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Can You Wash a Rug in the Washing Machine?

Share this expert tip!

An rug generally sees a lot of traffic. There will come a time when vacuuming won’t be sufficient – the rug will need a deeper clean. When you have pets, kids, and “hey we live here” stains ground in, it’s good to know that you can wash a rug in the washing machine if it is small enough.

How to Wash a Small Rug in the Washing Machine

Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to wash a rug in the washing machine.

Step 1: Read Rug Care Label

Periodically, we get asked, “Can you wash a rug with rubber backing?” The answer depends on the rug itself. Read the care tag to see how to wash a rug you plan to put into your washer- the label will give details dos and don’ts regarding caring for your rug.

Did you remove the care label? Don’t worry, most rugs can go in the washer. If you just want to get it done and take your chances, wash the rug on a gentle cycle and it should be fine. *Note: If your rug is expensive or has sentimental value, skip the DIY and have it professionally cleaned to protect its worth.

washing a rug

Step 2: Shake Rug Outside

Shake it off! Shaking the loose dirt and debris out of the rug before you launder it will allow it to come cleaner and will save your washer from excessive sediment needing to be filtered out.

Grab a helper if possible to make the task easier, otherwise bang the rug against a fence, post, or something stationary, or beat the rug with a broom or like object while it hangs securely.

Step 3: Pre-Treat Rug Stains

Here’s the quick and dirty on stains: When life happens, stains happen. The best way to wash rugs is to pre-treat the stains first. Pre-treating your stains will help the rugs get their best clean. Apply your pre-treat product to the stain and agitate the rug fibers- an old toothbrush works great. Leave the stain treatment on for about 15 minutes before loading the rug into the washer.

rug stain remover
Image: Amazon

Step 4: Load the Rug in Washer

Rugs tend to be a heavier weight than most of our regular laundry. You will need to balance the rug so it doesn’t throw the drum around. This can be done by adding a towel or two to distribute the weight as evenly as possible. If you hear knocking while the spin cycle is running, adjust the items in the washer to rebalance the load and resume the cycle.

Step 5: Wash Rug

This is where the rubber meets the rug – wash rug in the washer. Select a gentle/delicate cycle, refrain from using harsh detergents (never use bleach if your rug has a rubber backing), and choose an extra rinse cycle if possible. Oxygen-based products are safe enough for rubber backing and will help brighten up the rug. Yep! That simple.

Step 6: Air Dry Rug

Now that you’re a pro at how to wash a rug in the washing machine, you may be tempted to just throw it in the dryer and be done. Don’t do it! Although rugs hold up the washer pretty well, they don’t like the dryer- especially if they have a rubber backing.

Air dry your rub by hanging it over a chair, fence, or clothesline. Avoid hanging in direct sunlight because the sun may bleach the color fibers.

air dry rug

ServiceCare Appliance & TV Repair is here to help your machine operate at peak performance to make sure those rugs are restored to their original clean!


Toxey McDavid

Owner, Service Care

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