Rugs and carpets are some of the hardest-working pieces of decor in people’s homes. Not only are they key when it comes to pulling high-traffic areas together and rounding out your decor and furniture, but because they’re obviously on the floor, they see a lot of action throughout the day. And whether you live alone, have a big family, or keep a herd of pets, all the activity that comes across your rug really adds up. Basically, they need to be durable, whether it’s runners, reversible rugs, or anything in between.
Traditional rugs are difficult to clean, and oftentimes get a lot of wear and tear. They require special, costly cleaning services, or a rather elaborate process to help remove messes and stains at home. Sometimes, carpet cleaners just won’t cut it.
Particularly if you’re budget-conscious, or just short on time and energy to add one more errand to your list, this can make rugs seem like more of a liability than a value-add for your home.
Add all that to the fact that a dirty rug or carpet can adversely affect the air quality of your home, and it often seems easier to go without one, even if you know a rug would really complete your space and make you feel more at home.
Luckily, there are more and more options for machine-washable rugs out there. But what is a washable carpet, and how much easier is it to care for than traditional rugs? Can you throw it in the washer? Does it offer stain resistance?
Basically: Is it worth it? Well, we think so — continue reading below for the hows and whys.
Why Do You Need a Washable Rug?
Washable rugs are basically the best thing since sliced bread. They’re ideal for busy areas of your house, like living rooms and hallways, because they’re easily cleaned. That means that they’re also ideal for your nerves if you find yourself on edgeanytime someone comes into your house, thinking about their shoes on your expensive rug.
Particularly, if you have kids or pets (or both!), washable rugs are a must-have decor solution. From the playroom to the nursery, you need the best washable rugs you can get your hands on. Because child and dog-proofing your house can put a damper on everything from your favorite house plants to where you can put your most beloved trinkets and tchotchkes, finding ways to keep your decor up to your standards while knowing there’s nothing out that your two or four-legged little ones can damage is life-changing.
Because you can just toss a washable rug into the washing machine if it gets dirty, it won’t matter how often your kids and pets are on your rug — there will always be an easy, affordable way to make it look good as new.
And because washable rugs are easier to restore to their best and brightest days than traditional rugs, you don’t have to shy away from light colors if that’s what you want in your space. Our Olivia rug in Ivory will wear just as well in your house’s busiest areas as our Sena Rug in Black, so there are no limits to your home design creativity. Washable area rugs enhance the look of your home, which is a huge part of their popularity.
Lastly, you need a washable rug because it will save you so much money in the long run. While you may be able to find cheaper traditional options out there, when you begin to add up the cleaning costs of other rugs over the years… you very quickly arrive at a much higher number than you expected. Not only are washable rugs less likely to get ruined, but they’re no more expensive and difficult to wash than your bedsheets.
What Makes Your Rug Washable?
First of all, some rugs are said to be water-resistant, which may be encouraging if you’re looking for a rug that can be easily spot-cleaned and kept tidy. While overall this may be a good thing, some chemicals used in waterproofing have been linked to certain health concerns, so do a little research into what you’re buying before you commit. Tumble rugs have been tested for harmful chemicals such as PFCs (including PFOA and PFOS, which are commonly found in waterproof coatings), VOCs, Lead, Phthalates, Formaldehyde, Formamide, and Dichloromethane (sometimes found in other washable rugs).
Broadly, though, what will make your rug washable is the material it's made from, rather than any kind of chemical modification or coating. We’ll talk about it a bit more in the next section, but if all the materials used to create your rug are washable, your rug is probably washable, too. Sometimes the processes used to hold rugs together and create the beautiful patterns we love so much may be too delicate for a machine.
Generally, washable rugs will be sturdy and made from a selection of synthetic materials or natural materials. Washable rug materials include cotton, polyester, olefin, and polypropylene, however, at Tumble we have found polyester to provide the perfect balance of beauty, and durability.As washable rugs become more and more popular, there are so many colors and patterns available. You’re not going to be limited to the typical bland browns and taupes of classic outdoor carpeting.
Washable rugs will often be a low pile and lightweight, which means that they’re not just easy to wash — they’re easy to keep clean between washes. Lower pile rugs enable you to wipe liquids away, and it’s super easy with Tumble rugs particularly, which are so spill-proof that you won’t even worry when your kid runs away without the lid to their sippy cup.
How Do You Know if Your Rug Is Washable?
If you’re purchasing a new rug, the first and most obvious thing to look for is a product that proudly advertises itself as being washable. Although our Shiraz in Terracotta/Sky looks like a timeless vintage heirloom that your great, great aunt picked up decades ago during her travels, all Tumble rugs are machine washable — and we’re happy to tell you all about it. So when you’re seeking out a washable rug, look for a company that wants to shout it from the rooftops.
If you already have a rug and you’re wondering if you can wash it, you’ll want to look for a label and see if you can find cleaning information there. Generally, a label should tell you how to care for the rug. If there isn’t information about cleaning, check to see if the label tells you what the rug is made from, and do some research to see if those materials can be washed from the comfort of your own home.
Another way to determine what is a washable carpet and what isn’t is to check the backing of the rug. If it’s jute — or if the whole rug is jute — it shouldn’t be put in your washing machine. If the backing of your rug is cotton, and you’ve made sure all the other materials in the rug can withstand a washing machine, then you might be good to go as long as the rug doesn't shrink too much in the washing machine.
If you can’t find a label or make the determination yourself, contact the manufacturer! They should be able to fill you in. And if you’re in doubt, it’s probably best to stick with professional cleaning — throwing a non-washable rug into your washing machine will be a very expensive mistake.
How Often Should You Wash Your Rug?
While it’s great to have a rug that’s machine washable, like with any textile, it’s important not to go overboard. Just like your favorite jeans are liable to fade over time no matter how high quality they are if you wash them constantly, your washable rug shouldn’t be thrown into the laundry every evening either.
For minor spills, simple spot-cleaning should do the trick. Because liquids bead on Tumble rugs rather than soaking in and staining, it’s pretty easy to wipe up any little mistakes that may happen here or there. This will keep your rug looking clean and fresh, without wearing it out.
You can throw your washable rug into the washing machine every few months when you feel like it needs a good, deep clean. While we’re cautioning against excessive cleaning, it’s good to get in the habit of washing your rug at regular intervals.
Because dirt, dust, and allergens can accumulate even in our sleek, soft, low pile rugs, regular deep cleanings will keep your rug smelling fresh, and keep everyone in your house happy and healthy. You also may want to take care to use a gentle detergent to keep your rug looking as good as new as long as possible.
How Do You Wash Your Rug?
Wash your rug on your machine’s cold setting, on a delicate cycle with a mild, bleach-free detergent. If your rug has any stains, make sure they’re facing outward when you insert the rug into the machine. Keep in mind that your rug is likely going to be in an area you spend a lot of time in, so using a detergent with a super strong scent might not be the best option — unless you really love the smell.
Most washable rugs should be hung to dry, which can take a couple of days. Tumble rugs can be finished up in your dryer — just pop your rug in on low heat, don’t use fabric softener, and you’ll be good to go in a fraction of the time!
Wash Your Rug
Rugs can make a huge difference in your home decor, but they can be tricky to manage if you have a rug that’s high maintenance and difficult to clean. Washable rugs are a great alternative that gives you all of the style you want with none of the drawbacks. But it might take some effort to determine what is a washable carpet and what isn’t, so be sure to do your research, and follow the manufacturer’s care instructions!