Cleaning an area rug in the snow.

Earlier this year, I took a look at the white shag rug I had bought for my daughter’s room approximately eighteen months earlier. I thought it would be a cute, girly way to dress up the hardwood floor. And, for a time, it looked great. Until that aforementioned look.

The formally cute white rug was a gross, greasy and untamed forest of nightmares. Curse you, whoever thought of the shag rug.

This led to me reading about cleaning area rugs on the interweb, deciding having the thing professionally cleaned cost more than I paid for it, and eventually to a ghastly incident of attempting to clean it myself in the bathtub and nearly breaking my neck trying to hang it to dry on the swing set.

The good news that during my readings I also found the age-old tip of using snow to clean rugs. It’s a thing, and not terribly unpopular.

Beside the poor white shag rug and a collection of mini rugs scattered about bathrooms and the kitchen, I own two area rugs I inherited from my mother because she thought the bare floor of the living room needed something. I like them and apparently rugs are good for collecting the icky bits in the air, something of a filtration system, if you will, but they do get dirty to a point where vacuuming doesn’t always do the trick. Beating, of course, is a great way to go, but for a decent cleaning without getting the professional involved is where you might want to head out to the snow.

I was happy with it. I had already did it with one rug a few months’ back and was surprised with just how well it worked. Christmas brought a proper White Christmas snowstorm, and I found myself itching during school break to do it again.

So I dragged out my two living room rugs plus the unfortunate white shag rug who had been ostracized to the garage (Spoiler: this one is a lost cause).  I placed them face-down in the snow and went to town with putting carpety stuff to snow. I stomped around on them. I let Ruby stomp around on them. I let Jade crawl around on them. I flipped them over to beat out from the other side. I moved them about a couple of times to get a bit of a dragging motion in.

You want the snow to do its scrubby, icy, slightly wet job of cleaning the rug. I once saw a poster somewhere in some old forum commenting on how horses roll in the snow to clean themselves. Same deal.

I left them to “soak” for a couple of hours. I had not done this last time, and I think I shall recommend the tip.


See all the junk in the snow? That was pulled out of the rug. I also had one which was relieving spots of various Play-Dohs and food and who knows what else into the snow. Kind of cool, kind of gross.

I beat ’em about again, then dragged the rugs back inside. This, I recommend, be done with help. Husband was at work, Jade was asleep (because babies are big muscle help) and Ruby was wisely hiding. Anywho, I hung them over the banister to dry and… do one more little thing.

I don’t have the folksy wisdom or talent of making this better than a professional job, but a bit of baking soda and a brush can always be helpful. I used my brush to scrub at the snow and any particular little problem spots.

Again, a heck’s work of gunk was back in the snow, but I was surprised at how easily I was able to brush out the more stubborn particles. Use the snow! It helps!

I let the rugs hang until they were dry, used the opportunity to clean the living room floor, and later enjoyed the fresh, clean rugs.

Not too bad for a DIY job.

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