How to Clean a Dirty Mercerised Cotton Rug Like A Pro

9 May 2023
Est. Reading: 3 minutes
What's in This Guide?


In this cleaning guide, we'll go over step-by-step guidelines on how to clean a mercerised cotton rug by hand. It is a straightforward process that can be easily done using common household items.

This tutorial is a standard surface clean to keep you going between deep rug cleans. Ideally, we recommend hiring a professional rug cleaning service to deep clean your cotton rug every 12 months.

While it may seem difficult. When you know how, cleaning a dirty cotton rug is relatively simple. Below we'll show you two approaches to cleaning a dirty rug, what products we use and some tips along the way.

Before You Clean Your Rug

Before you clean your rug, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Check the care label on your cotton rug to see if there are any specific instructions you need to follow.
  2. Test a small, inconspicuous area for colourfastness. Wet a small area of the rug with water and dab it with a clean, white cloth. If any colour transfers to the cloth, stop cleaning, and take the rug to a professional cleaner.
  3. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the rug first. Make sure that you vacuum both the front and back of the rug. Remember that 95% of your soiling is dry, so your aim is to get it out dry.

Once you've completed the above steps, follow the following instructions to clean your cotton rug.

Method One - Vinegar and Dish Soap

What Supplies You'll Need

  • Protective rubber gloves
  • A bucket
  • White vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • A cloth
  • Patience!

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step One:
Add 10 to 15 ml of white vinegar to one litre of warm water. Add one teaspoon (about 5 ml) of dish soap to the solution and gently mix. The aim is to use only a little of each product, as you do not want to clog the fibres with detergents and soap.

The Science Behind It: Vinegar is acidic, and dish soap is alkaline. Resulting in two ingredients that are going to balance each other out. Cancelling out the pH scale and leaving a cleaning solution to clean the rug gently.

Step Two:
Dip your cloth into the cleaning solution and wring out. You do not want to add too much water to your rug.

Work section by section, gently wiping over each section about five times. Make sure you work the product in to get those surfactants to breakdown the dirt.

Tip: Avoid scrubbing too hard, as this can damage the rug and remember to often rinse your cloth in the solution.

Step Three:
Let your rug dry and then do a last wipe over the surface to pick up the residual dirt.

Step Four:
Let your rug to dry in a well-ventilated spot. Keep out of direct sunlight and do not tumble dry.

Method Two - Our M-Power Spotter Product

What Supplies You'll Need

  • Protective rubber gloves
  • Spray bottle
  • Micro spotting product (we use M-Power)
  • Dry white cotton towel

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step One:
Mix the product into a spray bottle and spritz it on the rug. As a general rule, 15 ml should be enough for a normal sized rug.

The M-Power Spotter Product is detergent free, and we find that it is more effective than the first method. You will get the same results, but you’ll get there a lot quicker.

The product is specifically designed to break the bond between the dirt and the fibres.

Step Two:
Leave the product to dwell for approximately ten seconds.

Step Three:
Use a clean, absorbent towel to absorb the water and dirt transfer from the rug.

Essentially, we are using a dry cloth to lift the dirt, as opposed to a wet cloth in method one. It is hands down more effective in getting right into the fibres and extracting the dirt.

Repeat this process until there is no dirt transfer on the towel.

Step Four:
Leave your rug to air dry in a well-ventilated area.


Cleaning a mercerised cotton rug by hand is a simple process that can be done at home. The two methods that we show both get the same results. The only difference is that the second way is quicker to achieve, whereas the first requires a touch of patience!

You may be interested in “How to Do a Spot Clean and Low-Moisture Clean on Your Wool Rug at Home.”

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