How to clean a jute rug – to remove the most embedded of dirt

With their tightly woven natural fibers, jute rugs require more careful care than you may think

A textures just rug in a bright living room with a single armchair on top of it
(Image credit: Loaf)

Jute rugs are incredibly resilient floor coverings, often keeping their shape, finish, and coloring no matter what you throw at them. Their tightly woven natural fibers are to thank for this, but they come at a cost. While the rugs are resilient, they cling to dirt, dust, and debris that even a good vacuum can't pull out. 

Combining this with the fact that cleaning rugs generally can be difficult due to their size and delicate materials, these stylish hardy decor pieces are hard to clean yourself. Not to mention the additional challenge posed by jute fiber's aversion to water.

That being said, it is hard, but not impossible. Here, professional cleaners have shared their tips for cleaning jute rugs effectively to pull even the most embedded dirt to the surface.

How to clean a jute rug  

Unlike cleaning carpets or other area rugs, you cannot run a carpet cleaner over a jute rug without permanently damaging or staining the fibers. Instead, it takes a little more manual labor to get them looking new again. 

‘For DIY cleaning, we'd strongly advise against wetting your jute rugs to any degree, as this can cause irreversible staining and discoloration,' warns Ali Hafezi Mashhadi, Vice President and rug specialist at Babash Rug Services. ‘Instead, opt for a dry cleaning compound. I recommend Capture All-In-One Solution, available at Amazon.’ 

Here is how to use the compound to clean jute rugs at home.

1. Start with simple vacuuming

A scalloped edge jute rug on the floor beside of a white bed in a bright bedroom

(Image credit: French Bedroom)

'A good vacuum cleaner is the best way of removing any surface-level dirt from a jute rug and avoiding needing to deep clean,' explains Adam Moore, cleaning expert and owner of Paradise Home Cleaning

He recommends using the best vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to help dislodge debris and dust from between the woven fibers. Passing the vacuum back and forth over and around the rug a few times will ensure that all the loose bits are removed before cleaning.

Remember to also vacuum beneath the rug to catch any loose fibers littering the floor. 

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Dyson V15 | View at Walmart
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2. Apply the pre-stain solution

A jute rug in a neutral-toned bedroom

(Image credit: Serena & Lily)

Pre-stain solutions often come with dry cleaning kits for rugs and are a great option for working with delicate natural fiber rugs like cleaning wool rugs or jute. The best way to approach cleaning the jute rug is to test the stain solution on the reverse of the rug first, says Ali Mashhadi, rug specialist. 

‘If you notice no adverse effects, then apply a gentle mist to stained areas, bearing in mind that you shouldn't use this stain solution on fresh stains, only ones that have set in,’ they explain.

Spray the solution over the stained areas only in even coatings, and allow it to sit for the time specified in the manufacturer's manual. 

Capture all-in-one solution | View at Amazon

Capture all-in-one solution | View at Amazon
This dry compound cleaning kit makes dry cleaning your rugs and carpets at home simple, containing everything you need to achieve an expert finish yourself.

3. Apply the dry compound powder

Jake Arnold for Lulu & Georgia

(Image credit: Jake Arnold for Lulu & Georgia)

Once the stain spray has been left to sit, you can apply the dry compound to the surface of the rug. As with the previous step, you should test the compound on a small corner of the back first to make sure there are no adverse effects, Ali recommends – a common cleaning tip that should be applied whenever testing a new cleaning method around your home. 

‘You should use a small, gentle brush to gently work the compound into the fibers of the rug,’ Ali recommends. ‘This ensures that the compound reaches deep into the rug to effectively remove dirt and stains.’

Let the dry compound sit on the rug for the recommended duration according to the manufacturer's instructions. Typically, this will be around 15-30 minutes, allowing the compound to absorb dirt, stains, and odors, she advises.

4. Vacuum the dry compound away

Upholstered dining chairs and dining table with linen tablecloth on jute rug. Seasonal decorating ideas.

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

Finishing as you started, vacuum the jute rug thoroughly to release the dry compound out of the fibers, making sure to work across the entire rug two to three times for a thorough clean.

‘Once the cleaning process is complete, allow the jute rug to air out for a few hours to ensure any remaining dry compound residue dissipates,’ Ali Mashhadi recommends. 

Putting the rug outside on a dry, sunny day can also help to freshen up the scent to make a home smell nice, too. 

How to remove a fresh stain from jute rugs

A bobbly jute rug in a bay window

(Image credit: Loaf)

Given that dry compounds are not effective on fresh stains, it is important to learn how to treat spillages before they have the chance to stain. Being natural, Jute fibers can rot quickly when left to soak, so removing any liquid and avoiding using water is essential to keeping your rug in good condition, warns Gabriella Dyson, Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens

For small spills, spot cleaning is best. Just as you would delicately get a stain out of a white shirt, starting with a damp clean cloth and dabbing at the stain will help to lift most of the liquid off of the surface without rubbing it around or pressing it further into the fibers.

'It is then important to allow it to dry completely to prevent dark brown spots,' Gabriella adds. Avoid using direct heat, as this can further damage the fibers. Instead, letting it sit uncovered in a warm, sunny spot can help to dry the area naturally while the sun lightens the stain to further remove remnants.  

Ensure the space is well-ventilated, using a dehumidifier to speed up the process if you have one.

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What happens if a jute rug gets wet?

A jute rug will turn brown when it gets wet and can take a while to dry leading to stains and dark discoloration. If your rug does get wet, try to get it dry quickly, lifting it from the floor where possible and placing it in a naturally warm spot such as over a strong washing line in the sun where it can dry naturally.

Why is my jute rug so dirty?

Jute rugs get dirty because they are made of natural fibers that are both prone to shedding and also holding tightly onto dust and dirt. The tight weave can prove difficult to vacuum too, allowing dust and debris to hide for long periods without being sucked up. One solution is to beat your jute rug outside every once in a while, and vacuum underneath the rug regularly to collect any shedding.

A jute rug may not be the most low-maintenance of floor coverings, but they are certainly a hard-wearing option for busy areas. These four steps to cleaning a jute rug will ensure it continues to look its best and stand the test of time.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.