how to flatten a rug

Rug in featured image: Artistic Weavers Odelia Vintage Bohemian Area Rug

Key Takeaways:

  • Leave the rug in the sun to air out any odors and further relax the fibers.
  • Roll the rug in the opposite direction to force the fibers to become more pliable.
  • Relax the fibers with heat or moisture.
  • Use weight to flatten dents and curled rug edges.
  • Vacuum regularly to avoid future creases.

Most rugs will flatten out on their own over time, but some area rugs refuse to lay flat for a really long time.

There are a few main causes for rug wrinkles, bumps, dents, and curled corners:

  • Rolled rug – most rugs are delivered rolled, leading the rug corners to curl.
  • Bumpy rug – humidity, natural wearing, and heavy furniture can all leave dents on area rugs.

There are a few ways to flatten a rug, most of which can be in under an hour. So let’s dive into how to flatten a rug once and for all.

How To Remove Dents From A Rug

Most fibers are pretty responsive to heat and moisture. Here are a few ways to remove furniture dents from a rug with just heat and moisture:

  • Use a small spray bottle of water to wet the affected carpet fibers. Then use a blow dryer gently to warm and fluff them.
  • The ice cube trick takes a similar method. Place an ice cube on the affected fibers and leave it to melt overnight. The moisture will make it easier to fluff the fibers when drying in the morning.
  • Use a steamer to gently steam and lift the fibers. Use a pick-style comb to fluff the fibers.
  • Spray wrinkle-removing spray on the carpet and gently fluff the fibers of the carpet with a washcloth.

*Always keep heat tools 6 inches away for safety to both you and the rug.

How to Flatten a Rug

Whether you have a brand new area rug with curled corners and edges, or an old rug with furniture dents, here are a few methods to flatten a rug.

Flip It Over

Rolled rugs just need a little bit of time to air and flatten out. Try flipping your area rug over for a few hours to days to see if that releases some of the curled edges. Place a few heavy objects on the corners to weigh them down.

Flip It Over

Try Reverse Rolling

Since most area rugs come rolled, the first step begins by reverse rolling the rug. Reverse roll your rug and place a heavy object at each corner for a few hours. if the curling is especially bad, leave it like this for a few days.

Try Reverse Rolling

Use a Hair Dryer

If the reverse roll didn’t work, then you can try using a hair dryer on the back of the rug to remove dents or curling. As stated before, always hold heating tools at least 6 inches away from the area rug for the safety of both you and the rug.

Use a Hair Dryer

Use a Clothes Iron

You can try to iron the backside flat. Use craft paper to create a safe barrier between the area rug and iron. Pay close attention to the material and keep the iron moving to prevent burning.

Use a Clothes Iron

Steam It

If you need to steam your rug, then first test a small spot. If it looks like your area rug can endure a steam, then begin with a low steam setting on a handheld carpet steamer. If your rug is delicate or expensive, then the steaming process may be too harsh. Contact a professional to clean and flatten your rug.

steam an area rug to flatten it

Before You Start: Clean the Rug Thoroughly

As heat and moisture work wonders on dented, bumpy rugs, it always helps to begin by cleaning your area rug thoroughly. This step isn’t necessary, but will help you on your quest to keep your rug flat in a pretty impactful way.

What you’ll need:

Step 1: Remove Debris

Remove debris with either a vacuum or by shaking vigorously outside. Make sure that every crumb and dust particle is gone from your area rug before moving onto step two. If you have pets, then be sure to remove all pet hair.

Step 2: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

Whatever rug shampoo you choose (and if you go with the wet-dry vacuum), follow the instructions for both. I also like to use natural dish soap, like Dr. Bronner’s, to wash my area rugs by hand.


  • Test an area of your rug first before washing the entire rug at once.
  • Never use hot water as it might shrink the rug’s fibers and/or cause discoloration.

Step 3: Work The Soap Into A Lather 

Using the soft-bristled brush, begin to gently work the shampoo into a lather, moving in a sweeping motion. Let the sudsy soap sit for five complete minutes. This will allow any grime or stains to lift and for the rug’s fibers to soften. This process will naturally fluff the carpet fibers and straighten any bent fibers.

NOTE: Not all rugs should be washed this way. Look up specific cleaning instructions for these types of area rugs:

  • Braided Rugs
  • Handmade rugs
  • Natural Fiber
  • Fur/Wool rugs

Step 4: Rinse The Area Rug

With a garden hose, pressure washer, or shower head, rinse the rug until it is completely clean. Make sure that you remove as much excess water as possible. This is where the wet-dry vacuum would come in handy.

BLACK+DECKER dustbuster AdvancedClean Cordless

Step 5: Dry The Area Rug

Let the area rug lie flat with the rug upside to let the top dry, flipping the rug upside down periodically to let the underside dry. It’s important to have it lay flat during the drying process so that it can find its new shape. Do not return the rug to its “place” until it is completely dry.

Step 6: Apply Heat To Flatten Rug 

If at this point your area rug still is not flat, then move onto one of the methods to remove creases and dents below.

How To Prevent A Rug From Bunching Up

  • Tape It Down: Carpet tape is good in a pinch and is relatively affordable. Be mindful of your flooring type and do not use carpet tape if you have hardwood floors. The major downside to rug tape is that it can stick to surfaces long after you want them to and even cause permanent stains.
  • Use A Rug Pad (Top Choice): An all natural rubber rug pad is the best option, hands down, to keep your area rug in place. Natural rubber rug pads have the best grip and cushion for any room in the house, from the dining room to the bedroom, and any flooring type, from a hard floor to carpeting. While the synthetic material used in cheap rug pads can potentially harm your flooring, an all natural rubber rug pad will not harm any flooring type.
RUGPADUSA - Super-Lock Natural
  • Weigh It Down: Rolled rugs can be flattened over time by weighing it down with heavy furniture. If it makes sense to, you can position your area rug so that a heavy object sits on every corner.

More Rug Care Tips

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