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Can Outdoor Rugs Get Wet?

Rugs can help add style to any space whether it is inside or out. However, when adding a rug to an outdoor area, it’s vital to consider what elements it may be exposed to. Wind, rain, mud, and dirt commonly impact the rug, and depending on the rug’s material, it may not stand up well to those elements. To help you choose your ideal rug, we’ve created a guide on how outdoor rugs react to moisture and how to choose the best material for your home.

Learn More About Outdoor Rugs

  1. Can Outdoor Rugs Get Wet?
  2. Do Outdoor Rugs Get Moldy?
  3. Best Materials for Outdoor Rugs
  4. How do Outdoor Rugs Dry?
  5. How to Care For Outdoor Rugs

Can Outdoor Rugs Get Wet?

Some outdoor area rugs can get wet without the risk of getting moldy or damaged, but other materials do not handle moisture well. Even within rugs that can handle moisture, there are some rugs that do a better job resisting water and stains. For example, polypropylene area rugs are highly recommended for decks, patios, and porches that may be exposed to rain or humidity. If you have an enclosed outdoor area that does not have exposure to rain or heavy sunshine, then you can choose a rug material that handles damp conditions well. Nylon is ideal for shaded outdoor areas since it is easy to clean and stain resistant, but it can get hot when exposed to direct sunlight. 

Ultimately, it is vital to consider the placement of your rug and what elements it is exposed to. If an outdoor rug not designed for rain and snow gets wet, it will easily be damaged and potentially damage the floor beneath it.

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Do Outdoor Rugs Get Moldy?

Any rug used outdoors can grow mold, even ones specifically made for the outdoors. However, outdoor rugs are far more resistant to mold and mildew. With that in mind, simple cleaning and maintenance can keep your outdoor area rug in great shape and keep it from causing illness.

Rugs not well suited for outdoor spaces are prone to grow mold and mildew far quicker than outdoor-approved rugs. Natural fiber rugs are often more likely to grow mildew as moisture and absorbent rug fibers create a perfect climate for mold and mildew to grow. When the rugs grow mold, they may show brown, green, or black stains within the rug’s fibers. A smell is also a clear indication of mold. It is vital to get rid of the mold and mildew to clean the stains and protect the rug, which will break down as mold eats at the rug’s fibers. 

Best Materials for Outdoor Rugs

There are some popular materials used in outdoor rugs thanks to their durability, reaction to moisture, and non-fading fibers. These three materials are the top contenders for outdoor area rugs. 

Polypropylene

  • Polypropylene is the most popular rug material since it is easy to clean, stain resistant, fade-resistant, and able to handle high moisture and foot traffic. These rugs may not be as soft as natural fibers like wool and cotton, but its practicality in outdoor settings is unmatched. Plus, they are very affordable and come in many different designs to suit your aesthetic. 

Polyester 

  • Polyester, like polypropylene, is another synthetic material that works well in outdoor settings. It is fade resistant, durable, and long-lasting. One caveat is that these rugs don’t handle moisture as well as polypropylene rugs do. They are also more prone to stain with oil-based stains (mud in particular), so these rugs are recommended for enclosed decks and patios where they will not be exposed to mud or heavy moisture. 

Nylon 

  • Nylon is heavily recommended for high traffic areas thanks to its durability, ease of cleaning, and stain resistance. It’s a popular material for outdoor rugs because of that durability and how fade-resistant it is. Even so, these rugs are best utilized in shaded areas, since the rug can feel hot beneath your feet if it is placed in direct sunlight.
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How do Outdoor Rugs Dry?

Even if your outdoor rug is able to handle heavy rain and moisture, it is still important to intentionally dry your rug. This basic way of caring for your rug lessens the chance of mold growing in your rug. Fortunately, the simplicity continues on with the method of drying the rug: simply hang it on a washline or let it dry in the sun to remove all the moisture. If you do leave it lying on the ground to dry, be sure to flip the rug over and let thoroughly dry on both sides of the rug. 

Prevention is another ideal way to take care of your rugs: if you are expecting a heavy rainstorm or snow, simply bring your rug inside to keep it dry and undamaged.

How to Care For Outdoor Rugs

There are three primary areas to consider when it comes to caring for your outdoor rug: Cleaning, drying, and storing. 

  • Cleaning: The exact cleaning method for your rug will vary depending on which material you chose for the rug. Some rugs are able to handle deep cleaning through power-washers, but other rugs fibers may be damaged by heavy water pressure and deep soaking. Other rugs may benefit from soap and dishwashing liquid, but others may not take kindly to those cleaners. With that in mind, look at your rug’s specific care instructions for surface cleaning and deep cleaning. 
  • Drying: As mentioned above, drying your rug is an essential part of extending its life and preventing mold and mildew. One additional note is to be sure that if you do leave your rug drying in the sun, double check that it is not prone to fading. 
  • Storing: If it is the off season for your deck, patio, or porch, you may not need your rugs to stay outside. Thoroughly dry your rugs, roll them up, and then store them in a space that isn’t exposed to rain, moisture, or high humidity. 
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Outdoor area rugs are approved to stand up against many outdoor elements like rain, sunshine, and dirt, but that does not mean all outdoor rugs are suited for all outdoor spaces. With the details described above, you may now look at your home’s outdoor areas and choose rugs that accent those spaces with their practicality and style.

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