Last summer, I was faced with a little dilemma: to throw out or to professionally clean a beloved rug of ours. The thing is, it was only about $40 to start with, and I did not want to do either thing, but it was FILTHY. It had been rolled up for months, and there was dried smashed banana on it, and general grime--I think even some cat barf.
So, I tried something that would not hinder my options to still get the thing professionally cleaned or to of course throw it out.....here is what I did.
I made a big bucket of hot water with a little splash of Tide in it. I took the rug out to the driveway, and got on my hands and knees and just crawled all over this thing, scrubbing and scrubbing every inch of it with an old wooden bristle-brush. I scrubbed and scrubbed it with hot detergent water, soaking it, and the bubbles were grey, and I wasn't sure if this was working at all...but on I scrubbed. My knees hurt, my back ached, and I felt like I looked ridiculous to the neighbors with my big ole butt in the air in the driveway--but there was no where else to do this!
then I hung the heavy soaking wet soapy rug up over the fence, draping it over both sides, and just blasted it with the hose for a long, long time. Filthy water poured off of this thing, but eventually went from grey bubbles to grey water to clear water. I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed it with the hose nozzle set to the harshest spray level, and then left it there to dry in the sun. It wasn't even that hot (or sunny!) of a day, but there was nothing else to do with it.
I went out to check on it after about 2 hours and Lo and Behold it was clean! Really, really clean, and the pile was as fluffy as the day I got it. It was also almost dry, and so I flipped it around to get the rest of the day's sun on the other side.
Like I said, this thing was only about 40 dollars, but I saved it and I learned a great technique in the meantime. I even considered cleaning other people's rugs for them, for maybe 15 bucks?
It is very IKEA-ish but it was originally from KMart. I remember distinctly the night I ran to Kmart for a quick errand and came home with the big polka dot rug...it was just so cute that Steve understood right away why the random purchase. I am so glad we didnt have to get rid of it!!!!!