Which Rugs Are Machine Washable?

PLX434L from Pro Lux Shag 400 by Safavieh

Being able to machine wash an area rug is a huge bonus. Accidents happen and when spills occur, having a machine washable rug takes away a lot of the stress. The question is which rugs are machine washable?

A general rule of thumb is to always check the manufacturer’s directions before tossing it into the machine. Not all rugs can stand a run through the wash, but many can. A wash cycle should not be an often used cleaning technique for area rugs since repeated washes can shorten its life. Rugs with rubber backing will wear quicker with frequent washings. Periodic washing can remove dirt, debris, pet dander and dust embedded deep into the rug’s fiber that vacuuming just won’t get rid of. Here’s a quick guide to the rug materials that are machine washable.

Cotton

BRD451Q from Braided by Safavieh

Cotton is one of the few natural rug fibers that are machine washable, which is why cotton is often a top choice. Not only is the price tag affordable, but cotton rugs are also comfy, cozy and wash up well in the machine.

Since the cost is inexpensive, a worn out cotton rug is easy to replace. Just remember to air-dry. A run through the dryer can actually shrink a cotton rug much like cotton garments.

Olefin

Malek from Marrakesh by United Weavers of America

Olefin is a synthetic fiber that is a perfect pick for indoor and outdoor rugs because it is stain, mildew and moisture-resistant while coming in an array of attractive colors and styles. If a major cleaning is needed like after an outdoor season comes to an end, olefin can handle a machine wash.

A yearly wash can help keep any olefin rug fresh while seasonal ones may be needed in houses with little ones and pets.

Nylon

Krystal Trellis Tassel Rug from Majesty by NuLoom

Many synthetic fibers can be washed in machines and nylon rugs aren’t any different. Nylon rugs are not as durable as some synthetic fibers like polypropylene but are a great option for low traffic areas.

The occasional trip through the wash cycle works to rid the nylon area rug of built-up dirt and dust, but remember to use the gentle cycle, cold water and avoid drying in the dryer. Air drying is the preferred method after a wash.

Polyester

RUS06 from Rustic Textures by Nourison

Known for its budget-friendly price and soft touch, polyester rugs are fabulous. As with most synthetic rug fibers, polyester rugs are machine washable.

When washing a polyester rug, it’s a good idea to wash it solo. If you do blend it with another load, take care not to mix colors. Cold water and the gentle cycle with a mild laundry detergent works best when washing a polyester rug.

Polypropylene

PLX434L from Pro Lux Shag 400 by Safavieh

Like olefin, polypropylene rugs are excellent for high traffic areas and ideal for both indoor and outdoor spaces. Polypropylene is one of the more durable synthetic rug fibers. It can be washed in the machine or hand-washed outside with a garden hose and a mild dish detergent.

As with other synthetic rugs, do not toss in the dryer. Dryer heat can melt the polypropylene fibers. Air dry instead and take care not to place in direct sunlight.

Viscose

Vintage Kaye Gabbeh Fringe from Ankara by NuLoom

Viscose is a semi-synthetic fiber. Its main ingredient is wood pulp, which is why viscose is often classified as a natural fiber and a synthetic one. While you can wash a viscose rug in a machine if necessary, a better option is a hand-wash or a spot clean since viscose rugs tend to be more on the sensitive side.

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