Can Area Rugs go in the Washer?

One of the most frequently asked questions from homeowners regarding rug maintenance is whether or not they can put them in the washing machine. Unfortunately, putting your rug in the washing machine isn’t as simple or as convenient as you might think.

In this post, we will share with you what are the risks of doing this practice and what is our recommendation as professional rug cleaners for over 46 years!

What are the risks you are exposed to?

Area rugs are beautiful additions to any home and can add a cozy touch to any room. But like all textiles, proper care is essential to keep them looking their best. While many homeowners may be tempted to throw their area rugs into the washer from time to time, this isn’t always the safest option.

One of the most important reasons why it is dangerous to use your washing machine to wash your rug is because they are not designed to handle the weight of a wet rug. Some very small rugs may be fine in the washing machine (if they are not delicate in any way) but, any rug over a certain size when wet will be very heavy. If the washing machine can run a spin cycle without becoming unbalanced or damaged, it may not be able to spin enough to remove much water from the carpet.

Apart from this, there are other risks you are exposed to:

  • Fading/Bleeding
  • Ruining design
  • Fibres damage
  • Discoloration

Any one of these damages could lead to the biggest damage of all, which is having to replace your area rug much sooner than it could last.

So… should I put my area rug in the washing machine?

From Aero Carpet Services LTD and based on our years of experience, we recommend that area rugs should never go in the washer. This is because in many cases, once an area rug has been damaged by a washing machine, it is much more difficult for the professionals to repair it as the damage may be permanent.

However, if you decide at your own risk that you want to wash your rug we suggest that you only do so if:

  • It is a small/slightly heavy rug
  • It is a rug that is made to be washed such as Ruggable rugs
  • It is a rug that has a small value and is not delicate in any way

You may be wondering if professional cleaners don’t use washing machines or similar processes to wash rugs and you’re right! We do use similar processes, but the big difference is the training and experience of our professionals and the fact that they clean your rugs in a professional washing plant with all the products and equipment for rug washing. The process of professional rug cleaning requires a lot of training and knowledge and depending on the rug can extend from hours to days to even weeks if it needs any extra treatments.

How is a complete area rug cleaning process?

Measure and inspect

Before starting to use any machine, tool or product, our technicians carry out a thorough analysis: measurement, verification of the fabric, and finally, analysis of damage and stains.  Once they have all the information, they proceed with the cleaning.

Rug dusting

With this machine, which would be the professional version of shaking your rug before introducing it in a washing machine, we can remove in a few seconds the most ingrained dust in the fibres of your rug. We do not do this with all rugs as depending on the fabric, it can cause damage.

Soak in the rug

We place the rug in our rug tub so that it can be thoroughly wetted, removing dirt and extra dye in cases of bleeding. As with the rug dusting, it is not advisable for all rugs and sometimes this is done with a hose only, adjusting it to the required power.

area rug washer

Pre-treat stains

This step sometimes goes before soaking the rug and sometimes after or even happens several times between processes. When there is a stain on the area rug, different products must be applied to neutralize the pH in order to remove the stain. This process should only be done by professional carpet cleaners, as the use of inappropriate products can cause permanent damage to your carpet.

Shampooing the rug

The rug scrubber is one of our favourite machines and we love to share videos of the process in our Instagram (go check them out after reading this post!). Again, this process cannot be done with all rugs as many manufacturers recommend not to use it to avoid ruining the design. This is why it is important to always take into account the specifications of each rug.

Fringe treatment

If your area rug has fringes, we will give it a special treatment to renew them and make them look shiny again!! We do it by hand, first we apply the product and then we wash it off with pressurized water.

Rinse and Squeege rug

We rinse the remaining shampoo from the rest of the rug with hoses using different pressures and after that, we use different tools in order to remove as much water as possible until the next step.

Centrifuge machine

The drying process is one of the most crucial parts of rug cleaning process. Therefore, apart from using different tools to remove the maximum amount of water, we also use a centrifuge machine that removes 90% of the remaining water.

Hang rug

We hang your rug for a whole day on our hangers accompanied by high-powered fans to make sure it is completely dry.

area rug drying in rug plant


Sometimes it is not possible to appreciate the results until the rug is completely dry. That is why we always check the final appearance to see if there are any stubborn stains that have resisted and if so, we will treat them again.

Groom/Vacuum rug

Before wrapping the rug, we groom or vacuum to remove any remaining particles.

This explained process would be a general rug cleaning process. For Teflon, pet urine or moth treatments, different steps would have to be added, as would be the case for more delicate fabrics or stains.

How to clean an area rug at home?

The best thing you can do to keep your area rugs in good condition and free of dust and dirt is to vacuum it frequently and act quickly when stains happen. To treat spills and prevent them from becoming permanent,  the safest thing to do is blot to absorb the stain with a clean white towel and then call us at (604) 321-7440 and our rug cleaning experts will advise you on the best practice.

In summary, while throwing area rugs into the washer might seem like a great solution for getting them clean, it can do more harm than good over time. Having your rug professionally cleaned once every 12-18 months is your best bet to preserve its original beauty and keep it looking amazing for years to come! Don’t hesitate to contact us if your area rug needs a refresh, you can simply ask for a free quote here.