Rubber-backed rugs are great to prevent sliding around. Since they’re often found in areas with heavy foot traffic, it’s no secret that they get dirty very quickly. Fortunately, you can try out a few helpful suggestions to keep them clean for plenty of years to come.

Throughout this article, you’ll learn a couple of cleaning techniques for large rubber-backed rugs, methods to remove tough stains from oil and mud, and the longevity that you can expect from your rug.

Supplies to Clean Large Rubber-Backed Rugs

Before you start scrubbing away at your rubber backed rug, it’s important to know what you can and can’t use. For example, many rugs don’t work well with dish soap since it can get stuck in the fibers. The result will be an irreparable mess that causes you to buy a brand-new rug when you didn’t need to.

Instead, focus on getting light, abrasive, removable supplies. Here’s a list of what you’ll need to regularly clean and maintain and large rubber backed rug:

  • Baking soda
  • A vacuum
  • A hard-bristle brush
  • Lanolin-free soap (if you have an oil stain, refer to the section later in the post)
  • (Optional) Floor and ceiling fans

As you can see, you don’t need too many tools and supplies to get the job done. The most important thing to do is to clean it weekly to prevent stains and dust from gathering too often.

The good news about owning a rubber-backed rug is that they’re super easy to clean underneath. Since they’re not porous on the bottom, you don’t have to worry about using soft solutions. You can scrub away without a problem!

Cleaning Rubber-Backed Rugs: Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that you’ve gathered everything that you need, it’s time to get to work. We’ll start with the basics, then dive into deep cleaning methods and how you can remove stains and oil from your rug.

Here’s how to clean large rubber-backed rugs step-by-step:

1. Shake the Rug Outside to Remove Dust

Bring your rug outside and shake it. You’ll notice that a ton of dust and other debris will come flying off of it, so consider wearing a safety mask and glasses if you have breathing problems. This is the most effective way to maintain a rug without putting in much effort.

2. Lightly Pour Baking Soda Across the Top of the Rug

Don’t overdo it, but sprinkle enough to create a thin layer from edge to edge on the rug. You can use a brush to scrub it down to the fibers on the bottom, though it’s not necessary. Let it sit for about five to ten minutes (or more if the rug is extra dirty), and shake it off outside again.

3. Vacuum the Rug to Remove the Baking Soda

Using a handheld vacuum or a narrow vacuum attachment, slowly remove all of the remaining baking soda from the rug. The reason that you shouldn’t use a wide-headed vacuum is that you want to concentrate the suction power into one area. This process will allow you to remove the baking soda, letting it pull out debris with it along the way.

4. Use a Washing Machine Every Few Months

Every two to three months, throw your rug into the washing machine. Using light laundry detergent, and don’t run it for longer than 30 minutes if you can control the time settings. Note: Never throw your rug into the dryer. It’ll get shredded by separating the fibers from the rubber backing.

5. Always Dry the Rug

Dry your rug in direct sunlight or with the use of house and floor fans. Try to elevate it off the ground by hanging it on a balcony or on a rack. This step will allow the rug to air dry much quicker by pushing air through it. Combined with the heat of the sun, your rug will be good to go in no time.

How to Clean the Rubber Backing

Regular maintenance will prevent your rug from becoming damaged, and it’ll also help it last longer. However, you can’t forget about the rubber backing. Fortunately, you’ll only need to spend a few minutes per week to get all of the dust that’s collected from foot traffic.

Take a hard-bristle brush, warm water, a rag, and lanolin-free dish soap and flip the rug over, then follow the steps below:

  1. Wipe down the rubber backing of the rug with a wet rag. Make sure that you wipe away all dirt and dust stains as much as possible before moving to the next step.
  2. Apply a few drops of the lanolin-free dish soap. Remember that you can’t get regular dish soap on the rug, or it’ll stain and stick in place. It has to be free of lanolin. Since the rubber side is usually larger, you won’t have to worry about mistakes unless you move the rug.
  3. Use the hard-bristle brush to scrub away at the remaining stains and marks on the rubber side of the rug. This step will only take a few minutes, but it’s very important to do once a week or so.
  4. Spray down the rubber side of the rug with a garden hose or use another wet rag to wipe the soap away. Either way, make sure that you don’t leave any soap residue behind.

Getting Oil Out of the Rug

We’ve all made mistakes, and spilling oil on a rug is one of them. The rubber side of your rug will be easy as ever to clean oil from. All you have to do is wipe it up with a paper towel, wet it, and wipe it down with another paper towel.

However, removing oil spills from the fibers of a rug is another story. Remember that lanolin causes oil stains to get worse since it’s made from wax and oil. You’ll only be rubbing more oil to remove oil, which obviously doesn’t help anything at all!

If you’re looking for a good soap to use, try Puracy Dish Soap. It’s made with natural ingredients like green tea and lime, but it strips away and loosens oil stains in seconds.

Your best bet is to dampen the stain with water as soon as it happens. If you allow the oil to sit for a few minutes or hours, it’ll harden and become very difficult to deal with. By scrubbing it with a wet rag and soaking the fibers, you can start the loosening process.

You should then proceed to scrub down the stain with a mixture of 1 cup of water and three to four drops of dish soap. Dip the hard-bristle brush into the solution and scrub away at the stain. The combination of stain-fighting soap, water, and an abrasive brush or sponge will be enough to remove the oil from the rug.

If you’re having trouble trying to loosen a rough oil stain, put it in the laundry machine after you’ve followed the aforementioned suggestions. As long as you loosen the oil stain beforehand, the laundry machine will be able to do its job.

Afterward, check the stain and air dry the rug if it’s gone. Otherwise, scrub it down with more soap and water until you don’t notice it anymore.

How Long Do Rubber-Backed Rugs Last?

The lifetime of your rubber backed rug depends on quite a few variables. You might have one in the garage that lasts for five years, while the same type of rug lasts ten or more years inside the house. Why is it that some last longer than others? Let’s review the reasons below.

  • Foot traffic directly impacts how long any rug will last, including rubber-backed ones. If you have people walking in and out of your house on a doormat, then it’ll likely only last about 3 to 5 years before you have to replace it.
  • Deep cleans are helpful, but they can ruin your rug if you do them too often. Every time you scrub away at a rug or the rubber on the underside, it loosens the materials and causes it to break down. This is the reason that you shouldn’t deep clean it once every two to three months (or as needed).
  • Neglect, stains, and spills are a huge problem. If you don’t clean your rug and you let it get covered in debris, dirt, dust, stains, and other filth, it’ll dry out and break apart in less than one year.


As you’ve seen throughout this article, large rubber backed rugs can be cleaned very easily. Even if you spill oil on the fibers, there’s no need to panic. By using lanolin-free soap, a brush, baking soda, and other useful tools mentioned above, you’ll be able to tackle any problem head-on.

Rubber-backed rugs last as long as you need them to. Through proper maintenance techniques, these high-quality, durable rugs can easily push beyond a decade!

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