Rugs and carpets should be cleaned at least once a year. Rugs and carpets in high-traffic areas may need to be cleaned more frequently, especially if they're at risk of developing mold, built-up dirt or other problems. Area rugs are often located in high-traffic areas of the house, such as entryways, hallways and family rooms, where they collect significant dirt and stains over time — and simple vacuuming isn't usually rigorous enough to lift ground-in dirt or set stains.
Cleaning experts have the skills and equipment to deep-clean rugs and carpets without weakening their fibers, typically using either hot water or dry cleaning solutions. Cost factors for professional rug cleaning can include the size and type of rug, necessary stain removal and the distance the cleaner must travel. In general, you should budget between $100 and $250 per rug, on average. Cleaning costs may be less if you're paying by the square foot to have wall-to-wall carpeting cleaned.
Rug cleaners generally charge by the square foot. A standard 8-foot by 10-foot rug costs at least $100 to clean, on average. If you're having wall-to-wall carpeting cleaned, expect to pay either a per-room rate or a square footage rate.
National average costs to have a variety of common rug sizes steam cleaned or dry cleaned include:
- 2 feet by 4 feet: $10-$40 per rug
- 3 feet by 5 feet: $18-$75 per rug
- 4 feet by 8 feet: $40-$160 per rug
- 6 feet by 10 feet : $75-$300 per rug
- 3-foot round: $9-$36 per rug
- 6-foot round: $35-$140 per rug
- 8-foot round: $65-$260 per rug
- 12-foot round: $140-$560 per rug
For example, cleaning the carpets in a 200- to 400-square-foot home is likely to cost between $80 and $130, on average. Carpet cleaning services for a home between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet range on average between $200 and $300, and services for a 2,000- to 3,000-square-foot home usually costs between $400 and $550. Additional fees may be charged for cleaning carpeted stairs.
Natural fiber rugs, such as those made of wool or silk, typically cost more to clean than synthetic rugs. The more delicate the material, the more expensive to clean. Berber carpet is generally the easiest to clean, while cut and level loop carpeting is a little more difficult. Cotton and wool rugs or carpets are often the most difficult.
For example, Blu Carpet Cleaning of Albuquerque, New Mexico, charges $1.50 per square foot to clean a synthetic rug; $2 per square foot for wool, cotton or chiffon; and $3 per square foot for Navajo wool or silk. Oriental rugs that require special handling or are antiques may require more care and cost more.
Rug cleaning method
The two main methods for cleaning rugs are steam cleaning and chemical cleaning. Costs are roughly comparable; however, a steam-cleaned rug usually takes longer to dry. Steam cleaning, which may also be called hot water extraction, is the most frequently used method. Professional carpet cleaning equipment uses pressure to wash the carpet or rug with hot water and cleaning chemicals, which loosens dirt, and then suctions the dirt and water from the carpet. It usually takes a full 24 hours, on average, for the carpeting to completely dry, which may require staying off it as much as possible. Steam cleaning does not void most carpeting warranties, so it is generally more often recommended by manufacturers.
Dry cleaning, which is also called low moisture cleaning, uses chemicals and very little water to clean carpeting or rugs. In general, it doesn't remove as much dirt steam cleaning, but it is faster. A dry cleaning machine uses a brush or sprayer to loosen dirt and immediately vacuum it up.
For particularly old or delicate rugs, a third, more expensive, option of hand cleaning may be recommended. Mother Nature's Cleaning of San Rafael, California, hand-washes wool or cotton rugs for $5 per square foot; silk, shag, natural sheepskin or flokati for $6 per square foot; and low-pile synthetic for $4 per square foot.
Stains and odor removal
Most professional cleaners charge extra for any tough-to-remove spots. Cleaning is usually charged by the square foot, but the type and size of stain can impact the cost. In general, the larger the stain, the more expensive to remove it. Also, pet stains typically cost more to remove because they sink deep into the carpet's fibers and take longer to remove than food stains. Expect stain removal charges to range from $40 to $300, on average. For example, Blu Carpet Cleaning charges $1 per square foot for odor removal, 25 cents per square foot for moth deterrent and 20 cents per square foot for protectant.
Typical fees for additional rug cleaning services include:
- Stain removal: $10-$40 per rug
- Odor removal: $15-$30 per rug
- Stain protection: $1.50-$2.50 per square foot
- Moth protection: $1-$1.75 per square foot
Many rug cleaners can repair burn marks, water damage or mold problems — or provide a referral to a specialist. This labor-intensive, delicate operation can cost hundreds of dollars more than a basic cleaning.
Some rug cleaners charge a travel fee to come to customers' homes to clean their rugs. Even if cleaning takes place in a cleaner's shop, some particularly large or fragile rugs may require professional pickup and delivery, which typically will also cost extra.
Take your rug to the cleaner yourself to save on travel fees or pickup and delivery fees. Ask for discounts on recurring service if you'd like to have the carpet cleaned on a regular basis. Ask about other discounts. For example, Master's Touch Steam Cleaning of San Antonio, Texas, and Coastal Carpet Systems of Spring Hill, Florida, offer 10 percent off to military members and seniors.
You may also receive a discount if you have multiple rugs or multiple carpeted rooms cleaned, or if you hire the cleaning professional to clean your upholstery at the same time.
- Ask if the provider offers a warranty.
- Be sure to hire a cleaner that is licensed, insured and bonded. For more, check out our tips for smart hiring.