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Can You Put Rugs in the Dryer? (Plus 5 Alternatives to Consider)

Can You Put Rugs in the Dryer? (Plus 5 Alternatives to Consider)
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Rugs look beautiful and they instantly make any space feel warm and welcoming. But that domestic luxury comes at a cost, they soon get soiled and look downtrodden.

Cleaning a rug takes some thorough investigation, on whether or not it can be machine-washed? Is it colorfast? Is the texture affected by the mechanical action? These are some of the essential questions to avoid damaging the rug.

Then, the next process has to be resolved. And the big question is: can you put rugs in the dryer?

In the next sections, we’ll answer that in deep detail.

Are All Rugs Created the Same Way?

You walk into a shop, check out a rug that could be made from jute, silk, wool, sisal, or another material. Most of us think about how these rugs would look in our homes. And maybe how expensive they are!

Few of us pay attention to the cleaning instructions of that material. Here are some of the options you’d come across.

  • Machine-washable rugs
  • Hand-washable rugs
  • Spot-clean rugs
  • Dry-clean only rugs
  • Rubber-backed rugs

So, Can You Put Rugs in a Dryer?

Assuming that you already machine-washed or hand-washed your rug. Can you pop it right into the dryer and get the job done?

Well, that depends.

Rugs That Can Take Tumble Drying

Some rugs are made from resilient fabrics that aren’t affected by mechanical washing or drying. How do we know that? From the label on them of course!

Additionally, they have the right size and fit easily inside the washing machine or dryer. This is pretty much the best-case scenario. In a few hours, your soiled and heavily used rugs come out of the machine as good as new. Probably smelling like roses too.

You can also run an air-dried rug in a tumble dryer if it’s much too wrinkled. A little time in the dryer usually loosens up its fabric and makes it more presentable.

It’s worth mentioning that if you’re going to buy new rugs, then you might want to pick this variety.

Rugs That Can’t Take Tumble Drying

Some rugs are too big. They’re practically impossible to fit into a home drier, even if they can be machine-washed and dried. While others should be kept away from the rough and tumble of the dryer.

Here’s what to do in these situations.

Too Big for a Home Dryer

Rugs that are too big for a home dryer can still be washed and dried mechanically. Handwashing a large rug is pretty hard, and drying it is even harder. Thus, getting creative and finding an automated alternative is necessary.

The most effective solution with big rugs is taking them to a local laundromat. The machines over there are huge, and they’d easily accommodate the oversized rug.

Drying them should be easy, as these machines often have a no-heat drying option. The air-only cycle should get the rug done in about an hour or two.

It’s important to remember that you’d need to balance the load. The large capacity of a commercial washer or dryer requires special attention to weight equalization.

If necessary, you can throw in a few smaller rugs with the large one. That would save your time and effort even more. However, you’d need to make sure that you have someone to help you out with carrying these rugs and transporting them back home.

The Rug Has a Rubber or Plastic Backing

While the previous case resolves nicely with a commercial dryer, the case of the rubber-backed rug isn’t quite as simple.

The heat from the drier often damages the rubber backing. And even if it can take the hot air, the vigorous spinning and tumbling easily crack the rubber. Rugs that come out of the drier with a worn-out layer are unsightly, and can rarely be used for anything.

These rugs should be spot cleaned or hand-washed.

Sensitive Fabric

Some materials shrink, lose their texture, or seep color when they’re machine-washed. Some do these things even with handwashing!

Depending on the type of rug, it would be best to hand-wash, spot-clean, or dry-clean these rugs.

Most often, placing them in the dryer isn’t recommended. However, some hand-washed varieties can be dried mechanically in a dryer. You’d need to check the label for detailed instructions though.

Are There Alternatives for Tumble Drying?

Some people prefer air-drying their rugs instead of popping them into a dryer. Additionally, some rugs can’t be dried in a machine, as it would be damaging to their fabric or backing.

For all these cases, here are some alternatives to get the rugs good and dry, without using machines.

1 – Open Air Drying

Hanging the rugs to dry in the backyard is one of the best options you can opt for. But there’s one little condition here: either keep the rugs away from direct sunlight or make sure that their material wouldn’t be affected by the sun.

That’s because the harsh sunlight can fade the colors of the rug, in addition to decreasing its lifespan.

2 – Drying on a Bathroom Rack

If the rugs are small and not too dense, they can be dried in the bathroom the same way towels are dried.

Some people like to put the rack close to a washing machine or drier to benefit from the dry heat. This is not too beneficial or necessary though.

3 – Drying on a Chair

Putting the rug anywhere inside or outside the house would also work, especially for small to medium-sized rugs.

The important thing is to make sure the room is well ventilated, and away from direct sunlight.

4 – Drying on the Rails of a Porch

North-facing porches usually don’t have strong sun. so the effects of photodegradation aren’t too serious.

Thus, you can make good use of that porch, and leave the rugs on its rails to air dry.

5 – Drying On a Flat Surface

Large rugs are notorious for developing crease lines and even becoming warped if they’re hung to dry. A good solution is to lay them flat on the floor. This should keep them looking glam and prim.

However, leaving a wet surface lacking aeration is an invitation to mold. By the end of the day, the rugs would start smelling odd, to the point that they seem unclean.

To avoid that, just keep turning the rug every hour or so.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining a clean house sometimes feels like a mission impossible! But it doesn’t need to be an overwhelming endeavor.

Actually, a few smart choices can make your life much easier. For example, choosing rugs that you can machine wash and dry.

Still, if you see a silk or wool rug that’s to-die-for, by all means, go and get it. It’ll just be one more trip to the rug cleaner, but a full-time enjoyment of a beautiful thing!