How to Clean Your Outdoor Carpets So They Always Look Great

From spot treating to deep cleaning methods, learn how to keep your outdoor carpets squeaky clean.

Published September 18, 2023
woman washing an indoor-outdoor carpet

Where’s the fun in having an outdoor setup if you don’t embellish it a little? But even the cutest outdoor carpets get dirty. From spot treating to deep cleaning, learn all the ins and outs of how to clean your outdoor carpets.

How to Keep Your Outdoor Carpet Squeaky Clean

Indoor/outdoor carpets add a pop of color to a bland deck or patio. But sitting outside all day will turn even the sturdiest carpets into estate sale horrors. While you may be tempted to drag your carpet through a car wash, learn how to keep it clean with these easy methods instead.

Daily Maintenance Is a Must for Outdoor Carpets

Outdoor carpets are made from durable material like rubber and polypropylene, which means they won’t get dirt and grime baked into their weave. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get dirty. If you’re going to invest in an outdoor carpet, understand that if you don’t do the daily maintenance, it’s going to turn into an eyesore pretty quickly.

Thankfully, daily maintenance on these carpets is just sweeping and vacuuming off any dirt or debris that you notice. The less stuff that’s left to sit, the less often you’ll have to deep clean your carpet.

Spot Treat Outdoor Carpets as You Discover Dirt

No one wants to do an intense deep cleaning every time you spill something on the carpet. Same goes for your outdoor ones. As you find stains, spot treat them.

Materials You’ll Need

  • Warm water
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Microfiber towel
  • Scrubbing brush or toothbrush


  1. Mix a few cups of warm water, about ½ cup distilled vinegar, and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake well and spray the solution directly on the stains.
  3. Use a brush to agitate the mixture and scrub the stains out.
  4. Dab at the spots with a microfiber towel to dry.
  5. Repeat the process if needed.

Remove Mold & Mildew With Baking Soda & Vinegar

washing a carpet

Baking soda and vinegar are the gold-star standards when it comes to DIY cleaners. And, they’re basically all you need to remove mold and mildew from your outdoor carpet.

Materials You’ll Need

  • Broom
  • Vacuum
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Cleaning brush
  • Water hose


  1. Sweep and vacuum the carpet and move it to a patio or driveway.
  2. Pour baking soda across the molded areas.
  3. Dump vinegar on the baking soda and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Come back and scrub at the spots with a scrubber brush.
  5. Rinse off with a water hose.
  6. If the mold persists, proceed to the deep-cleaning methods.

2 Ways to Deep Clean Your Outdoor Carpets

There are multiple different ways to get your outdoor carpets really clean. Though you shouldn’t need to clean them more than a few times a year, you can always add this to your monthly cleaning routine if you want.

Use a Pressure Washer

Cleaning your carpets with a pressure washer will give you the kind of deep clean and rinse that a simple hose and elbow grease can't match up. If you’ve got a lot of mildew and grime stuck to your carpets, this is a great method to choose.

TikToker Your Barefoot Neighbor first washes his pre-soaked carpets with a 1:1 ratio of bleach and laundry detergent in a bucket of warm water. Then, using a scrubber brush, he scrubs out all that debris, rinsing the rugs off with a pressure washer.

@yourbarefootneighbor How I clean my outdoor rugs with the pressure washer #outdoorcleaning #exteriorcleaning #backporchcleanup #pressurewashing #pressurecleaning #scrubbing #cleantok #cleaning #powerwashing #clorox2 #laundrydetergent #housecleaning original sound - Your Barefoot Neighbor

Use a Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaners are great at penetrating deep into the material and killing bacteria. So, if you can invest in a steam cleaner, you can take it right to the carpet itself (after you’ve vacuumed, of course). If not, you can hire a professional cleaning service or rent a steam cleaner to do the job yourself.

Do You Have to Clean a Glued-Down Outdoor Carpet Differently?  

No! You can maintain and deep clean your carpets using all these methods. Since it’s situated outside, it should be able to air dry well enough to prevent any molding. And, unlike pads underneath interior carpet, there shouldn’t be anything in the way of the concrete or wood layer to mold.

4 Tips for Preventing Your Outdoor Carpets From Getting Dirty

The nature of being outside 24/7 means that your outdoor carpets are going to get dirty over time. But you can control just how dirty they get by following these tips.

  • Don’t leave messes for later. Things will dry, mold, and smell if you leave them for too long. So if you see a stain or mess, go ahead and clean it.
  • Sweep and vacuum once a week. The less that’s there, the less there is to clean up in the future.
  • Turn the carpets around every few weeks. Chances are you’ve got chairs, potted plants, and tables sitting on top of your carpets. Move them around so the ends are facing a new direction, and the covered bits should air out in the sun.
  • Take your carpets inside in bad weather. Don’t listen to what anybody says. It’ll rain dirt, debris, and bacteria all over your carpets if you leave them out in a storm.

Don’t Let Your Dirty Outdoor Carpets Get You Down

When you’ve got an outdoor carpet, you’re locked in a constant battle between being happy with how good it looks and being exasperated with cleaning it to make it look so good. Toss out those tiny toothbrushes, because these cleaning methods take half the time and work just as well.

How to Clean Your Outdoor Carpets So They Always Look Great