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Can You Pressure Wash A Carpet?

If you want to remove ground-in dirt stains, coffee stains, pet odors, and other difficult-to-remove dirt and stains from your carpets and area rugs, you can use a pressure washer as a green, chemical-free way to breathe new life into your carpets and area rugs.

Learn how to use a pressure washer to clean carpets and area rugs and keep them looking like new.

Published: March 15, 2023.

wine stain

If you've ever used a pressure washer, you know how powerful it is. It can easily blast away dirt, grime, and other tough stains from surfaces like concrete, brick, and even the exterior of your home.

But what about your carpet? Can you pressure wash it?

The answer is yes, but you need to be careful since not all carpets and area rugs tolerate such cleaning:

  • Oriental rugs are too delicate to be pressure washed. You can clean them using a good vacuum cleaner, but if you want to wash them, call an expert specialized in such cleaning.
  • Wool carpets and rugs are also delicate and should not be pressure washed unless explicitly stated in the owner's guide or carpet's tag.
  • Natural fiber carpets and area rugs may be strong and sturdy, but they are sensitive to moisture and especially to excessive water. Unless stated otherwise in the owner's guide or carpet's tag, don't pressure wash them.

If you are unsure about the cleaning method, not only when pressure washing rugs and carpets, check the owner's guide and/or carpet's tag or contact the local cleaning expert and let them do the work for you.

How A Pressure Washer Cleans A Carpet

Pressure washing a carpet involves using a pressure washer that sprays water at high pressure to remove dirt, dust, and other particles from the carpet fibers.

Some pressure washers allow the users to spray a stream of water and detergent mix onto the carpet, which helps to loosen any dirt or stains. Then, using pure high-pressure water, the user rinses any remaining dirt and detergent from the carpet.

One of the benefits of pressure washing a carpet is that it can be very effective at removing tough stains. Whether you have pet stains, wine spills, or other stubborn marks, a pressure washer can help eliminate them. However, you need to make sure that you are using the right tools and techniques to avoid damaging the carpet fibers.

Note: even if you have a pressure washer that doesn't feature a water and detergent mixing option, it can be used to clean your carpets and area rugs thoroughly.

pressure washer

How To Clean Carpets and Area Rugs

Carpets and area rugs can be cleaned in many ways, including:

  • Carpet Vacuuming: using a vacuum cleaner with strong suction and a main cleaner head with a rotating brushroll, the user can thoroughly, chemically free, vacuum the carpets and area rugs. However, vacuum cleaners can't remove tough stains from coffee, wine, and similar.

carpet vacuuming

  • Carpet Cleaning/Washing: using a carpet cleaner/washer, the user can thoroughly clean carpets using a mixture of water and carpet cleaning detergent. As the carpet cleaner cleans the carpet, it sprays the cleaning solution, scrubs the surface, rinses the carpet, and removes almost any excess dirty liquid. Although this is not chemically-free cleaning, carpet cleaners/washers/shampooers can remove stains, even from wine and coffee. But, carpet cleaners don't wash the carpet from the bottom up.

Note: After you have rinsed the carpet, you should leave it to air dry. This may take several hours, depending on the humidity and temperature of the room. Avoid walking on the carpet while it is drying.

carpet cleaner shampooer

  • Spot Carpet Cleaners are practically smaller carpet cleaners intended for cleaning smaller surfaces, including stains from carpets, area rugs, upholstery, stairs, and similar. Again, they are not chemically-free cleaning, but they can remove tough stains, especially when the stains are pretreated.
  • Steam Cleaning uses the power of hot steam to detach the dirt from carpet fibers which is then removed using various methods, including strong suction, a microfiber pad, and similar. Steam carpet cleaning can revive and refresh carpets and thoroughly clean carpet surface, but it can't deep clean the carpet without a rotating brush and/or cleaning liquid. Also, steam heat can damage sensitive carpets.
  • Sponge and Soap is an old, most basic cleaning method where a single stain is removed using a cleaning sponge and carpet detergent or mild soap to remove the stain from the carpet. Although simple and relatively quick to do, it is a manual type of cleaning not always suitable. Also, instead of carpet detergent, one may also use vinegar, baking soda, or similar, non-toxic cleaning aids.

carpet stain

However, from time to time, it is good to thoroughly clean the carpet from the bottom up, to refresh it, and to remove all the stains accumulated over time.

Preparing The Carpet For Washing

Before you pressure wash your carpet, you need to prepare it properly. Here are the steps you should follow:

Place Carpet on A Clean and Flat Surface

You should start by placing the carpet on a clean and flat surface.

This will make it easier to clean and help prevent any damage to the carpet fibers. You can use a large tarp or plastic sheeting to create a clean surface if you don't have a suitable area.

Soak the Carpet with Soapy Water

Next, you should soak the carpet with soapy water. You can use a carpet detergent (recommended) or a mixture of water and dish soap.

Make sure that you don't use too much soap, as too much soap or detergent can be difficult to remove, even with a pressure washer. Allow the soap to sit on the carpet for a few minutes to help loosen any dirt or stains.

If there are stubborn stains that are really hard to remove, pretreat them with stain removal spray.

Wash and Scrub Carpet with Brush

Using a brush or a carpet cleaning machine, scrub the carpet thoroughly to remove any dirt or stains.

Be sure to work in small sections and rinse the brush frequently to avoid spreading dirt or soap around. Pay special attention to areas that have heavy staining or are particularly dirty.

Rinse the Carpet with a Pressure Washer

Once you have scrubbed the entire carpet, it's time to rinse it with the pressure washer. Use the pressure washer on a low setting and start at one end of the carpet, working your way across to the other side. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove any soap residue or dirt.

Note: when pressure washing the carpet, never use hot water and never bring the nozzle too close to the carpet surface.

It is highly recommended to rinse the upper side first, to flip the carpet and rinse the bottom side, and then again to flip it and rinse the upper side again - this will remove any trace of used detergent and remove all dirt particles from the carpet.

pressure wash carpet 1

Leave the Carpet to Airdry

After pressure washing the carpet, it must be left to air dry completely, which can take much more than drying after carpet cleaning.

When air drying the carpet, leave it on a flat surface to avoid creating any creases.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some of the most common carpet pressure wash Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Is it OK to pressure wash the carpet or rug?

Yes, most carpets and rugs can be pressure washed. To avoid any damage, check the carpet's tag or owner's guide and don't use too harsh detergents and too strong water jet.

Can you pressure wash the outdoor carpet/rug?

Outdoor carpets and rugs are usually made from very tough artificial materials and can withstand water even under large pressure.

Just to be sure, check the carpet's tag, if present.

Can you wash the carpet with a water hose?

If you don't have a pressure washer, carpets and area rugs can be washed using an ordinary water hose, but it lacks the water pressure and speed of a good pressure washer.

What can I use instead of Bissell cleaning formula?

Various detergents and cleaning formulas can be used to pressure wash carpets and area rugs, especially if you are using your pressure washer only to rinse the carpet.

Even ordinary hand soap can be used to clean the carpet, but it is much better to use carpet cleaning formulas from Bissell and similar brands.

Few Final Words

Pressure washing a carpet can be a great way to remove tough stains and dirt from your carpets and refresh their appearance.

However, it's important to be careful and follow the right steps to avoid damaging the carpet fibers. Make sure to prepare the carpet properly and use the right tools and techniques. With a little bit of care and attention, you can have your carpets looking almost brand new in no time.

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