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How to Tell if a Rug is Washable: A Guide to Washable Rugs

Recently, washable rugs have exploded in popularity. It’s no wonder why: cleaning traditional rugs can seem daunting. Being able to just throw your rug into the washing machine after a spill will take a huge weight off your mind and let you enjoy entertaining without watching your guests like a hawk.

Because they are less common, it’s easy to think all washable rugs will be expensive. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth! There are a number of contemporary and traditional rugs that are perfectly machine washable, even if they aren’t always advertised as such. In this guide, we’ll show you how to identify affordable machine washable styles of rugs that you may not have considered before!

What Kind of Rugs are Washable?

Washable rugs are available in a variety of materials, both synthetic and natural. Generally, if all the materials used in making your rug are washable, the whole rug should be! Popular washable rug materials include:

  • Cotton
  • Polyester
  • Olefin/Polypropylene

Before you do wash your rug, make sure to check ALL the materials used. Many machine-made rugs have a jute backing. Jute is notorious for absorbing water and is not safe for washing machines. It’s important to ALWAYS check the care label on your rug before chucking it in the wash. If the label is unclear, try to contact the manufacturer. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Washable Cotton Rugs

Cotton is classic when it comes to washable rugs. Soft, flexible, and affordable, braided cotton “chindi” rag rugs with their t-shirt-like texture wash up extremely well in a machine. Just keep in mind cotton rugs can shrink in the drier just like cotton clothes would. It’s always best to air-dry!

Rugs.com has a host of awesome cotton rugs in a wide variety of patterns. The Braided Chindi Collection with its bright colors and the Sabrina Soto Casa collection with its modern designs and varied textures are a few of our favorites.


Washable Polyester Rugs

Printed polyester rugs are among the most popular styles of washable rugs on the market today. Polyester is known for its incredible durability, affordability and soft, cotton-like texture. Many polyester rugs have a cotton backing which is, as mentioned above, perfectly safe for washing machines

The Francesca Collection is one of our newest washable rug collections. With soft, thin pile, striking vintage patterns and a variety of colors, it’s the perfect low-maintenance addition to your high-traffic spaces.


Olefin or Polypropylene Rugs

Olefin is a synthetic fiber made from polypropylene. It’s known for being strong, colorfast, comfortable, and resistant to staining, mildew, and sunlight. For all these reasons, its an extremely popular material for both indoor and outdoor rugs.

Outdoor rug on front porch

A word of caution: many polypropylene rugs, especially those meant for indoor use, have a jute backing (as mentioned before). If this is the case with your rug, it is NOT machine washable. Outdoor rugs, which are often made entirely of olefin, should hold up in the wash, but it may even be easier just to use a garden hose.


Get the Most Out of Your Washable Rug

Even if you have a washable rug, throwing it in the machine shouldn’t necessarily be your go-to tactic for cleaning. After dozens of washes, the stresses involved will eventually wear down your rug. Spot cleaning tactics should be used for small messes between washes. Throw it in the machine every few months when you need a bigger refresh.

Two final tips: you can achieve the best results by making sure your rug is small enough to fit comfortably in your machine and that the load is balanced before you turn it on. This will prevent shaking and potential damage to your washing machine.

Air-drying is preferred to machine drying. Synthetic materials can be damaged by high heat.

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