How can I repair/revamp a stained cotton rug?

I haven’t done a “repair this” for a while but this is something I’ve been wondering about for a few weeks now: how can I repair/revamp a stained rug?

It’s a circular cotton rug with off-white (even before the stains!) and pale blue strips, and even though it was pretty cheap, I love it. But it is stained and dirty now and it really needs a good clean and/or a revamp.

Since it’s cotton, it can probably handle some tough cleaning love – but it’s also about 2m/6-and-a-half feet in diameter and heavy and awkward to work with. It’s not going to fit in a sink or a washing machine – even cleaning it in a bath will be very awkward because it’s so big.

As for revamping it, since it’s cotton, I thought about the possibility of dyeing it – but again, that’ll be an awkward job, and also potentially a very, very messy one.

Any suggestions for how can I clean it? Or any advice for dyeing it or revamping it in another way?

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13 Responses to “How can I repair/revamp a stained cotton rug?”


  1. Bellen says:

    When we lived in Sicily, husband was in the USNavy, we washed Flokati rugs outside. Hung them over the railing, used a couple of buckets of soapy water applied with old clean t-shirts then rinsed them with the hose. It’s a messy job but it got the rugs clean.

    For stains on a cotton rug, probably not on the blue, use a mild bleach solution. Apply, let sit for a minute or two, then rinse well.

    No railing – use the clothesline, a couple of chairs back to back, anything that will keep the rug up off the ground. You must choose a day with lots of sunshine and a good breeze. It will also take a couple of days to dry so being able to bring it under cover overnight will help.

  2. If you have enough room outside, you can wash and dye on a tarp with your garden water hose. I’d just wet down the rug and take a scrub brush to it, rinse well, then do a low-water dyeing technique. If you don’t need the color to be even remotely even, then you can even apply the dye with a squirt or spray bottle for different effects.

  3. Hazel Edmunds says:

    I’ve only got a small back yard so have to use the bath for things like this – not ideal but …
    I have, however, the roof over the kitchen extension outside the bathroom window on which to lay the rug when clean. I let it drip as much as possible (two blocks of wood across the bath hold the rug up) before making the transfer.

    You may find that the stains come out with washing and/or vigorous scrubbing using soap.

    Local launderette may have a duvet machine that’s twice the size of the normal ones. Depending on the thickness of your rug it may fit.

  4. Melinda says:

    I’ve applied applique designs on certain clothes that I liked to cover the stains. On a rug, appliques could be made of heavier fabrics, such as denims and ducks. Good luck!

  5. Sylvia says:

    A great tub for large items is a child’s backyard swimming pool. Put a low solution of Bleach into the pool, soak the carpet in it for 2 days then change the water to warm soapy water…Just use your garden hose to 3/4 fill, then and a squirt of kitchen detergent, & add a few kettles full of boiling water (..care not to scald anyone…or the wandering cat…). Use a large clean saddle brush to go over the carpet with the sudsy water. Remove and hang over a few chairs or a fence, and water down with garden hose to get rid of soap residue. Let dry for a couple of days. Hopefully the weather co-operates and it’s a breezy yet dry few days…When it’s 1/2 dry, turn the carpet over, so that it doesn’t get a permanent bend mark…

  6. Renovations says:

    These are really useful suggestions. I would say it’s best to get some professional rug cleaners to do the job, but if you would prefer to DIY then try using organic soap products in minimal water quantities.

  7. Su says:

    I would take it to the launderette. If you attempt to dye it not only will it cost you a fortune in dye, the stains will be even more apparent, as they will absorb the dye differently.
    Haul it to the launderette, along with some serious washing powder (sorry, this is no time for the ‘eco’ stuff!) and some kind of wash booster. You might also consider putting a pair of trainers or something similar in the machine to further bash the living daylights out of those stains!
    Good luck.

  8. Medeea says:

    This is a no-brainer: either take to the launderette or wash it in the bathtub. Here is how:
    Fold in half
    Wet it well
    Rub it with soap
    Scrub it with a sponge or cloth or fine brush
    Turn it on the other side
    Repeat washing
    At the end, rinse it on each side.
    Allow to drip well on a wooden beam across the tub
    then let dry on a flat surface or on a beam across 2 chairs etc

    If the stain persists, mask it with a piece of furniture (a table, a chair etc)

  9. Try asking your local dry cleaner – ours takes in large items for washing as well as doing dry cleaning.

  10. Uluska says:

    You can paint it over, and create a beautiful pattern.

  11. sergio says:

    onto the wall with wood trim, or attaching fabric loops in the “old” style for displaying it on a curtain rod

  12. Robbie Pittman says:

    You could make a couple catch-all baskets out of it! It would be strong and sturdy.
    Sewing it with upholstery needles and waxed thread or gluing it with a tough glue and embellishing it with various things. It could be for a kids room, laundry, etc.
    If you use water-proof glue and acrylic paints to decorate it, all you have to do is hose it down when it gets dirty and let it dry in the sun.
    You could make a half circle rug and a catch-all from the other half also.
    :)

  13. Julie Wall says:

    I would wash this in the bathtub as Medeea says, don’t try spot bleaching in case it leeches into the blue areas as well. Add some household soda to the water along with your detergent as it shifts dirt and stains really well and is quite eco friendly. when you are drying it, turn it frequently so you don’t get fold marks, although these should go once you start walking on it again.



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