Machine Washable Rugs? They Exist, and Here’s What You Need to Know

published Jul 31, 2017
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(Image credit: Ruggable)

Story time: When we first started talking about this at Apartment Therapy, my immediate reaction was, “Machine washable rugs exist?!?” so if you’re reading this thinking, “wait, really?” you’re not alone. (If you did know this already, you can probably still learn a thing or two, and those of us who didn’t know appreciate your patience with us.) Some quick researching revealed that, not only are there rugs designed specifically to be machine washable, but that many regular unsuspecting rugs can actually also go in the washing machine.

Before we dive in, let’s just take a moment to muse about how great this entire concept really is. For one, if you could easily (we’ll get to the “easily” part later) machine wash all the rugs in your home, you’d never have to call in a professional or rent a carpet cleaner just to maintain it.

And aside from the obvious answer—which is “everywhere”—where would machine washable rugs come in particularly handy? Think entryways, where rugs are likely to get a little dirt on them on the daily, anywhere spills are most likely to happen like the kitchen or the dining room, anywhere kids are likely to play or make a mess, and anywhere bacteria is harbored, like the bathroom.

A quick search for “machine washable rugs” will reveal tons of options at just about every retailer imaginable. The Home Depot, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, and JCPenney all offer selections of machine washable rugs, just to name a few.

(Image credit: Ruggable)

Ruggable: New Innovation in the Washable Rug Game

Along with machine-washable traditional rugs, there’s also a company called Ruggable that offers an alternative solution — a lightweight rug that actually comes in two parts. Rather than buying a traditional rug and then putting it over a rug pad, Ruggable’s system involves attachable rug pads along with decorative rug covers that are much thinner than your standard rug. When it’s time to wash your rug, all you have to do is separate the rug cover from the rug pad and throw the cover in the washer and dryer. This also means you can easily change up your style with different rug covers on a whim—especially since you can buy the rug pads and covers separately.

Ruggable offers rug covers and pads in four different sizes, all the way up to 8′ by 10’—a substantial size that can hold down a sitting area and normally would be far too much for most residential washing machines to handle. And if you’re wondering about the look, know that they also offer rugs in several trend-forward style categories, geometrics, florals and bohemian-inspired styles. The base rug pads start at $29 for a 3′ x 5′ rug, going up to $149 for an 8′ x 10′, while the decorative, washable covers range run from $60 to $240, depending on size.

You can shop Ruggable’s full collection of machine washable rugs here.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

But wait… isn’t every rug machine washable?

Yes, kinda. Technically. According to Good Housekeeping, rugs that are made of cotton or synthetic fibers—even those with a rubber, no-slip backing—can go in the washing machine. Better Homes & Gardens notes that you can wash small braided or woven rugs in the machine was well. The problem is that many rugs are often too big, heavy and unwieldy to safely and confidently run a normal cycle in a normal machine. Plus then you need to deal with drying them for almost forever.

If you’re up to the challenge, Good Housekeeping suggests running it on the gentle cycle with cold water, and not washing it too often. For a small braided rug, Better Homes & Gardens suggests placing it in a mesh laundry bag or a zippered pillowcase before washing. When it’s done and clean, your best bet is to either tumble dry on low, or let it air-dry—especially if your rug has that aforementioned rubber backing.

If you’re dealing with a larger area rug that definitely can’t fit into your washer at home, you’ll need an industrial-sized washing machine, according to Crate and Barrel. In that case, you can likely head to your local laundromat, or even just take it to get dry cleaned.

Dealing with another type of rug that shouldn’t be machine washed? This helpful guide from Crate and Barrel breaks down care and cleaning based on the material and type of rug you have. And if you just need a little help keeping all your rugs in tip-top condition, we’ve got you covered with these 4 simple steps.