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A Buyer’s Guide to Washable Rugs - Top 5 Things You Need to Consider

by Sandy Wong March 08, 2021 5 min read

A Buyer’s Guide to Washable Rugs - Top 5 Things You Need to Consider

I still remember the abstract blue and white wool rug that my brother got me as a graduation present many years back.  It was from Ikea and was around $500, which I felt was expensive at the time considering its Ikea.  I had it for well over 10 years and it sure took a beating.  I recall the time when I spilled a bowl of black herbal soup that left a permanent stain on the white section of the rug.  But nothing was worse than the countless pee accidents from West, my pet beagle. 

I always had baking soda and vinegar on hand to soak, dab and deodorize.  But who was I kidding?  Pee is gross and no amount of vinegar or baking soda can give me peace of mind that it’s clean.  So I eventually got rid of it and vowed never to have a rug in my home for as long as I have a dog. 

Of course, this was until I stumbled upon washable rugs.  The discovery was nothing short of liberating!  My poor kids finally had something soft to crawl on rather than hardwood floors (I also didn’t like the idea of playmats made from plastics).  The price point was also extremely reasonable.  And the rest was history, as some of you may know.  I started Rugs by Roo to bring these rugs closer to home and share them with other parents.

The washability factor is so critical especially for those with kids and fur babies at home.  But there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a washable rug for your home that you may not have had to consider when buying a regular rug.  To make things easier, I’ve compiled a list of 5 things that you should consider before deciding on which one to get.  

1.  Does it fit in your washing machine?

Even though some rugs are machine washable, they may be so large they don’t fit in your domestic washing machine.  You may have to bring them to a local laundromat, which adds an extra layer of complexity especially during COVID times.  Or perhaps you live in an apartment and don’t have a full sized washer.  

Before you buy, check the washing capacity of your washing machine.  This information can be easily found on your user manual or a quick google search of your washers’ model number.  Then, check the product description to see what the required washer capacity is for the rug you want.  

2.  Do you have crawling babies?

When companies design washable rugs that are larger than 5’x7’ in size, they start to run into washer capacity limitations.  That is why you will find that for these larger sized rugs, the rug is often designed with less plush and less pile to reduce volume.  The rug is often of a woven canvas-like design rather than a tufted pile design.  If you have a crawling baby and are looking for a ‘soft landing’ for those bums and feet, you might want to grab yourself a smaller rug (4’ x 6’ or smaller) that has a tufted pile and is still machine washable.

3. Washable doesn’t always mean environmental

Recycled rugs made from plastic bottles have been a huge phenomenon over the past couple of years, and for good reason.  Who doesn’t like a rug that saves our planet!  And since most of these rugs are made from recycled plastics, they are also outdoor friendly and “washable”.  You can easily hose them down with your backyard hose and hang them up to dry.

So what’s the problem here?  One of the controversial matters that our team here at Rugs by Roo have been struggling with is the topic of micro plastics.  Micro plastics are very small pieces of plastic that break off of larger plastic products, often during a washing or heating process, and find their way into our aquatic and marine ecosystems.  And unlike larger sized plastic bottles and bags that can be extracted, there is currently no technology to extract micro plastics from our environment once it leaches.  

In our store, while we do carry recycled plastic rugs, we do not recommend them being used inside the house if you have young children or pets as microplastics can be airborne and inhaled into our respiratory system.  While there is currently no evidence that proves they are harmful to our health, we do know for a fact that they are harmful to animals and marine life.  If you want a washable rug inside your home, we always recommend something made from biodegradable and natural fibres such as cotton or wool.

4. How to dry your rug?

We get this question a lot.  “Can I put this rug in the dryer machine?”  The answer is often yes but be prepared for a long drying cycle.  The recommendation is to dry it on low heat to avoid shrinkage.  If you can imagine, a soggy wet rug spun around in a dryer machine set to a low temperature can take a couple of hours.  And should you choose to go the more energy-saving route and air dry it (and you happen to live in the “city of rain!!” like me), be prepared to be rugless for a week.  

While this is a minor inconvenience outweighed by the massive benefits of having a washable rug, it’s something I try to warn our customers about because it may require some planning in case you don’t have the space to air dry a rug for a week.  Of course, you always have the option of spot cleaning, which cuts down on the drying time.

5. What rug pad do you have?

Sometimes you’ll want a rug pad to go underneath your rug for added support and/or to prevent slippage.  Seeing that you are considering a washable rug, you may be expecting messes and spills in your home.  Is your rug pad also mess and spill proof?  Ones made from PVC and natural rubbers are waterproof and work well under these conditions.  However, rug pads made from felt or any other non-washable material would not pair well with its washable counterpart.  When shopping for a washable rug, also consider the washability of the rug pad.

Over the years, innovation and technology has made washable rugs more available and highly sought after.  What used to be a cotton dominated category now includes washable wool and plastics.  And no matter what style or colour you are looking for, it is available as a washable rug.  As you can tell, we are huge fans of washable rugs but we have preferences for some over others, and we hope this helps you make the best selection that fits the needs of you and your family. 

If you found value in this article, feel free to drop us an email at and give us your feedback.  Or if there’s a specific topic you’d like to see covered, let us know so we can serve you better.  We always love hearing from you. 

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