How Do You Clean Your Big Living Room Rug? How Do You Prevent It from Sliding?

Updated on June 30, 2015
M.C. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
19 answers

I need to buy a big area rug for my living room now that I have a laminate floor. Between the kids and pets, it will not stay clean for long. My little accents rugs I can toss in the washer, but not a large rug. Do I have a company come out to clean it? Do I hose it in the yard or stick it in the tub? Do I need to buy a rug with a rubber backing like the kind you use in the bathroom? Thank you.:)

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So What Happened?

Why cover the laminate? Well, according to all the home interior decorators on HGTV, you must put a rug atop a laminate or wood floor to tie the room together. I have zippo decorating skills, so I listen to what the experts tell me looks good.😄

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answers from Los Angeles on

I decided the rug was really more of a pain in the butt than anything and I got rid of it. So much easier to sweep the bare hardwoods than vacuum and clean an area rug.

ETA: We do not wear shoes in the house and we do not all allow food in the livingroom, but vacuuming cat hair is full time job.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You can find those mats at Target too. Definitely don't spend the money at Pottery Barn for something like that!

And all I ever do for my big rugs is vacuum weekly. When the kids were younger I would rent a rug cleaning machine from the grocery store once every couple of years.

ETA: to the people wondering why use a rug at all - in my opinion it is much more comfortable to sit on a rug than on hard flooring. My kids do all kinds of stuff while laying on the rug, from playing with toys to opening presents on birthdays/Christmas to wrestling after dinner with their dad. I've got 10 Girl Scouts that meet at my house and a few always end up on the floor. And it can tie the room together, just like they say on HGTV :)

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Columbia on

We moved from a home with hardwoods and area rugs to a home with wall to wall carpeting. I hate it. Carpets are so disgusting.

I know that's not your situation...just had to get the off my chest. ;-)

Anyhow, you can contact local cleaners in your area and find one that will come and pick up all your large rugs for cleaning. I'd do that every 6 months or so. Vacuum and spot clean as needed in between.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You can buy rubber mats to go underneath the rug to keep it in place. I think the one I got for my 5x7 rug was $15. If you are buying a decent quality rug, I would not hose it in the yard or stick it in the tub. You can get a small household carpet cleaner for $100. Vacuum as needed and use the carpet cleaner every few months.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

One of my dealbreakers when we bought a house was "NO CARPET."
I HATE carpet, expecially with pets. It holds hair, dirt, and smells. It's impossible to actually clean.
So what did my ex do? Put down area rugs everywhere over the laminate floors. What's the point of having laminate if you're going to cover it with what amounts to carpet?
Laminate is much easier to clean than a rug. Just sweep and damp or steam mop. Done.
Rugs, like carpet, are impossible to truly clean. I tried. I swept the hair off them with a broom and then vaccumed them, and every day, there was enough hair to knit a kitten. I dragged them out into the driveway, washed them with detergent, a brush, and the hose, hung them over the fence to dry, and dragged them back in. And they still smelled like dog. When my ex moved out and left the rugs behind, the first thing I did was put them on the side of the road.
I would say throw out the rugs and enjoy your laminate.

ETA: LMAO at the idea of needing to tie the room together, but then again, decor is not important to me. I couldn't care less if all the furnishings in the room match each other as long as I have something to sit on and something to cover the windows.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

We have all hardwood with lots of Oriental rugs. Rug pads are essential - both for preserving the rug as well as preventing fall injuries. For the most part we simply vacuum. Rugs can be sent out for cleaning if necessary. If you pick a multi color/Oriental rug it will hide a lot of dirt (I see that as a good thing).

We have friends who just bought a house with all white carpeting. They have instituted a no shoes in the house rule that seems to be working well for them. Some people swear by Spot Shot rug cleaner for those occasional spills and muddy pet prints.

In my son's room we have Flor. It is a great rug that comes in squares and is very eco friendly. It does not require a rug pad and the individual tiles can be lifted up and washed in the tub or replaced without replacing the entire rug. Their site is

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answers from Oklahoma City on

We take our larger rugs to the car wash and used the mat clamps on the wall. It can take a while to rinse all the soap out but they always come out very clean.

But I do have to ask. A wood or wood like floor is easy to clean and looks nice. Why cover it up with a carpet? Why not just leave the carpet to begin with? If I had wood or wood like floors I guarantee I would never cover them with stuff I had to go and clean where it takes a lot of work.

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answers from Portland on

We have large area rugs. Mine don't slip but they have the couch and other furniture on them to keep them in place. If there's nothing to hold it down, you can just buy one of those thin rug pads to hold it down. Some are padded to offer extra cushioning - which can be good if you've got kids sitting on them and playing on it.

My rugs are wool so I can't wash them, we just vacuum regularly. We don't tend to eat or drink over them so they don't tend to get particularly dirty. I've had them for years - regular vacuuming seems to keep them in fine shape.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I have an 8x10' rug in my foyer. I bought a mat to go underneath so it doesn't slide. I think I bought it at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I've had a large rug cleaned by a carpet cleaning service (COIT, in case you wanted to know). They came out, took the rug to clean it, then brought it back. It was a pain in the butt to move all the furniture to get the rug out and do the same when it came back. If you think it won't stay for long and you like to clean your rug frequently, I'm not sure getting a rug would be a good idea.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have a huge rug in my living room. We have never had it slide or move. We have it anchored down with the couch and chairs in the room. As for cleaning it we vacuum it. But have never had to shampoo it. But we don't allow food on it either.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I get cotton rugs I can take to a commercial machine and wash them. They come as large as 9 x 12 and they do fit in the commercial machines. I also use a rug pad underneath to make it more comfortable and prevent sliding. Works great for us!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We have an Oriental rug in the formal area and it keep it vacuumed regularly. We don't have a lot of traffic in that area and the dogs do not go in that area.

When we clean this rug, the company where we bought it comes out, take it away for a couple weeks and then brings it back. It was pricey and I would never run my carpet cleaner on it. We purchased a separate backing for it to stay on so it does not slip and protects the wood floor.

Depending on what you get, you might be able to take it to a laundry center with industrial type washers to clean it?

Be careful of the type of backing you purchase so it will not yellow or damage your floor.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

It all has to do with what kind of rug you have. If you have an expensive oriental rug, then you need a pad for it. It extends the life of your investment and it helps protect the floor.

If your rug is a thin and relatively inexpensive one, not investment-grade, then you should probably still consider getting a pad so that it won't slip. First you buy the rug. Then you measure it and take the measurements to a rug shop and buy the pad. According to how "little" you pay for the rug, you may end up paying more for the pad.

You should not hose a rug in the yard or stick it i the tub. You'll ruin even a cheap one. You need to have it picked up by a professional rug cleaning service (not carpet cleaning - these are two different types of places) and they need to clean it and bring it back to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

I have gotten the rug doctor from the supermarket. I also used it for the carpet on the stairs, so I had more to clean than just a large area rug.

You can purchase the rug mat separately (Macy's to Pottery Barn. I think they are pretty expensive. You can google way to keep a rug from moving.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I have large area rugs and one of the tricks to keeping it clean.. NO shoes in the house... now, we don't have pets, so that would be a different story.. I did send the rugs out for cleaning once and while they came back fresh, It cost a lot of money. That said, if you look at one of my previous questions, I asked what brands of rug cleaners do people recommend on here.. (check out the answers)
Also, IF you plan on having area rugs and will be cleaning them frequently, I think it's more economical to buy your own cleaner.. That is what I am going to do... Keep in mind though, some are very heavy.. so if you do buy one, make sure it's one that you can maneuver easily..
I still haven't bought one, but I am going to do it soon..

good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I got my huge living room rug (which is over laminate) at Menards. Whatever backing came right on it worked great because it has never "slipped". I needed a rug in the living room because who wants to sit on hard floor and watch TV or do a puzzle? Plus, it ties the room together :) To be honest, I have had it 8 years and have never cleaned it other than to vacuum or spot clean. We don't allow shoes in the house, and rarely have food on the rug other than like popcorn or something easy to vacuum. I would be careful about using a steam cleaner or something on a rug like this since the water could go down to the laminate and damage it. I guess if I really needed it cleaned, I would have a professional take it somewhere and bring it back clean.

Good luck - the hardest part is picking one out!


answers from Chicago on

You can get inexpensive rug pads from Home Goods. I bought one for a 5x7 rug for about $8.



answers from Chicago on

A rug makes the space feel "warm". Our entire first floor is bamboo so we have a huge wool rug in our family room. I have the furniture sitting on it to hold it in place. We never wear shoes in the house so just vacuuming works. You can have a service come in to clean it.

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