White rugs

How To Clean A White Rug

Vittoria Ardore
Vittoria Ardore
May 24, 2023

Plush, soft, white rugs are irresistible. They have a way of adding warmth, texture, and elegance to any room. To keep your classic white rug looking pristine, I'm sharing my most trusted tips with you.

Follow these essential steps for proper maintenance and regular cleaning.

Photo by Headed Somewhere

How To Maintain A White Rug

Knowing how to maintain a white area rug is just as important as knowing how to clean it once it becomes soiled. Here are some regular steps to take to keep your white area rug clean:

Shake Your Rug

  1. Roll up your white rug and take it outside.
  2. Grab the corners of your rug firmly and vigorously shake it. Keep on shaking until you see no more dirt, debris, or crumbs falling from the rug.
  3. If your rug is too large to shake by yourself, you can hang it over a fence or railing. Then, give your rug a good old whack with a broomstick or a sturdy stick (I've been known to use a wooden plank in desperate times). Make sure to whack both sides of the rug.

Photo by Lauren Schwaiger


  1. Vacuum your white rug religiously, starting from the back of the rug. Vacuuming the back of the rug, with the beater brush engaged, helps to loosen dirt trapped within the rug fibers. If your rug has shaggy or longer fibers (more than ¾"), disable the beater brush while vacuuming. Additionally, avoid vacuuming fringe and knots with the beater brush! Any long fibers can be vacuumed using the upholstery attachment.

Photo by LTK

Neutralize Odors

  1. To refresh and remove smells from your rug, try using baking soda, which is known as a natural odor absorber. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda evenly over your rug and allow it to sit for several hours or overnight.
  2. Afterward, vacuum the rug thoroughly to remove all the baking soda.

Spot Clean

  1. For small areas on your white area rug in need of a cleaning, spot cleaning can be super effective.
  2. Take care of spills and stains ASAP for the best results.
  3. Remove any excess moisture or debris from the affected spot. Blot liquid stains (such as wine or urine) with a clean towel. For dried stains, try using the edge of a spoon to remove solid debris.
  4. Create a solution by mixing water with a small amount of mild detergent.
  5. Use a clean, white sponge or cloth to blot the stained area with the detergent water. Avoid rubbing, as this could drive the stain deeper into the fibers.
  6. Rinse the sponge and repeat until the stain is gone. Finish by blotting the spot several times with clean water until all the detergent is removed.

Photo by LTK

How To Deep Clean A White Rug

Since rugs live on the floor, dirt and stains are inevitable. To restore the whiteness of your white rug, follow these steps for a deep clean:

  1. To deep clean the entire rug, mix water with a small amount of mild detergent.
  2. Dip a clean sponge into your water and detergent mix, then scrub the rug. Start at one corner and work systematically in a grid pattern to ensure you cover the entire rug.
  3. Rinse your sponge frequently during the process.
  4. Once you've thoroughly scrubbed the entire rug, go over it again with clean water to make sure that all detergent is removed, as any residue can attract dirt as the rug dries. We don't want that!
  5. Allow your rug to dry completely before putting it back in its usual place. For optimal drying, hang or elevate your white rug to ensure it gets proper air circulation.

For stubborn or particularly challenging stains, I strongly recommend you seek professional cleaning services for your rug. It may not cost as much as you expect it to!

Photo by interiorbysusan

Quick Tips for Cleaning White Rugs

  • Regular Maintenance: Vacuum your white rug at least once a week to prevent dust and dirt from settling deep into the fibers. This routine maintenance can help prolong the time between deep cleanings.

  • Rotate Your Rug: To ensure even wear and tear, rotate your white rug every six months, or more frequently if it receives heavy foot traffic. This simple step can extend the life of your rug and maintain its pristine appearance.

  • Blot, Don't Rub: When dealing with spills or stains, always blot the affected area with a clean, white cloth or paper towel. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the stain further into the rug fibers and potentially damage them.

  • Test Cleaning Products: Before using any cleaning solution on your white rug, test it in an inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn't cause color fading or damage. This precaution is particularly important for rugs with delicate materials or dyes.

  • Professional Cleaning: Consider having your white rug professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months, depending on its level of use. Professional cleaning services can remove deep-seated dirt, allergens, and stains while preserving the rug's quality. Incorrect or aggressive home cleaning could damage your rug.

  • UV Protection: To prevent yellowing or discoloration caused by exposure to sunlight, try using window treatments or UV-protective film on windows that receive direct sunlight.

  • Stain-Specific Solutions: Different stains may require specific cleaning solutions. For example, enzyme-based cleaners work extremely well for pet urine stains, while mild dish soap is great for most food and beverage spills. Always follow manufacturer instructions and spot test first.

  • Quick Action: Act quickly when accidents happen. The faster you address spills and stains, the easier they are to remove, reducing the risk of permanent discoloration.

Photo by Daisy Daniels

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