How to Dry a Large Area Rug

How to dry a large area rug

Area rugs add character and variety to a room, but what happens when it gets dirty or wet from unexpected events, such as a leaking roof, sewage spills, floods, or inclement weather?

This is considered water damage, and large area rugs need to be cleaned and dried relatively quickly, as the longer it remains wet, the more likely the likelihood of the rug being completely ruined becomes.

Rugs with water damage from a flood or sewage spill must also be cleaned after the initial extraction.

This ensures the rug is not only dry but doesn’t have harmful bacteria once the rug is completely dry. The key is managing as much of the wet rug as possible.

Large area rugs are tricky to maneuver and can take a long time to dry. It is essential to follow the steps carefully to avoid mold and mildew build-up.

Although you may dry the rug, cleaning it after it has been damaged may require a professional’s services to restore it to its original state.

Here are the materials and land steps needed to dry a large rug.

Related: How to Take Care of Different Types of Rugs

Tools You’ll Need

  1. Squeegee
  2. Rug shampoo
  3. Water hoses or buckets
  4. Brush
  5. Towels
  6. Hairdryer
  7. Wet/Dry Vac
  8. Fans
  9. Dehumidifier
  10. Steam Cleaner

Getting rid of the water in a soaked rug before cleaning it, especially from flooding or sewage, is vital. These steps outline how to get the initial water-soaked rug into a condition where shampooing is possible.

Before you start, know the type of rug you have. The steps below will work on most synthetic rugs, but if you’re dealing with something more exotic wool rugs, please call a professional.

How To Extract Dirty Water from Rugs?

The steps below will help extract dirty water from the rug.

For the best results, removing the filth before cleaning it with soap is essential.

Step 1: Remove the Rug

Remove the area rug from its original area to allow the floor underneath to dry.

This helps protect the floor from additional damage.

The rug may be challenging to move because it is soaking wet. The larger the rug, the heavier it becomes to move. It may take more than one person to move it.

After relocating the rug, prioritize drying the wet floor first since moisture can permeate through the surface, particularly on hardwood floors.

Use a mop and a cleaner appropriate for the surface if you’re dealing with a flood issue.

Step 2: Bring it Outdoors

Move the rug outdoors so there’s enough space for the next steps.

Lay it on an open space with a flat surface. If that isn’t possible, try the garage.

Step 3: Squeeze the Water Out

Use a long-handled squeegee to start removing the water.

Push in the direction of the pile. The objective is to remove as much water as possible to keep it from getting sopping wet.

A long-handled brush may also work if a squeegee cannot be used.

Step 4: Extract More Water Using a Wet/Dry vacuum.

The rug should not have any visible saturation.

If towels can’t absorb water, a wet-dry vacuum should be used.

While this is a great solution, the vacuum may have to be run over areas more than once and should have a tank that should be monitored to ensure it is emptied whenever needed.

Step 5: Dry the Rug

The last step is drying the rug. You can do this by hanging it on a porch rail or propping it over chairs. If hanging the rug outdoors isn’t possible, place heavy towels underneath to continue absorbing water inside the garage or open space inside.

How to Clean a Large Area Rug Using a Carpet Cleaning Machine?

Once the rug is in a condition to be cleaned, shampooing should commence. The following steps will require you to use a full-sized carpet cleaning machine.

If one isn’t available, you can rent one. Companies like Rug Doctor and Bissell offer rental units. Just search for “carpet cleaning rental near me.”

Step 1: Prep the Carpet Cleaner

Use the right amount of carpet cleaning solution.

Check the correct ratio in the manual. Manufacturers usually indicate how much cleaning product you should use on the clean water tank.

Add hot tap water to the container and attach it to the carpet cleaner.

Use a small amount of shampoo and brush it into the rug.

Rinse the rug with a water hose or buckets to rinse the solution away, or have a professional rug cleaning company assist. Be careful only to use a little, as it is concentrated and can do more damage.

Step 2: Use Slow Movements to Clean the Rug

Go with slow back-and-forth movements. Start on one corner and make your way to the other end. Move slow and steady, and let the brush do its work.

You may need to refill the clean reservoir with water and cleaning solution multiple times for filthy rugs.

Watch the receptacle for the dirty water to ensure it does not overflow. Check the rug for any visible stains and continue cleaning if there are any remaining.

Use the carpet cleaner to remove excess water in preparation for the next step.

Step 3: Hang the Rug

Hang the rug from a fence or line to increase the amount of air flowing throughout the rug. The rug must stay straight and not folded to work effectively. The rug may also be propped up to help the airflow.

If the rug is too heavy for a line, prop it over two sturdy chairs. Keep it as straight as possible so the air hits all areas.

Step 5: Wait for It to Dry.

If possible, use fans on both sides of the rug with the setting on high to help the rug dry.

Large industrial fans are excellent for this task as they can blow a large air volume.

Depending on the rug’s size, the process can take up to three days. If you are drying the rug indoors, using a dehumidifier and the fans to absorb moisture is also best.

You may need multiple fans, especially for huge rugs, so air passes through all areas.

Check the rug’s surface every six hours to determine if it is dry. Large area rugs may dry in certain areas and still have dampness in others.

Please do not put the rug back in place until dry to avoid floor damage.

How to Dry a Large Area Rug – Do’s

Here are some best practices for drying a large area rug.

  1. Clean: thoroughly clean the area rug before drying to remove dirt and odor.
  2. Fan: using a fan can help speed up the drying process.
  3. Hang: hang the rug on a sturdy line, preferably outdoors, to remove any musky odor or scent.
  4. Seek professional help: consult a professional if you don’t have the tools or space to dry a rug properly.

How to Dry a Large Area Rug – Don’ts

  1. Avoid direct sunlight: keep it away from direct exposure to the sun since UV rays can cause discoloration.
  2. Dry thoroughly: ensure the rug is completely dry before moving it back to your living room. Damp rugs are a breeding ground for mold.
  3. Avoid heat sources: don’t use external heat sources like a hair dryer since these can damage the fibers.
  4. Don’t walk over a damp rug: prevent dirt from sticking on your clean rug.


  • Feb 26, 2024: Rewrote parts of the article for better clarity and readability. I added a do’s and do n’ts section.

About the author: Garrick, the visionary behind Cordless Vacuum Guide, brings over a decade of hands-on expertise in cordless vacuum testing to his insightful reviews showcased on this platform. Beyond his passion for empowering consumers with informed choices, he cherishes precious moments with his family, exploring global cuisines and exploring different horizons with his beloved wife and son. Follow him on Youtube, Tiktok, Facebook, and Instagram.