How to Flatten a Rug That’s Been Folded

TW-02 from Tatum by Loloi

There’s a rug that’s been tucked away in your closet for some time now, but you haven’t forgotten about it. In fact, you’ve been eagerly anticipating the day you can break it out of the closet and put it on display in your house. You were just waiting for the right time of the year, and you were working on getting the rest of the room decorated so it could match your rug. But, there’s one problem when you take the rug out of the closet- it’s got some serious kinks in it. You left it folded in there for a long time, and now the rug won’t flatten and lie on the floor nicely.

So, what do you do? Does this mean you need to get rid of the rug?

Don’t panic. Even though folding your rug definitely wasn’t a good idea, it is possible to even out those kinks so that your rug can lie flat on the ground. How do you do this, exactly? Check out this guide to learn how to flatten a rug that’s been folded.

Prevent the Creases

SGML938F from Melrose Shag 900 by Safavieh

First, let’s talk about how to prevent those creases from happening in the first place. The truth is, if you take the proper steps, your rug should lie flat the next time you unfold it, even if it’s been sitting in your closet for quite some time.

Clean the Rug Thoroughly

Before you put your rug away in storage, always be sure to give it a proper cleaning. And no, we don’t just mean a light vacuuming. To properly clean your rug, start by vacuuming it with a high-quality vacuum. If you don’t own a high-quality vacuum, take the time to rent one. Using a high-quality vacuum helps ensure that all of the dirt, dust, and other microscopic particles that don’t need to be there.

After you vacuum the rug, clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep in mind that a lot of rugs aren’t machine-washable. And, even the ones that are have special washing instructions. Therefore, never guess how your rug should be washed, as washing your rug the wrong way could easily destroy it.

Here’s a quick reference on how to wash different types of rugs (still make sure to check the instructions):

Braided Rugs

If the rug has small braids, place it in a mesh zipper laundry bag and wash it on the gentle cycle. Then, tumble dry it on a low setting. If the rug has large braids, begin by placing it on a vinyl or concrete floor. Then, use carpet cleaning foam to sponge clean the rug. After you’re done cleaning, rinse or vacuum the rug.

Handmade

These rugs are obviously very delicate so you will want to clean them with extra care. To begin, place a nylon screen over the rug and vacuum over the screen. This only works for some handmade rugs though, as each is very unique.

Natural Fiber

These types of rugs should be vacuumed on a regular basis, as they are huge magnets for dirt. After vacuuming, scrub any stains with a soft brush and soapy water. To protect your floors, place a plastic sheet beneath the rug while cleaning it. Blot the rug dry as much as possible. Then, use a dryer or a fan to speed up the rest of the drying process.

Fur/Wool

Shake talcum powder on the rug and leave it alone for several hours. Then, brush the powder through the hair of the rug. Repeat this process several times.

Tightly Roll the Rug When Storing

As you’ve already learned the hard way, folding a rug can cause all sorts of creases and kinks. Therefore, you always want to roll your rug into a tight cylinder. Typically, you’ll want to roll the rug with the pile facing inward (the pile is the top side of the rug), as the pile is more fragile.

You’ll also want to make sure you keep the rug as straight as possible when rolling. If you’re struggling to do this, place a rod inside the rug. Once the rug is rolled, you’ll want to wrap it in some sort of protective fabric. We recommend a polyurethane rug wrap, a cotton sheet, or a muslin.

Store in a Cool Environment

Last but not least, make sure you store your rug in a cool, dry environment, and preferably one that’s off the ground. Also, don’t place anything on top of the rug, as this can cause cracks and creases.

To make sure the rug stays cool and dry, you can blow a fan or a dehumidifier on it.

Getting Out the Creases

RUS05 from Rustic Textures by Nourison

You know what to do to prevent creases the next time you store the rug, but for now, the damage has already been done. What do you do? Let’s take a look at just what you need to do to get those creases out of your rug.

What Kind of Crease is It?

The type of crease you have on your hands can determine what you need to do to remove it. Let’s take a look at the most common types of creases and what to do:

Ripples/Waves

Typically, a rug will have ripples or waves in it if it is a new rug. Even though those ripples and waves may look bad, they’re actually fairly easy to remove.

All you need to do is lay the rug flat, and the waves will even themselves out after a day or two. You really shouldn’t need to do any ironing or anything extra if the rug is new, so be patient and let those kinks work themselves out.

Corners

Dealing with corners that won’t lie flat can be a huge pain. Luckily, there’s a pretty simple solution.

To flatten corners, a lot of people think the best thing to do is to place a heavy object on them. While this can work, the best thing to do is to actually fold the corners under and let them rest for a day or two.

Ironing

If you’ve tried both of these solutions and the rug still isn’t as flat as you’d like it to be, you can also iron it. Make sure you take extra care when you iron your rug. If done incorrectly, you could easily damage the rug. Also, be sure to check the rug label to make sure it’s iron-friendly.

Start by ironing it on the lowest setting possible with the steam on. If your iron doesn’t have a steam setting, sprinkle on some water before you begin. To protect the rug from being burned by the iron, place a piece of plain brown craft paper between the iron and the rug.

Again we’d like to stress that it’s important to be patient with your rug. Only resort to ironing if the creases are still present after waiting two full days.

Other Tips for Flattening a Rug

TW-02 from Tatum by Loloi

While those are the basics you need to know for flattening out your rug, there are some other tips to keep in mind to ensure you get your rug looking the way you want it to.

Here’s what else you should know about flattening your rug:

  • If possible, place the rug on a hard floor instead of a carpet while it relaxes. The hard floor makes it easier for the kinks to smooth out.
  • Try Back Rolling the Rug: Many people find this one of the easiest ways to deal with a rug that refuses to sit flat. All you have to do is unroll the carpet and roll it up again in the opposite direction. Then, let it sit for a day or two before you unroll it
  • Place the Rug Outdoors Under the Sun: If you’re somewhere where the temperatures are in the 70s-80s, you can place the rug outside in the sunlight for a few hours. The heat from the sun helps the rug naturally release tension.
  • If you’re not in a warm, sunny area, you can apply heat to the rug by using a hairdryer. Just be sure to flip the rug over and hold the hair dryer about 6″-9″ away from the rug. Use a sweeping motion when drying it.
  • Tape it Down: Apply carpet tape (and only carpet tape) to the back of your rug then stick it to your hardwood floors.
  • Have the Carpet Steamed: As a last result, you can have your carpet steamed. This should be done by a professional carpet cleaner.

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