Steam cleaning cleans spots on upholstery and carpet that you cannot remove through dry cleaning with a vacuum alone. If you have large area rugs in your home that do not fit in the washing machine, or that you should not machine wash, use the steam cleaning process to clean the rugs. The moisture from a steam cleaner damages wood flooring surfaces, however, so if you plan to steam clean your area rugs over hardwood floors, you must do some surface preparation first.
Pick the area rugs up off the floor. If the rugs are large, you may need to roll them to remove them from the space.
Cover the hardwood floor with a waterproof barrier. Use any kind of plastic sheeting or tarp, like painter's plastic, and tape the plastic to the walls around the room with masking tape.
Lay the area rugs that you want to steam clean back down on the covered hardwood floor. Follow the directions provided with the steam cleaner that you rented or purchased to use the specific steam cleaning machine properly.
Allow the rugs to dry for 24 to 48 hours and then remove the rugs from the hardwood floor, pull up the plastic and return the rugs to their original locations.