Rugs can help tie a room’s style together, but they can be extremely time-consuming to clean, especially in high-traffic areas where it’s hard to avoid frequent stains, spills and messes. Washable rugs can help mitigate the stress and cost of cleaning a traditional carpet: Most are machine-washable by definition, which means you won’t have to spend hundreds on a professional cleaner or deep clean the rug yourself using a carpet cleaner. Some manufacturers even use stain-resistant technology and fabrics that can repel liquids for common spills, says Zeynep Mehmetoglu, director of marketing and brand management at Maid Bright.
We spoke to experts about the benefits of washable rugs and what to consider when shopping for one. We also compiled some options based on their guidance and recommendations.
How we picked the best washable rugs
Whether you’re prone to spills or hope to cut down on cleaning time and effort, experts told us a washable rug may be a worthwhile investment. Below, we compiled expert-recommended options to consider, all of which are safe to throw into your washing machine. We also took the following into account:
- Materials: All of the rugs listed are made from water-resistant synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon, which can stand up to the abrasiveness of washing machines, according to our experts.
- Size and design: There’s a washable rug out there that can fit your personal style and the size of your home. Each rug comes in a unique design and offers multiple sizing options to fit most areas of your home (and the size of your washing machine, too).
Best washable rugs to shop
Below, we compiled expert-recommended washable rugs across various price points and use cases. We also included highly rated options.
Best washable rug overall: Ruggable
Our experts are fans of Ruggable’s washable rugs. Mehmetoglu uses Ruggable rugs in high-traffic areas around her home to make cleaning messes easier, especially those caused by her children. “They have many different sizing and design options [and] the instructions are very clear on how to properly care for and maintain your rug,” she says.
All of Ruggable’s rugs come with two pieces: a lightweight rug cover and a non-slip rug pad, which can vary in thickness. The rug cover goes over the pad to help keep it in place. You can vacuum their rug, wash it with mild detergent and dry it on low heat, according to the brand.
Ruggable’s Moroccan Diamond Plush Rug comes in four standard area rug sizes and is both water- and stain-resistant, according to the brand. Former Select editor Morgan Greenwald says her plush rug feels just as soft as when it first arrived, even after putting it through several wash cycles.
Best affordable washable rug: Gorilla Grip
The terms “fur” and “machine-washable” don’t always go hand-in-hand, but this faux fur rug makes it possible — and it’s the most affordable option on this list, too. It’s topped with a layer of soft, warm shag that measures 2 inches high. The rug, which has a 4.4-star average rating from over 16,000 reviews on Amazon, is offered in 20 solid colors and seven sizes, with the largest option measuring 6 feet by 9 feet.
Best washable shag rug: Room Essentials
Kathy Turley, director of marketing at Home Clean Heroes, told us Target offers several high-quality throw rugs on the smaller side “ideal for the bathroom or kitchen.” If you’re looking to add some texture to your floors, this shag rug option — which is exclusive to the retailer — comes in three sizes, ranging from 2.5 feet by 3.8 feet to 7 feet by 10 feet. The brand says the rug is made with skid-resistant materials to prevent it from slipping around on hard floors and it’s available in three colors: Cream, Gray and Pink.
Best patterned washable rug: Ruggable
The Soraya Trellis Sage Rug from Ruggable is both stylish and functional, according to Susan Peters, owner and interior designer for 9108 Designs, who purchased this rug for one of her clients. Like other Ruggable pieces, this rug is machine-washable and stain-resistant, and it comes with a rug cover and non-slip rug pad. This rug is offered as an area rug, runner or circle rug in a variety of sizes to fit almost any space.
Best reversible washable rug: DII
Washable rugs should be cleaned no more than once a month to ensure longevity, experts told us. So, if you’re getting a rug for a highly trafficked area, this reversible rug may be a worthwhile option to cover up any minor spills or messes. You can choose from over 22 different colors and patterns, and the rug comes in multiple sizes that range from 2 feet by 3 feet to 4 feet by 6 feet. It has grips to keep it in place, but a rug liner between flooring is recommended to prevent colors from transferring, according to the brand.
Best multicolor washable rug: Ruggable
If you want to add a pop of color to your living space, Ruggable’s Morris & Co. Blackthorn Forest Green Rug has a combination of copper, deep teal blue, dark turquoise and silver shades. Pamela O’Brien, principal interior designer at Pamela Hope Designs, bought a similarly designed rug for a client’s ranch that “blend[ed] well with the woven rugs in other areas of the home,” and it added color, texture and style as a result, she says. This option comes in a range of sizes up to 9 feet by 12 feet.
What are the benefits of a washable rug?
Washable rugs can be just as visually appealing as traditional rugs, but they provide some additional peace of mind if you’re decorating a busy area of your home or if you have kids and pets.
“While having Persian, silk or brand name carpets is appealing, they are not always easy to take care of in high-traffic areas in your home, especially with pets or children,” says Mehmetoglu.
Most rugs are inherently washable. However, rugs that brand themselves as “washable” can typically be machine-washed, which can save you both time and money. Traditional rugs often need to be sent out to a professional for washing, and that process is ultimately much more expensive than just using your own washer, says Mehmetoglu.
Washing your rugs regularly can also reduce dust and allergens in the air, and control asthma and allergy symptoms year-round, according to Melanie Carver, chief mission officer of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “The carpet fibers and the pad under the carpet can trap and hold particles like dust as well as allergens like dust mites, pet dander, pest debris, and mold spores — when you vacuum or otherwise ‘disturb the carpet,’ it can cause these irritants and allergens to become airborne as well,” says Carver. Regularly washing area rugs in water that is 130 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter can also mitigate these allergens and dust particles, she says.
However, there are some drawbacks: Washable rugs are often thinner, which may make them less durable and cause their corners to curl up over time (a common tripping hazard).
What to consider when buying a washable rug
Before you shop for any rug, you’ll need to make sure it fits in your space, both physically and visually: You’ll want a piece that seamlessly blends with your existing furniture and decor. Below are features to keep in mind while considering washable rug options, including any required maintenance, as well as the material the rug is made of.
Most washable rugs are made with synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, which can more easily stand up to the abrasiveness of washing machines. There are some washable rugs made from natural materials like cotton and wool, but they tend to be more expensive and may not last as long since those materials can’t stand up to multiple washes, according to our experts.
“You’ll want to steer clear of washing any rugs with a jute backing because it tends to absorb water,” says Turley. “Just follow the same guidelines as you would for your clothing — you wouldn’t put a wool sweater in the washing machine, so a wool rug shouldn’t go in, either.”
Not only does your washable rug have to fit in your room, but it also has to fit in your washing machine.
“You will want it to be able to fit in your washer rather than having to send it out to be cleaned or having to go to the laundromat to wash the rug,” says Peters. If you have a small washing machine, you might want to consider two smaller rugs that can be washed independently instead of a single larger rug so as to not overstuff your machine, says Turley.
While washable rugs are meant to be washed, you shouldn’t do so every day (or even every week). Washing your rug once a month should suffice, according to Turley. Ideally, in order to make them last as long as possible and avoid wear and tear, you should consider only washing your rugs when they’re actually dirty or stained — like any other rug, washable rugs can be vacuumed or spot cleaned.
You can typically put machine-washable rugs in the dryer depending on the brand and material, but that may result in damage to the rug fibers and shrinkage, according to our experts. Although it may take a long time for your washable rug to air dry (especially if it’s on the larger side), it’s best if you want to preserve their quality, says Mehmetoglu.
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- Zeynep Mehmetoglu is the director of marketing and brand management at specialized cleaning service Maid Bright.
- Kathy Turley is the director of marketing at home cleaning service Home Clean Heroes.
- Susan Peters is an interior designer and the owner of 9108 Designs in Clifton, Virginia.
- Pamela O’Brien is the principal interior designer at luxury interior design firm Pamela Hope Designs in Houston, Texas.
- Melanie Carver is the chief mission officer of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Why trust Select?
Mili Godio is an updates editor at Select who has covered a variety of home and kitchen topics, including space heaters, stand mixers and meal delivery services. For this story, Godio spoke to five cleaning experts about how to shop for a washable rug and rounded up their recommendations for the best ones to consider.