Choosing an outdoor rug for the deck, patio, porch or even the pool area is an inviting way to bring style and warmth to an outdoor space. It lets everyone enjoy all the outdoors has to offer, making the backyard or front porch a popular extension of the home as well as an additional spot to entertain or simply relax and unwind. There are also a wonderful array of colors and designs to choose from in a wide range of prices, giving you ample choices for a budget-friendly outdoor rug.
Once you discover the ideal outdoor rug to complement the desired space, it is important to maintain the rug with proper care. Outdoor rugs are typically low maintenance since the rugs are fashioned from durable materials like polypropylene, polyester, bamboo or sisal. However, even the most seasoned outdoor rugs need to come indoors when Jack Frost comes calling this winter.
Do I Have To Store My Outdoor Rug?
Since outdoor rugs are meant to be outside, it is easy to assume that the rug can stay there regardless of the temperature, weather and season, but just like the pool gets closed shortly after Labor Day and the outdoor furniture gets packed away once the fall temperatures get too chilly, your outdoor rug should be brought inside as well.
Choosing to leave your outdoor rug outside through winter’s harsh temperatures and weather conditions will definitely not help to prolong its life. Extended exposure to moisture under piles of snow will most certainly encourage mold and mildew to grow not to mention eventual damage from freezing temps. All of these elements combine to shorten the lifespan of an outdoor rug. Since an outdoor rug is an investment like any other component of your home, plan on cleaning and storing it before the temperatures dip below freezing.
Keeping an outdoor rug clean is an essential ingredient in maintaining it. Spills should always be addressed immediately and regular cleanings are important. Weekly cleanings to remove dirt are key in preventing buildup and a more-detailed monthly cleaning is highly recommended.
A complete, thorough cleaning is vital before winter storage. First, vacuum the rug carefully. Remember vacuuming can damage a rug if you’re not careful and some rugs are quite sensitive to the beater bar on a vacuum. A leaf blower is often a perfect substitute for vacuuming an outdoor rug and is great for getting rid of dirt and debris. Next, hose off and wash the rug with a mild dish detergent. If necessary, scrub with a soft brush. As a general rule of thumb, always check the manufacturer’s directions prior to washing any outdoor rug. For example, cleaning a bamboo rug with a damp cloth is preferable to a complete soaking with a hose.
After any rain, it is a good practice to hang the rug to dry on both sides. Mold and mildew love moisture and getting in the habit of drying your outdoor rug will help to extend its life. A major rule to remember is to never store a damp or wet rug. Once your outdoor rug is cleaned and washed, take care to ensure that it is dried completely before moving to the storage step. Storing the rug wet or even slightly damp will most certainly encourage mold and mildew to grow, damaging the outdoor rug.
The safest and most efficient way to dry any outdoor rug is to let Mother Nature do the job. Take advantage of a sunny day and place the rug on a line or across a fence and allow it to dry naturally. If you don’t have access to a clothesline, be sure to flip the rug in order to let both sides dry thoroughly.
Roll It Up
Once the outdoor rug is clean and dry, it is time to roll it up for winter storage. Another rug tip is to never fold an indoor or outdoor rug for storage purposes. While folding may seem like a space-saver, it can cause permanent creases and damage. Rolling is the ideal way to store any rug. First, determine which side of the rug is more delicate. In most cases, it is the front where the pile or fibers are. The more sensitive side should be inward when you roll up the rug.
Utilize a thick curtain rod or wooden dowel to help keep the rug straight when you roll. Once the outdoor rug is rolled, wrap a cotton or muslin sheet around it at least once. Secure the sheet with cotton or polyester twill tape. Finally, for better protection, cover the rolled rug in a polyurethane wrap. Bugs and critters find rugs to be very inviting. Polyurethane wrap will provide ample protection from bugs and moisture. Resist the temptation to cover your outdoor rug in plastic. Plastic is not recommended since it does not allow the rug to breathe. Use the twill tape to secure the polyurethane wrap as well for a tighter seal.
Now that your outdoor rug is cleaned, dried and rolled, it is time to think about storing your outdoor rug until spring is in the air. If possible, find a place to keep the rolled rug that is not on the ground. Also, avoid placing other storage items on top of your outdoor rug. Heavy boxes, furniture, sports equipment and other things that tend to wind up tucked away can cause damage or ruin a rug’s shape.
The best place to store a rug is in a cool, dry spot in the house. An attic may be too hot since heat rises, making many folks opt for basement or garage storage. Try not to put the rug near direct sunlight since this can end up being bad for the rug. Periodic dusting, while the rug is in storage, is helpful to deter any dust-loving insects that may be searching for a home. When Jack Frost finally heads back north and the last snows have melted away it’s time to think about unrolling your outdoor rug to savor another spring, summer and early fall. Just remember to give it a good vacuum or once over with the leaf blower. Bugs can be relentless.
An outdoor rug makes any outside space more inviting and homey. With these winter storage tips in hand, you and your outdoor rug will spend many happy seasons together savoring a breath of fresh air.