Photo: Photographee.eu (Shutterstock)
Anyone lucky enough to live somewhere with outdoor space – be it a compact patio, a spacious patio, or a small balcony – had a key advantage during the pandemic: having a seat that wasn’t inside their home. Even those who hadn’t used these areas before bought outdoor furniture and created some kind of outdoor living space.
An outdoor rug is an important part of these sitting areas – a couple of chairs and a small table feel like your own room. But when the summer season comes to an end, you should bring your rug indoors for the winter.
And before you roll it up and put it in the garage, basement, or storage room, you may want to clean it up. Here’s how to do that, courtesy of Shay Tilander at Family Handyman.
How to clean an outdoor rug
As it turns out, cleaning an outdoor rug is pretty similar to cleaning an indoor rug. Tilander explains. Start by shaking out the rug, either alone or with a helper. For particularly large carpets, it may be easier to find a sturdy clothesline, low branch, or outside railing and hit it with some sort of stick (like a broomstick). You might want to put on a face mask for this part – a lot of dust and dirt will come out of this rug even if you vacuum it regularly.
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That brings us to the next step: vacuum the front and back of the rug thoroughly. (If you use a regular indoor vacuum cleaner, of course, make sure the carpet is completely dry before attempting to vacuum.)
Now is the time to get the hose out. Place the carpet on a concrete / wood / brick / non-dirt surface (ideally on a slope if possible) and spray it with a hose until the water drains clean.
If you haven’t already, check the manufacturer’s washing instructions and see if it says something about soap. Unless, Tilander says that it is enough to put a little mild washing-up liquid in a bucket of warm water.
Then use a soft bristle brush and the soap mixture to scrub the carpet from end to end. If you come across stains that won’t move, he recommends making a paste of baking soda and peroxide and using that as a stain treatment.
Now the hose comes out again because it is time to rinse. And again hose down the carpet until the running water is clear (and not soapy this time).
How to dry and store an outdoor rug
While draping the rug over a railing to dry seems like a good idea, Tilander recommends avoiding it as it can cause the rug to lose its shape.
Instead, he suggests placing it flat in an area that gets lots of sunlight. Once one side is dry, flip it over and dry the other side. “After drying, the carpet can feel stiff and uncomfortable.” Tilander writes. “Give him some time. It’s getting softer. “
Finally, it’s time to roll up the rug and set it aside for the winter. And while it might be a good idea to roll it so that the carpet side is on the inside (and therefore protected), Tilander recommends do the opposite.
“This is how it rolls down when you roll out,” he explains. “If you roll it the other way, it will roll up and pose a tripping hazard. After a while, the carpet will lie flat again.”