can you put rugs in the washer

We all know how important a washable rug is. What with spills, pet hair, tough stains, and excess dirt being tracked throughout the house, washing your rug might be a never-ending chore for some households.

If you already have your home styled with rugs, then this post will help you figure out:

  1. how to wash your rug in a washing machine
  2. how to wash your rug by hand

I’ll share the products, processes, and tools that I use to clean my area rugs. I’ll also share a few washable rugs that you can buy so that you can just pop that rug in the washer without wondering if it will survive.

Let’s dig in.

How To Tell If Your Rug Is Washable

Check the label on your rug before putting it in the washer. Most rugs can be machine-washed, but some may require dry cleaning. If you’re not sure which is best for your rug, it’s best to take it to a professional.

Can You Put Rugs In The Washer?

Yes, you can put rugs in the washer in most cases. However, it’s important to make sure the rug is labeled as machine-washable or that it is made of materials that won’t be damaged by the washer. Always check the label on your rug before putting it in the washer and be sure to follow all instructions for proper care.

These types of materials usually make machine washable rugs:

  • Synthetic fibers like polyester, acrylic, or nylon
  • Durable natural fibers like cotton, linen
  • Colorfast materials like olefin or polypropylene

Types of rugs that are better suited for hand washing:

  • Sisal, jute, seagrass or bamboo materials
  • Wool, animal skins, or other natural fibers

Can You Put Rugs In The Dryer?

No, you should not put rugs in the dryer. The heat from the dryer can damage the material of the rug or cause the colors to fade. It’s best to hang the rug to air dry.

How Often To Wash A Rug

Wash your rug every nine to 18 months, or more often if it’s a high traffic area or if you have pets that shed. Vacuuming your rug weekly will help it last longer and reduce long term stains. If a spill or stain happens before you’re ready to wash the whole thing, then spot trat the stains so they don’t become permanent.

Washing your rug will help it

  • last longer
  • keep it looking like new
  • reduce allergies
  • improve hygiene conditions in the home

How To Wash A Rug In The Washing Machine

Time Required: 1-2 hours
What You’ll Need:

Read The Care Label

It’s important to read the care label on your rug to ensure you don’t damage the material. Look for washing instructions, and make sure it’s safe to use a washer.

Shake And Vacuum The Rug

Before washing, vacuum and shake your rug to get rid of any dirt or dust that may be attached to the fibers. You can also take the area rug outside and beat the excess dirt out of it, like in the old days. It also works like a personal form of therapy too 😉

Test For Colorfastness

Colorfast materials like olefin or polypropylene will handle most household cleaning methods, but many other types of materials will not hold their color as well.

To test for colorfastness, use a cotton swab with warm water to blot the rug. If the cotton swab changes color, then your rug will bleed in the washing machine and possibly stain your clothes. In that case, wash with towels of a similar color (or dark colors) to keep the machine balanced without ruining the colors by washing them with the rug.

pre treat stains on rug

Pre Treat Stains and Spots

If you have any spots or tough stains, then you can use a stain remover to spot treat the stains. I like to start with water, then try an all natural dish soap like Dr. Bronner’s. Gently rub the stain with an old toothbrush and your chosen soap with a little bit of room temperature water. Let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes before putting the rug in the washer.

Load And Balance

Most throw rugs and other types of small rugs will fit into a washing machine but may cause it to be a little imbalanced. If you have a front load washer, then wash your small rugs with some other clothes of low value, like sheets or towels of the same color(ish).

If you have a top load washer, then you’ll have an easier time of keeping it balanced but the advice remains the same: throwing in other heavy items will help keep it balanced.

Wash The Rug In The Machine

Once you’ve double-checked the care label, set your washing machine to a gentle cycle, using cold water. Pour a mild, color-safe detergent into the washing machine. Don’t use any fabric softener or bleach. Place the rug in the machine and close the lid. Let the machine run.

Hang To Dry

Once the washing cycle is complete, hang the rug on a sturdy hanger or somewhere to hang it. Allow the rug to air dry completely before you use it again. Depending on how long it takes your rug to dry:

  • avoid drying in direct sunlight to avoid fading
  • small rugs can dry quickly in direct sunlight without fading

How To Wash A Rug By Hand

Time Required: 1-2 hours
What You’ll Need:

Read The Care Label

Again, it’s important to read the care label on your rug to ensure you don’t damage the material. Look for washing instructions, and make sure it’s safe to hand wash.

Shake And Vacuum The Rug

Before washing, vacuum and shake your rug to get rid of any dirt or dust that may be attached to the fibers.

Treat Any Stains

Choose a mild detergent for the rug, such as a dish detergent and white vinegar, and add it to the water. Since delicate rugs can’t be totally submerged in water, you’ll need to gently blot and dab the stain until it comes out.

  1. Mix your detergent in a large bowl or bucket of room temperature water. I like using Dr. Bronner’s and white vinegar.
  2. Dip a clean cotton cloth into the mixture and squeeze out excess moisture.
  3. Gently blot the stain, letting some of the water release onto the rug before soaking it back up again with the cloth.
  4. Continue doing this until the stain disappears, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.

If this mixture doesn’t work, then you can use a stronger stain remover product.

Air Dry The Rug

Once clean, hang the rug in a dry area and allow it to air dry completely.

What Kind Of Rugs Are Washable?

  • Washable Cotton Rugs. Cotton area rugs are safe to wash in the washer and are very easy to maintain. Hand wash or machine-wash with a mild detergent.
  • Synthetic Rugs. Synthetic rugs made from polyester, acrylic, or nylon are generally machine-washable. Be sure to check the care label to make sure your rug is machine-washable before putting it in the washer.
  • Olefin Or Polypropylene Rugs. Rugs made from olefin or polypropylene are very durable and resistant to dirt and stains, and are machine washable. These rugs should be vacuumed regularly and spot-cleaned as needed.

Top Washable Rugs

How To Clean Each Type Of Rug

  • Cotton And Synthetic Fiber Area Rugs. Cotton and synthetic fiber area rugs can be machine washed in a gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent. Be sure to check the label for care instructions for each rug. Hang to dry.
  • Oriental Rugs. Oriental rugs should be vacuumed regularly and spot-cleaned as needed. If your rug needs a deep clean, you may hire a professional cleaner. Never machine wash an Oriental rug.
  • Rubber-Backed Rugs. While rubber-backed rugs can be washed in a washing machine, the rubber backing on rubber-backed rugs will deteriorate in the washing machine, so it’s best to hand wash these rugs. If you choose towash  a rubber backed rug in a washing machine, then avoid bleach or heat, which will cause the rubber backing to flake. Fill a sink or tub with lukewarm water, add a mild detergent, and swish the rug around in the water. Rinse the rug several times to remove all the soap residue and hang to air dry. If you have a serious spill, then you can pop these into a washing machine with cold water, on a gentle cycle.
  • Wool Area Rugs. Wool area rugs may not be suited for machine-washing, depending on the manufacturer.
  • White Area Rugs. White area rugs may be hand-washed or machine-washed in cold water. Hang to air dry.
  • Shaggy Rugs. Shag rugs have long fibers, which means they can hold more dirt and grime. The best way to keep your shag rug clean is to vacuum several times a week, shake out excess dirt regularly, and use carpet shampoo once a week. (Just sprinkle carpet shampoo over shag rug, leave for an hour, and vacuum up.)
  • Jute, Sisal, And Bamboo Area Rugs. These types of rugs are not machine-washable, so it’s best to spot-clean them using a mild detergent and lukewarm water.
  • Delicate Or Antique Area Rugs. Machine washing any delicate rugs is not recommended. Spot clean these rugs with a mild detergent and lukewarm water, and dry them with a fan or dryer set on the lowest setting.
  • Large Area Rugs. Large area rugs are usually not machine washable. First use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and debris. Clean these rugs with a damp cloth or sponge and a mild detergent. You can wash them in a bathtub if you need a deep soak or cleaning or use a pressure washer with laundry powder to really clean it.

Tips For Washing Rugs

  • Start With Just Water. When washing your rug, start with just water before adding any detergent. This will help remove any dirt or dust from the fibers and prevent potential damage from detergent. If water does not work, then test clean a hidden area with your chosen detergent before washing the whole thing.
  • How To Remove Odors. If your rug has an odor, you may need to use a deep cleaning technique with a specialized detergent. You can also sprinkle baking soda on the rug and let it sit for fifteen minutes before vacuuming.
  • How To Spot Treat Stains. Treat any stains on the rug before washing. If you’re going to use a detergent, test clean a hidden area of the rug before treating the stain. Use a damp cloth and a mild detergent to gently blot the stain. Blot lightly so you don’t spread the stain.
  • How To Steam Clean A Rug. Steam cleaning a rug is one of the most effective ways to deep clean a rug. This type of cleaning is usually done by a professional. The rug is placed on a large table and a hot steam cleaning solution is sprayed onto and into the rug. The moisture and detergent breaks down dirt and grime and is then extracted from the rug.

Common Questions

Can You Wash A Rug In The Bathtub?

Yes, you can wash a rug in the bathtub. However, it’s important to make sure that your rug is not too large for the tub and that your rug is colorfast before attempting to wash it. If your rug is too large, try washing it outside or in a large sink or basin.

wash rugs with pressure washer

How Do You Hose Down A Rug?

To hose down a rug, start by shaking and vacuuming the rug to remove any loose dirt or debris. Then, attach a hose nozzle to a garden hose and direct the water onto the rug, using a slow and steady stream. Allow the water to soak into the rug and agitate any dirt or debris. Finally, rinse the rug with the hose and allow it to air dry.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, washing a rug can get a little complicated. But, with some careful planning and consideration, you can make sure that your rug looks its best for years to come. Don’t forget to check the care label on your rug before attempting to wash it and use caution to avoid any potential accidents.

More Rug Care Tips

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *