Restore your rag rug to like-new condition.

How to Clean a Cotton Rag Rug

by Heather Montgomery

Cotton rag rugs offer a functional way to ward of the cold of a hard floor. But their place in bathrooms, entryways and kitchens lead to stains, especially with children running through your home. For busy moms, cleaning your rag rug might be the last thing on your priority list. But to keep your rag rug looking new, wash it by hand or in your washing machine on a regular basis.

Shake the rug out to remove dust and debris before cleaning.

Check the care tag on your cotton rag rug to ensure it is machine washable. If it is handmade or cannot be washed in a machine, wash it by hand in a large tub or laundry sink with oxygen bleach. Hang it to dry.

Spray any bodily fluid stains -- urine, blood or vomit -- with a pretreatment spray containing enzymes and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes.

Set your washing machine to hot and add oxygen bleach. Throw in the rug and a few towels to balance the machine and run it on a wash that has a second rinse.

Remove the rug from the wash and check to ensure that no stains remain and the rug has no odors; if any stains or odors remain, repeat the washing process.

Hang the rug to dry on a clothesline using clothespins to prevent fraying and warping.

Items you will need

  • Enzyme pretreatment
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Plastic tub
  • Clothesline
  • Clothespins


  • Dry water stains by blotting the rug with an absorbent cloth immediately to prevent water marks.
  • Vacuum the rug regularly to keep dirt and debris from staining the fibers, if your rug has fringe, avoid vacuuming the fringe.
  • If your rug is too large for your washing machine, take it to a dry cleaner or hose it off in your driveway. Scrub the rug with a stiff brush dipped into a enzymatic cleaning solution to get out tough stains. Hose off with clean water for the rinse before hanging over a rail to dry.


  • Place rug grips under cotton rugs to prevent slips and falls.

About the Author

Based in Lakeland, FL., Heather Montgomery has been writing a popular celebrity parenting blog and several parenting and relationship articles since 2011. Her work also appears on eHow and Everyday Family and she focuses her writing on topics about parenting, crafts, education and family relationships. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in early education from Fort Hays State University.

Photo Credits

  • NA/ Images