean an area rug with vinegar

How to Clean an Area Rug with Vinegar

Area rugs can add a touch of warmth, comfort and style to any room, but they can also collect dirt, dust, and stains over time. Regular cleaning is important to maintain the rug’s appearance and extend its lifespan. Depending on the type and material of the rug, you may be limited to what kind of cleaning solutions you can use. Many cleaners and detergents are too harsh and could damage the area rug or worse, fade or discolour the vibrant colours.

While many commercial cleaning products are available, many people prefer to use natural ingredients to clean their area rugs, such as vinegar.

Vinegar is a versatile household cleaner that can be used for many cleaning tasks, including cleaning area rugs. Vinegar is acidic, which makes it an effective cleaner for removing dirt and stains. It is also safe to use on most types of rugs and does not leave behind any harmful residues.

In this blog post, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to use vinegar to clean an area rug.

Step 1: Prepare the Area Rug for Cleaning

Before you start cleaning the area rug with vinegar, you need to prepare it for cleaning. First, remove any loose debris, such as dust or dirt, by vacuuming the rug. Use a vacuum cleaner, but make sure there is no beater bar, and thoroughly remove the debris. Make sure to vacuum both sides of the rug.

If the area rug has any stains, treat them before attempting to clean with vinegar. You can use a store-bought carpet stain remover or make your own stain remover using vinegar and baking soda. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda to make a paste. Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, use a soft brush or cloth to scrub the stain gently. Rinse the area with water and let it dry completely before proceeding with the rest of the cleaning.

Step 2: Mix the Vinegar Cleaning Solution

To clean the area rug with vinegar, you need to make a cleaning solution. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. You can adjust the strength of the solution depending on the amount of dirt and stains on the rug. For heavily soiled areas, use a stronger solution.

Step 3: Test the Vinegar Solution

Before you start cleaning the entire rug, test the vinegar solution on a small corner of the rug. This will make sure that the vinegar solution does not cause any discolouration or damage to the rug. Apply a small amount of the solution to the test area and wait for a few minutes. If there is no discolouration or damage, you can start to clean the entire rug.

Step 4: Apply the Vinegar Solution to the Rug

Once you have tested the vinegar solution, you can apply it to the entire rug. Spray the solution over the rug evenly, making sure to cover all areas. Use a soft-bristled brush or a clean cloth to work the solution into the rug. Be gentle when scrubbing the rug to avoid damaging the fibres.

Step 5: Rinse the Rug

After cleaning the rug with the vinegar solution, you need to rinse the rug thoroughly. Use a hose or a bucket of clean water to rinse the rug. Alternatively, you could put the rug in a bathtub and rinse it with a shower head. Make sure to rinse both sides of the rug to remove all the solution. You may need to repeat the rinsing process a few times to ensure that all the solution is removed from your rug.

Step 6: Dry the Rug

Once you have rinsed the rug, you need to dry it. Hang the rug outside to air dry or place it on a flat surface to dry indoors. Make sure to keep the rug away from direct sunlight and heat sources, as this can damage the fibres. It will take a day or even a few days before the rug is fully dry.

Step 7: Vacuum the Rug Again

After the rug has dried, vacuum it again to remove any dirt or debris that may still be there. This will also help to fluff up the fibres and restore the rug’s appearance. When vacuuming, make sure that you have removed the beater bar as it can damage the fibres in the rug.

Step 8: Spot Clean Any Remaining Stains

If there are any remaining stains on the rug, you can spot-clean the rug using the vinegar solution you previously made. Spray the solution on the stained area and let the solution sit for a few minutes before using a soft-bristled brush or cloth to gently scrub the area. Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water and let it dry completely.

Step 9: Neutralizing the Smell

After you’ve finished deep cleaning the rug, you’ll want to neutralise the vinegar smell if there is one lingering. To do this, mix one part baking soda with two parts hot water and sponge the area rug. This will help reduce the vinegar smell and leave your area rug smelling fresh.

Step 10: Maintaining the Clean Rug

To keep your area rug looking clean and fresh, you should clean it regularly. Vacuum the rug without a beater bar at least once a week to remove any surface dirt or debris. Spot clean any spills or stains as soon as they occur to prevent them from setting in. You can also use the vinegar cleaning solution as a regular maintenance cleaner. Spray the solution on the rug and work it in with a soft-bristled brush or cloth. Rinse the rug with clean water and let it dry completely before using it again.


Cleaning your area rug with vinegar is a natural and effective way to remove dirt, stains, and odours. Vinegar is safe to use on most types of rugs and does not leave behind any harmful residues. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can clean your area rug with vinegar and maintain its appearance for years to come. Remember to always test the vinegar solution on a small area of the rug before using it on the entire rug, and to be gentle when scrubbing the rug to avoid damaging the fibres.

These tips are specific to runs. If you want to know about Carpet Cleaning, then check out this awsome blog from HydraClean NW!

  • Posted On: 6 March 2023

Welcome to Land of Rugs

We use first and third party cookies to ensure that we give the best experience on our website and to serve personalised ads/content. By clicking on “Allow all cookies” you agree to the use of cookies and to our privacy policy.

Learn More