• Cleaning: 30 – 45 Minutes
  • Drying: 4 – 5 Hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Cost: Low

Rag rugs are floor covering that are typically constructed from used clothing or fabric scraps that have been recycled. They are renowned for giving any living area a dash of coziness and warmth. These carpets are frequently used in common spaces like living rooms, kitchens, and entryways because they can endure heavy foot traffic and look appealing.

The best way to clean your rag rug is by lightly beating it, using a vacuum cleaner, removing all types of stains, washing it thoroughly, and leaving it to dry. You should wash your rag rug regularly, as they tend to accumulate dust and stains over time.

In this guide, we will cover all steps of how you can clean your rag rug thoroughly using commonly used household items and dedicated cleaners. We will be teaching you how to use each type of cleaning method and also cover a section where we address some of the most frequently asked questions from our readers!

1. Give the Rag Rug a Beating

First, you’ll want to give your rag rug a beating. This method is traditionally used to remove dirt, grit, and dust that are clogged in the material. To give your rug a beating, bring it to an open space like your backyard, patio, or balcony.

Then, simply hold one end or drape it over a clothesline and beat it with your hands or a long and flat object. Do this until you can no longer see any dirt or dust coming out from the rug. If your rag rug is particularly dusty, we advise that you wear a mask.

2. Vacuum the Rag Rug

The next step is to bring your rag rug back indoors and vacuum it. We recommend this in order to further dislodge any dirt or dust particles that may have gotten stuck in between the fibers. If you’re cleaning a small rag rug, a handheld vacuum would suffice.

However, if you have a larger rug then we recommend using a household vacuum instead. To vacuum your rag rug, simply place it on the floor and move the vacuum over the rug a few times. Make sure that you vacuum all areas of the rug until it is clear of all dust, debris, and particles. 

3. Inspect and Remove Stains

Once you’re done vacuuming your rag rugs, it’s time to inspect and remove any stains that might be present. During this step, it’s important to identify the different types of stains on your rag rug, as this will determine how to best treat them. Let’s take a closer look!

Dedicated Stain Remover

When removing tougher stains and odors from rag rugs, we highly recommend using a dedicated cleaner. Off-the-shelf cleaners are convenient and effective, as they are formulated with active ingredients, making spot removal and deep cleaning a breeze.

While you’re able to select any type of natural and non-chemical cleaner, we’ve experienced great results with the Resolve Stain Remover & Carpet Cleaner. Its advanced formula comprises a potent blend of ingredients that penetrate deep into the fibers of your rug, breaking down and lifting away tough stains with ease. 

Cleaning Instructions

Here’s how you can use a dedicated rug cleaner to remove stains effectively:

  1. Apply a generous amount of Resolve Professional Strength Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner directly onto the stain. Make sure to cover the entire affected area.
  2. Allow the stain remover to sit on the stain for a few minutes to penetrate and break down the tough stains. 
  3. Then, use a damp cloth to wipe any excess solution.
  4. Repeat until the stain is completely removed.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a highly effective solution for lifting off stains from your rag rugs, particularly when the stains are relatively fresh and haven’t dried completely. Another benefit of using white vinegar is that it’s entirely natural and can easily be found in your home or at the nearest local grocery store. 

Cleaning Instructions

To effectively remove stains using white vinegar, follow these simple steps:

  1. First, pour a small amount of vinegar onto a dry clean cloth. 
  2. Press the cloth onto the stain and hold it there for about 10 minutes. Doing so will allow the vinegar to penetrate the stain, making it easier to remove.
  3. Using a firm circular motion, rub the stain to get rid of it.
  4. If needed, repeat steps 1 – 3 until the stain is completely gone. 

Mild Liquid Dish Soap & Water

Lastly, to remove stains from your rag rug, you can use a simple mild liquid dish soap and water solution. We highly recommend using this solution to remove fresh liquid stains like juice, wine, and coffee spills. 

Cleaning Instructions

Here’s how you can use this method:

  1. Begin by mixing 1 part lukewarm water with 2-3 drops of mild liquid dish soap. Ensure that the water is not too hot, as this can damage the rug’s fibers.
  2. Gently stir the mixture to create a soapy solution.
  3. Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the soapy solution to wring out any excess liquid.
  4. Carefully blot the stained area of the rug with a damp cloth or sponge, avoiding any scrubbing motions that could potentially damage the rug.
  5. Continue blotting until the stain begins to lift, periodically rinsing the cloth or sponge and reapplying the soapy solution as needed.

4. Wash Rag Rugs

Once you have successfully removed all stains, the next step is to wash your rag rug. You can do this step in two ways, either through hand washing or using a washing machine.


Hand washing is ideal if your rug is too large to fit into your washing machine. This will ensure that every nook and cranny of your rug is thoroughly cleaned. Another benefit of hand-washing your rag rug is that it will wear off slowly, preserving its quality and durability.

Cleaning Instructions

Before you start to handwash your rag rugs, we recommend preparing your bathtub and some laundry detergent. Then, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Fill your bathtub with warm water and add an appropriate amount of laundry detergent. Gently agitate the water to create a soapy solution.
  2. Submerge your rug in the water and use your hands to massage the detergent into the fibers. 
  3. Pay extra attention to stain spots that you’ve previously spotted in clean or heavily soiled areas.
  4. Once you are satisfied with the cleaning, drain the soapy water and rinse the rug thoroughly with clean water. Make sure to remove all traces of detergent to prevent any residue buildup.

Washing Machine

Using a washing machine to wash rag rugs can be a convenient option for those short on time. We recommend placing your rugs in a pillowcase before starting the cycle and using the lightest setting on your machine. This will help protect your rugs from warping and prevent any potential damage. 

Cleaning Instructions

Ensure a thorough cleaning by following these simple steps: 

  1. Place your rag rug into a pillowcase to keep it protected before putting it into the washing machine.
  2. Add about 1 part of clothing detergent and make sure to set your washing machine to a delicate cycle.
  3. Allow the cycle to run and remove your rag rug from the machine once it’s done.

5. Air Dry Rugs

Lastly, air dry your rag rugs. There are multiple ways you can do this, depending on your home’s available space. Firstly, you can air-dry it in your backyard or opt to hang it out on your balcony. 

However, if you don’t have a backyard or balcony, you can lay it on top of a chair. If you choose this option, you may want to use a stand fan to help speed up the drying process. Alternatively, you can also use a hair dryer in a cool setting to dry your rag rugs. Make sure to air dry it completely before using it again or there may be a risk of it developing an odor. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to cleaning rag rugs, we tend to get some questions on the duration it takes to clean it alongside how often should one clean their rag rugs. Below, we answer these frequently asked questions submitted by our readers. 

How Long Will It Take to Clean Rag Rugs?

Maintenance cleaning should take no longer than 5 minutes as you won’t need to wash your rag rugs. If you maintain your rugs well with regular maintenance cleaning then a deep clean should take you 15 to 30 minutes depending on which method you decide to use. It’s good to set a schedule to clean your rag rugs to avoid dirt accumulation in the long run. 

How Often Should I Clean My Rag Rugs?

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your rag rugs looking fresh and clean. Give your rugs a light cleaning, which involves beating and vacuuming, at least once a week. If your rug is in an area with heavy foot traffic, increase the frequency to twice a week. 

As for deep cleaning, it should be done at least once a month. This involves washing it in the bathtub or in the washing machine. We also recommend spot-cleaning stains immediately if you spot them. Try not to let it dry up as it may be more difficult to remove. 

What Should I Do If My Rag Rug Is Too Big for My Washing Machine or Bathtub?

It’s not uncommon for large rag rugs to be too big for your home’s washing machine or bathtub. Thankfully, there’s a solution to this. One practical option is to take your rug to a laundromat with larger washing machines. 

Laundromats are known to have heavy-duty washing machines that can handle large amounts of clothing, or in this case, your large rag rug. By bringing it to the laundromat, you can give your rag rugs a thorough cleaning and avoid any hassle of trying to fit them into your bathtub. 

Can I Use a Dryer to Dry My Rag Rugs?

It’s not recommended to use a dryer when it comes to drying your rag rugs to avoid irreversible damage. Extreme heat from the dryers may cause your rag rugs to shrink, discolor and fray. Instead, air dry your rag rugs and use a fan to speed up the drying process. 

When Will I Know It’s Time to Replace My Rag Rugs?

While rag rugs are known for lasting many years with proper care, there are certain signs that may indicate it’s time for a replacement. If you see any fraying or holes, these indicate fabric thinning which means it’s time to replace your rag rugs. Discoloration or an odor that you’re not able to get rid of are also other indications. 

About Sirinan

Sirinan is a self-proclaimed cleanaholic and the editor-in-chief of Cleaney. Apart from coming with up creative ways to keep her living spaces clean and tidy, she loves to read on rainy days.