Washable Rugs 101: What You Need to Know Before Buying

What Makes Washable Rugs different?

The construction (the way the rug is made) is one of the major differences between traditional and washable carpets. Traditional rugs are usually made by weaving, where the patterns are actually worked into the rug as threads are interlaced which can create a very strong and durable rug. The weaving may use natural fibres such as wool or silk and synthetic materials which add weight, texture and can enhance appearance. However, the traditional method also makes the rugs a lot heavier which is usually a good thing but of course putting something that heavy in the washing machine is just not going to work out very well. 

This is where washable rugs come in, washable area rugs are typically not made with woven designs but are rather made with printed patterns. The dyes are applied directly to the surface of the rug through the printing process. The printed nature of the patterns ensures that these rugs are usually lighter and more flexible, hence machine washable. With this type, it also enables thousands of different styles and colors giving homeowners a huge choice of designs to fit any decor from ultra-modern to floral classical designs. The light weight acts not just in the ease of handling and placing but also in ensuring these rugs could get into a standard washing machine without damaging the appliance.

Besides, the flexibility of the designs of the rug that are printed allows them to have details as well as bright colors that may not be easy using other weaving techniques. In the construction of washable rugs, materials used include synthetic blends of polyester, nylon, polypropylene among others, these are chosen in order to increase durability and maintenance. The fibers are treated to bear the frequent washing and will not necessarily deteriorate in quality, hence the rug remains vibrant and in good shape for a long time.

black washable rug

Rubber Backings: A Handy Feature

Another great feature of most washable rugs is that they come with a  rubber backing. This non-slip backing, provided by the rubber backing of many machine washable rugs, is a key and important feature that prevents slipping, which is more common typically because of their lighter weight. The non-slip feature offers greater safety and comfort in keeping the rug in place, hence reducing trip and falls. This is highly essential for high-traffic areas, like kitchens where spills and messes predominantly occur. 

As a added little bonus it also cushions your feet to make it very comfortable for those long hours of cooking and cleaning. The rubber backing also helps the rug hold on to its shape and appearance for much longer. It prevents the edges from curling due to too much frequent wash and dry, enabling the rug to maintain a new look and last much longer. The mold and mildew resistant rubber material helps in presenting a healthier environment within the home. 

cream washable rug

Lower Pile Height and Lower Weight: Balancing Benefits and Drawbacks

Machine washable carpets typically have a lower pile height and are lighter in weight than traditional carpets. In many ways, this is actually a minus in the design because a lower pile can feel less plush and luxurious than what most people think of when they imagine a high-quality rug. Lighter rugs sometimes have the tendency to shift or bunch more easily than heavier rugs, even with a non-slip back, which may require readjusting more often. Hence, the lighter weight may indicate a rug that is less in quality which can sometimes impact durability and even give one the impression that it is less substantial when laid on the floor.

But again, depending on what one wants, a lighter weight low pile rug can be a good thing. Not everyone needs or desires a high-pile, heavy rug; certainly, many elderly people or those with mobility issues do not. Due to their light weight washable carpets are quite a bit easier to move, clean, and reposition. This can be a convenience should you ever redecorate your room or at least on a regular maintenance basis. Lower pile height which traps less dirt and dust makes vacuuming and cleaning a much easier chore as well. Depending on your lifestyle its practicality can outweigh the desire for a plush rug. Ultimately, machine washable rugs have a lower pile height and are lighter for a versatile, user-friendly option for many homeowners-balancing easy maintenance with functionality.

The Impact of Fading with Machine Washable Rugs

One of the major concerns associated with machine washable rugs is the fact that they tend to fade with time. Machine wash of this type of rug is a very intense process, mainly if it is done regularly. The detergents used in the washing process tend to agitate and fade the colors and patterns of the rug thus making it less attractive. This is particularly true of low-quality rugs. Dyes applied in such rugs are not as resistant to wash and wear. Once the rug undergoes a few cycles of wash, then the vibrancy of its pattern can be lost, and it can look highly worn and not as aesthetically pleasing as before.

Machine washable rugs typically withstand 5 to 10 washes depending on its quality. Higher quality rugs are going to stand up to more washes and not fade as much as a lower quality rug. So how often should one wash their rug in the washing machine? Keep in mind that machine washable rugs are not supposed to be washed every week but rather every 6 months to 1 year. Of course this depends on the level of use or traffic during that time period. By following a more conservative washing frequency, you can help preserve the rug's appearance, as well as extend its overall lifespan. Make sure to always follow wash instructions on the back of the rug or on a tag attached to the side. 

marble washable rug


For ease of reading I've added a quick dot pointed summary below:


  • Variety of Designs: The printing mechanism gives way to a wide range of designs and colors that may be selected to complement 'almost' any decor, from ultra-modern to classical designs.
  • Maintenance: Maintaining a washable rug is very easy, they are easier to vacuum and can simply be thrown in the washing machine when really dirty.
  • Non-Slip Rubber Backing: Majority of the washable rugs have a rubber backing that does not slip. That means they are a lot safer, especially in places with high traffic like the kitchen. Slip resistance also helps them to hold their shape and resist curling or bending at the edges.
  • Lower Pile Height and Lighter Weight: by being lighter in weight, they are easier to move, clean and service; ideal for the aged or people with mobility issues.


  • Lower Pile Height and Ligher Weight: Yes I know this is in the advantages also however lighter rugs can bunch up more easily, even with a non-slip backing and as such may need to be readjusted more often.
  • Potential for Fading: Due to the severity of the washing procedure, there may be some fading in the dyes utilized within the machine washable rug. Lower value rug products tend to experience more rapid loss of visual performance and color.
  • Limited Lifespan: Machine washable rugs overall can be washed 5-10 times depending on the quality before they begin to break down. Even though they are not washed every week, the repeated washing every 6 months to one year reduces their lifespan and makes them look faded in the deal.
  • Tend to be Less Durable: Due to their construction and being washed in the washing machine these rugs can sometimes be less durable than traditional rugs.