Tips and Guides

Is It Safe To Wash Area Rugs At Home?

Learn more about the types of rugs you can throw in the wash and how you can avoid a damaged piece

Photography: Dairy Darilag (Main Photo)

A rug can help define a space. It gives character and can instantly add warmth to any room—regardless of its material, shape, and size. However, without proper care, we all know that a rug can easily lose its charm as it accumulates dirt, dust, and even allergens over time. If left dirty and dusty, a soiled rug can affect your interiors and make it look cramped and gloomy.

Since a rug is an investment that needs tender loving care, it's essential to know how to care for it. Keep in mind that various rugs require different care patterns. In most cases, you will find a cheat sheet attached to the underside of every rug, known as the care tag. Make sure you read it before attempting to wash your piece as not all types of rugs can be washed and dried. Depending on the material, dye, and size, here are some things to consider before throwing your rug in the wash:

Materials to look out for:

Natural fibers

Rugs made of plant-based materials (usually made of sisal, jute, and seagrass) should be cleaned with little to no water


Make sure that you follow the direction of the hair when cleaning


Should not be saturated in water or cleaning materials; do not scrub as the yarn may fuzz

Cleaning rugs made of the abovementioned materials only requires vacuuming. Remember to blot spills immediately to avoid stains. Professional cleaning is recommended for larger stains and general cleaning. Do not try to machine-wash these rugs.

Rugs that you can launder


Rugs made of cotton or cotton blends (a combination of cotton and another material) can (almost) always be thrown in the wash. Just make sure you do spot cleaning first to check its color-fastness—you wouldn't want to find out that the dyes run when it's too late to pull the rug out.

Synthetic materials

You will find that olefin, polyester, acrylic, nylon or a blend of materials can be hand washed—but it's not advisable to put it in the machine. Some materials are more brittle than others and won’t hold its shape if machine-laundered.

Before washing, make sure you shake off loose dirt and dust from the rug. Once the rug is loaded, set the machine on full load and on delicate cycle. See to it that the rug has enough room to move. Do not use too much detergent and choose a mild kind. After the machine cycle, always hang your rug to air dry.

Bonus tips to keep in mind:

  • The size of your machine should also be in proportion to the size of your rug. Bath rugs and smaller area rugs can go in the wash, but you might want to hand-wash or use industrial washing machines for bigger-sized rugs (around 4’x6’ and up).
  • Small, braided rugs made of cotton or synthetic fibers should be placed in mesh laundry bags before washing. This will prevent too much stretching of the rug—helping retain its shape.
  • Some rugs have non-skid rubber backing, note that these can easy crumble when laundered. Anything larger than a bath mat should be brought to a professional for washing.


Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

 PHOTOS (in order): Michael Angelo Chua | Miguel Nacianceno | Dairy Darilag (3 and 4) | Pexels

More on

Expert Advice: Choosing The Right Rug

Different Types of Area Rugs

Building 101: Sizes of Rugs


Latest Stories

How To Vacuum Your Home Properly

Here’s how to avoid all the usual vacuuming mistakes. Plus, learn about a revolutionary new material that will help you bust all that dirt at home.

5 Things To Never Clean With Baking Soda

This finely milled powder has its downsides, too

There's An Affordable Way To Keep Your Home Smelling Good 24/7

Say no to artificial fragrances with this three-step hack

A KonMari Reality Show Is Coming To Netflix

Will de-cluttering diva Marie Kondo's new show spark joy?

You Only Need P5,000 To Work On These Home Improvement Projects

The best part? These can increase the value of your space, too.

What's Inside The Vatican Walls?

Aside from having one of the largest collections of art in the world, the Vatican holds many other treasures

Meet The Architect Behind This Industrial-Pinoy Home

Inspired by the Bahay Kubo, this architect worked with industrial details and affordable building materials to create an inviting space

Is It Possible to Paint Over Tiles?

No one likes the sight of lackluster tiles. Know what to do with these tips from an interior designer.

A Sneak Peek at the New Clark City

A Singaporean consulting firm has been tapped for the development project

You Can Use Wallpaper On The Ceiling, Too

Talk about having a one-of-a-kind accent in your space

Rockwell's Glasshouse Is The Chicest Restaurant Out There

Fashion retailer Harlan + Holden's response to the global trend of lifestyle dining is this airy and beautiful restaurant

6 Ways Wallpaper Can Enhance A Very Small Room

Wallpaper isn't just for huge, sprawling homes—the colors and patterns of this wall finish can visually enlarge a tiny space
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!