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How to Clean a Nylon Area Rug

Corey M. Mackenzie

Nylon area rugs are often as beautiful as wool rugs but are much easier to clean. Large nylon area rugs may be cleaned using a wet/dry vac or you can use spray foam carpet cleaner. Most rug cleaners have to be sprayed on and then vacuumed up when dry.

These cleaners contain chemicals that loosen surface dirt, making it more easily vacuumed away. For a more thorough cleaning of soiled rugs, however, a heavy traffic foam cleaner and a damp sponge mop for scrubbing the treated carpet is often better.

How to Clean a Nylon Area Rug

  1. Hang rug outside on a clothesline (if available) and beat it (with a broom handle or large stick) getting as much loose dirt out as possible. Next, bring it inside and vacuum it thoroughly.

  2. Spray carpet cleaning foam evenly over entire rug, adding extra to stained areas. Allow the cleaner to sit on the carpet untouched for a few minutes.

  3. Rub damp sponge mop over the rug in sections. Your movements should be back and forth, in the direction of pile and against the direction of the pile—this will help loosen embedded dirt.

  4. Allow the foam to dry completely. This may take an hour or more, depending on the carpet pile, amount of product used and the ambient humidity.

  5. Vacuum the rug very well. This helps remove much of the remaining dirt. If you still see stains, spot treat with more foam cleaner.


If you don’t have a clothesline or other, similar object to drape the rug over to beat dirt out, try shaking the rug instead. If the rug is too large, you’ll simply have to vacuum it extra thoroughly before cleaning. Some small area rugs can be laundered in the wash (gentle cycle) with regular laundry detergent and then simply hung to dry—however, check the tag (if it is still on the rug) to make sure it is machine washable and don’t ever try to wash braided rugs this way. Braided rugs will fall apart easily in the wash.


Always test cleaners on a small section first, if you are concerned about color fading.