Can You Wash Rugs In The Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Rugs In The Washing Machine

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Yes, you can wash some rugs in the washing machine, but it depends on the materials used.

Rugs are a versatile and essential element in interior décor, adding warmth and character to our living spaces. Over time, however, rugs can accumulate dirt, dust, and stains, leading to the question of how to effectively clean them. With the convenience of modern appliances, it’s natural to wonder if tossing your rug into the washing machine is a viable solution. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of rug cleaning, exploring whether your trusty washing machine can be enlisted for this task, dos and don’ts, step-by-step washing instructions, materials that can’t be machine-washed, alternative methods, and valuable insights to ensure your rugs remain both clean and vibrant.

Dos and don’ts of When Washing Rugs In Washing Machine


  • Check the Label: Before attempting to wash any rug, always read the care label or manufacturer’s instructions. This provides crucial information about the rug’s material and appropriate cleaning methods.
  • Choose Suitable Rugs: Rugs made of natural fibers such as cotton, wool, and certain synthetic materials like acrylic are generally safe to wash in the machine. Small, lightweight rugs also tend to fare well.
  • Prep the Rug: Shake or vacuum the rug to remove loose dirt and debris before placing it in the washing machine.
  • Use a Gentle Cycle: Opt for a gentle or delicate cycle to minimize agitation and prevent potential damage.
  • Mild Detergent: Use a mild laundry detergent to ensure a thorough yet gentle clean. Excessively strong detergents may harm delicate fibers.
  • Cold Water: Wash the rug in cold water to prevent color fading or shrinkage.
  • Air Dry: After washing, allow the rug to air dry thoroughly. Hanging it outdoors or laying it flat is recommended.


  • Avoid Hot Water: Hot water can cause rugs to shrink, distort, or lose color. Stick to cold water to maintain the rug’s integrity.
  • Say No to Bleach: Bleach can damage rug fibers and alter their colors. Avoid using bleach or any harsh chemicals.
  • Skip the Spin Cycle: While spinning helps remove excess water, high-speed spinning can potentially damage the rug’s fibers or backing. Opt for a lower spin speed.
  • Tackle Large Rugs: Extremely large or heavy rugs might not fit or be suitable for machine washing due to their size and weight.
  • Forget About the Rug’s Backing: Rugs with rubber or latex backings may not fare well in the washing machine, as the backing can disintegrate or cause the rug to become misshapen.

Steps to Wash Rugs in the Washing Machine:

Step 1 Preparation:

Shake, vacuum, or brush the rug to remove loose dirt and debris.

Step 2 Check the Label:

Read the care label for washing instructions and material specifications.

Step 3 Spot Treatment:

Treat any stains or spots before washing.

Step 4 Select the Right Cycle:

Choose a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine.

Step 5 Use Cold Water:

Opt for cold water to prevent color fading or shrinkage.

Step 6 Add Mild Detergent:

Pour a small amount of mild laundry detergent into the machine.

Step 7 Load the Rug:

Place the rug in the machine, ensuring it has enough space to move freely.

Step 8 Avoid Overloading:

Avoid washing too many rugs at once to allow for proper cleaning.

Step 9 Limit Agitation:

Set the machine to a low agitation setting to prevent excessive stress on the rug.

Step 10 Air Dry:

After washing, hang the rug outdoors or lay it flat to air dry completely.

Materials of Rugs That Cannot Be Washed in the Machine:

While many rugs can handle machine washing, some materials are better suited for alternative cleaning methods due to their delicate nature:

  • Silk: Silk rugs are sensitive to water and should not be machine washed.
  • Jute: Jute rugs can lose their shape and texture if machine washed.
  • Sisal: Sisal rugs can absorb water and become distorted in the washing machine.
  • Cowhide: Cowhide rugs are not suitable for machine washing and require specialized care.
  • Antique or Delicate Rugs: Rugs with intricate patterns, delicate fibers, or those with historical value should not be machine washed.

Alternative Washing Methods:

For rugs that cannot be machine washed, consider the following alternatives:

  • Professional Cleaning: Seek the services of a professional rug cleaner who specializes in delicate materials.
  • Spot Cleaning: Address stains and spots using a gentle cleaning solution and a clean cloth.
  • Vacuuming: Regular vacuuming helps maintain rug cleanliness and prevents dirt buildup.
  • Outdoor Beating: For smaller rugs, take them outdoors and beat them gently to remove dirt and dust.
  • Steam Cleaning: Some rugs can be steam cleaned, but be sure to follow manufacturer guidelines.

Final Words:

Machine washing rugs can be a practical solution for maintaining cleanliness and freshness, but it’s essential to be mindful of the rug’s material and care instructions. By following proper dos and don’ts and adhering to step-by-step guidelines, you can enjoy the convenience of a clean rug without compromising its quality. When in doubt, always prioritize the longevity and integrity of your rugs by considering alternative washing methods or seeking professional assistance.


Can all rugs be washed in a washing machine?

Answer: No, not all rugs can be washed in a washing machine. The suitability depends on the rug’s material and care instructions.

Can I use hot water to wash rugs in the machine?

Answer: It’s best to use cold water to prevent color fading, shrinkage, or damage to the rug’s fibers.

Can I use bleach to clean my rugs in the washing machine?

Answer: No, bleach can harm the rug’s fibers and alter its colors. Stick to mild detergents.

Are large rugs suitable for machine washing?

Answer: Extremely large or heavy rugs may not be suitable for machine washing due to size and weight constraints.

Can silk rugs be machine washed?

Answer: Silk rugs are sensitive to water and should not be machine washed.

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