Whenever I share a picture of my patio with my outdoor rugs out, I get a million questions- do you leave it outside all the time? How does it look? What’s the secret to having an outdoor rug and keeping it looking great? So I thought I’d share some tips for how to clean an outdoor rug and maintain it.
Because the thing about an outdoor rug is that it 100% pulls the space together! It makes it feel comfy and intimate like a room. An outdoor rug finishes off a patio or deck, but it can be a bit of work to keep it from getting ruined by the elements. Here are some guidelines for keeping it looking good.
Note, a special thank you goes out to my Instagram readers for sharing their tips with me so I could make this post as informative as possible!
At our house, we keep our rugs outside until a rainstorm is coming and then we bring them inside. Utah doesn’t get much rain so it can be out most of summer. In Florida, the rainy season is in the summer so it’s stored through September.
I think it’s the most work to bring rugs in and out through inclement weather, but keeps them looking the best. On the other hand, it means that the rug is in storage more than it is out since it is annoying to bring it in and out all the time. BUT there are other options!
when can I leave my rug outside?
Rugs are TOTALLLY fine outside when-
- they’re able to throughly dry after a rain storm. Leave the rug out once while it rains and see how it dries. If it can’t dry all the way, you need to bring it in or flip it so each side can dry. When a rug gets wet and doesn’t dry is when mildew and algae grows on it- yuck!
- the rug is under a covered porch or patio where they won’t get as much moisture. Again, it’s all about keeping the rug dry so that it won’t mildew.
- When it’s warm outside and not snowing or icing. For most locations, this means rugs should only be out during the warm months- usually May through September. If/when the temperature gets below freezing temperatures, store the rug in a dry space- a basement or shed work great.
- There’s an outdoor rug pad under the rug. These help the rug dry which prevents mold and mildew. An outdoor rug pad will extend the life of a rug and make it feel more luxurious when walking on it since it adds padding. They’re pretty affordable too- around $70 for an 8×10
what rugs are made of make a difference
In my first condo, I had a rug that was made of recycled straws! I loved that it’s Earth friendly and also, it’s plastic and stood up to anything. I could sweep or hose it off and it cleaned up so well. Plus it dried quickly since the moisture couldn’t soak in to any fibers. It wasn’t as soft to the touch, but it cleaned up so well and looked as good as new after heavy use for a few years.
When you buy an outdoor rug, make sure to select one that is made of polypropylene or polyester because those are the materials that will help your rug really last outdoor. Even if a rug says it’s outdoor, read closer and make sure it’s made of polypropylene or polyester.
Why? Polyester is resistant to fading and stains. Plus it holds colors well so you can have a colorful rug (which you know I love).
Polypropylene is also stain resistant. In rug form, polypropylene has a natural-fiber appearance. It can absorb water, but it won’t grow mild or mildew. If the polypropylene is UV-stabilized, the rug won’t fade too much from sunlight either.
This is the rug made of straws! And cute baby Don 💗
Yesterday, I pulled my outdoor rug out for the first time this season! It doesn’t have any stains, but was a little musty from being in the shed all winder. So I sprinkled it with baking soda and let it sit for awhile (probably 2 hours) in the sun. Then I brought my shop vac outside and vacuumed the whole rug. The baking soda absorbed all the ordors and it’s good to go!
If you have deeper stains from dirt or mildew, you can still use baking soda for cleaning that out too! Which is great since it’s eco friendly and affordable (plus, it’s probably already in the pantry).
Many rugs will have care instructions on the back, but what I’ve found is that most rugs can be cleaned with the following steps–
- Pressure wash the whole rug (or use a hose if you don’t have a pressure washer)
- Pour the baking soda to where ever there are stains or dirt marks. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of backing soda!
- Scrub the sections where the baking soda was poured on. Make sure to run the brush in the same direction as the fibers go on the rug to avoid damaging it. Any scrub brush will do, but a deck brush will make this job easier.
- Finish up by pressure washing the rug once again to rinse off the baking soda.
Note, it’s always a good idea to clean up spills right away by spot cleaning them with a rag, water, and baking soda. Using a leaf blower is a quick way to keep dirt from settling into the base of the rug (which can damage it).
Also, rugs should be cleaned from stains before they’re stored for the winter.
How to I store a rug?
I polled my audience on Instagram and 56% leave their rugs out all the time and 44% put theirs away for rain.
When it is winter and snowing or if you choose to bring a rug in during the rain, make sure to roll the rug up and then store in a dry location.
Don’t ever fold a rug! Why? You can dent the backing and it may never straighten out. Rolling the rug protects the backing and is the best way to keep the rug looking good. I’ve seen rugs get crumpled up in storage and they never look as good again because they won’t lay flat after the back gets dented. Don’t do that!
Next, I thought I’d share my favorite places to buy outdoor rugs.
A little more expensive, Anthropologie is always a great spot for outdoor rugs. You pay for getting special and unique rugs you can’t find anywhere else.
I love Grandin Road for anything outdoor. I have an outside rug from them from last year and LOVE it! They have special details on their items and the quality is great.
It’s easy to forget about Home Depot, but their website is SO good for finding a variety of home decor items. I quickly found rugs that were only on their shop that I fell in love with.
Overstock is another place to go for a ton of variety. There’s no curation, but tons of options! You have to narrow down the options, but it’s a fun treasure hunt!
I used a Ruggable rug for the first time a few months ago. I’ve been so impressed with how cleanable it is! All of their rugs are able to throw in the washing machine so they’re easy to maintain.
Rugs.com has some great basic options. Which is perfect for outside! I liked pretty much anything from the Sabrina Soto collection.
I LOVE Target for outdoor rugs! Especially their Opalhouse and Threshold lines. Unique, colorful, special, fun AND affordable. I’m obviously obsessed. Also, I have that Mohave rug in my she shed and it’s perfection.
Urban Outfitters is like the kid sister to Anthropologie. Which means that the selection is cute, but the prices are pretty good too. They are always using the newest trends, so I love that aspect too.
It’s easy to forget about Walmart when it comes to decor, but their site usually has some affordable and cute options. If you’re looking for a great deal, hunt around their site. It might surprise you.
Wayfair has the selection like Overstock, but to me, the rugs are a little better (aka they have cuter designs). They always have a bunch that I love and the price is usually fair.
West Elm is another beautiful shop! To me, it’s a little pricey. But you do get what you pay for usually! The styling is usually spot on here especially if you’re into a mid century modern look.
World Market is another great shop for anything outdoor- furniture or rugs. They have curated selection so pretty much anything is a great choice.
Here are my very favorite rugs from the above shops in case you’re in the market-
1 Framed Arrows / 2 Ocelot / 3 Rhody Braided / 4 Lavish Solid & Striped / 5 Aqua Mosaic / 6 Limoncello Yellow / 7 Mali Annette Traditional Pink / 8 Silas Pink / 9 Flatwoven Chevonna / 10 Ornate Woven Round Outdoor Rug / 11 Suri / 12 Cali Green/Pink / 13 Luz
Ok! Now I want to hear from you- do you have a rug outside? Is it worth the hassle of maintaining? To me it is since I feel it adds SO much to the look!
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