Can You Put A Rug In The Washing Machine?

While it is possible to machine wash some rugs, it’s not always recommended. 

Whether you can put a rug in the washing machine depends on several factors, including the material, design, size, and weight of the rug. Always check the care label first before attempting to machine wash a rug.

But how often should you clean your rug and is hand washing a better option? In this article, we’ll not only learn about these factors but also provide step-by-step instructions on how to safely wash and dry your rug, along with some handy tips to prevent damage. Keep reading to learn more.

Should You Machine Wash A Rug?

confused person in front of washing machine

Not all rugs should go in the washing machine. Rugs made from 100% cotton or synthetic fibres like nylon or polyester are typically safe to machine wash. 

However, those with detailed designs or delicate materials such as silk or wool should avoid the washing machine. Rugs with long tassels, for example, can get stuck. If the rug means a lot to you or is expensive, washing it by hand is usually the safest choice.

Your rug might also shrink or lose colour in the washing machine. It’s not very common if you use a gentle cycle and cold water, but it can happen. 

There’s always a small risk of harm when you do not wash fabrics according to care instructions, so always check the specific care label on your rug before washing and check for any loose threads or weak areas before you wash it.

Does Rug Size And Weight Matter?

Whether a rug can go in the washing machine also depends on how large and heavy it is. Rugs that are too large or too heavy may not be suitable for machine washing. This could damage both the rug and the washing machine. 

Always check not only if it fits, but also that it isn’t too heavy for the machine. If the rug is too heavy, it might damage or break the machine. Check the machine’s manual to find out its weight limit.

How To Machine Wash A Rug

open washing machine door

Machine washing your rug can be convenient and effective if done correctly. To avoid damage and ensure a thorough clean, follow these steps:

  • Shake your rug before putting it in the washing machine. This stops it from getting tangled and removes loose dirt.
  • If your rug has tassels or a fringe, tie them up to avoid damage during washing. 
  • For small rugs, use a laundry bag, and for larger rugs, a duvet cover can be used for protection.
  • To ensure your rug is treated gently during the wash, select a gentle cycle and cool water to avoid damage.
  • It’s best to use a mild detergent and avoid temperatures higher than 40°C to prevent the rug from shrinking. Usually, washing at 30°C is enough to get your rug clean and fresh.
  • Select the correct cycle for the rug’s material and dirt level—a delicate cycle suits most rugs, but a stronger cycle may be necessary for sturdier material.
  • Be careful with rubber-backed rugs; washing them too often or too harshly can damage them.

Important: Don’t overload the machine, as it could twist the rug out of shape. If your rug doesn’t easily fit, it’s better to wash it by hand.

How To Hand Wash A Rug

a room with a rug

Hand washing is the safest method for delicate or antique rugs. Follow these steps for an effective hand wash:

  1. Shake the rug to remove loose dirt and dust. For larger rugs, vacuum the top, bottom, and underneath.
  2. Identify any stains and treat them with a suitable stain remover before washing.
  3. Select a rug shampoo appropriate for the material of your rug. Always check the care label for guidance.
  4. Take the rug outside on a dry, warm day. Hose it down until it’s thoroughly wet.
  5. Using a soft bristle brush, massage the shampoo into the rug according to the instructions on the bottle.
  6. Wash out the shampoo with the hose until the water runs clear.
  7. Lay the rug flat in an unused space indoors to dry for 1-2 days. Once one side is dry, flip it over to dry the other side. Ensure the rug is completely dry to prevent mould or mildew.

Note: Be sure to check if the rug’s material can manage this type of cleaning as some fabrics require more gentle methods.

How To Dry A Rug After Washing

Always air dry your rug after washing. A clothesline is ideal for hanging rugs, though laying it on a towel also does the trick. 

If tumble drying is an option, always opt for a cold and low setting to help your rug last longer. Make sure it’s thoroughly dry to prevent mould or mildew growth.

How Often Should You Clean A Rug

It’s best to deep clean your rugs every 12 to 18 months. If you spill something, clean it up fast to stop stains from setting in. Make sure to deal with any stains before you go on to the next cleaning step. Regularly vacuum both sides of the rug to remove dust and dirt.

SEE ALSO: Can You Put Door Mats In The Washing Machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to put a rug in the washing machine?

It is okay to put a rug in the washing machine if it is made of machine-washable materials like cotton or synthetic fibres, and if it fits comfortably without exceeding the machine’s weight limit. Always check the care label first.

Can you machine wash rugs with rubber backing?

You can machine wash rugs with rubber backing, but do so carefully. Use a gentle cycle and cold water, and avoid washing them too frequently to prevent damage.

What is the best way to wash a rug?

The best way to wash a rug depends on the material. For machine-washable rugs, use a gentle cycle with mild detergent and cool water. For delicate or antique rugs, hand washing is the safest method.

How to tell if a rug is machine washable?

To tell if a rug is machine washable, check the care label. Look for indications about water temperature, cycle type, and whether machine washing is recommended.

Which rugs are not machine washable?

Rugs made from delicate materials such as silk or wool, or those with detailed designs or long tassels, are not machine washable. Hand washing is a better option for these rugs.

How to hand wash a rug?

To hand wash a rug, shake it to remove loose dirt, treat any stains, and use a suitable rug shampoo. Wet the rug thoroughly, massage the shampoo in with a soft brush, rinse until the water runs clear, and let it air dry completely.

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