Does My Outdoor Furniture Need an Outdoor Rug?

Last updated on April 16th, 2024

Six common questions answered

The best part about the arrival of spring is the reminder that we (many of us, anyway) have back yards. So naturally, thoughts turn to getting the most out of that extra space to start enjoying the fresh air and warmer weather.

You’ve gotten the deck built. Your grill’s assembled. And your outdoor furniture is in place. Now, it’s time to add the final touch to make your outdoor space guest-ready all season: an all-weather outdoor rug.

Why do I need an outdoor rug?

Outdoor rugs are like indoor area rugs. They help bring your seating area together and make it look inviting, creating a more unified space.

It shows an attention to detail, allowing you to create a truly personalized decor for your yard. It has the added value of helping you keep dirt and other outdoor residue outside where it belongs.

In addition, if you’ve spent hundreds of dollars building the perfect deck or patio, you want to protect that investment. A well-constructed outdoor rug helps protect the wood or stone surface from scraping furniture legs.

Tropical-themed outdoor rug on a patio
Outdoor rugs help to pull outdoor furniture together creating a functional and fashionable outdoor oasis

Are outdoor rugs safe from rain?

Most outdoor rugs are made from tightly woven polypropylene or other synthetic fibers that do not absorb water. Not only does this help them withstand spring showers, it also makes them remarkably easy to clean (as we’ll see later.)

Wool and other natural fibers may be great for indoor spaces, but they won’t stand up to rain. Even in covered patio areas, moisture and stray raindrops can still get in. This can lead to mold, mildew, and weakening of the rug’s fibers.

Make sure your rug dries out on top and bottom.

After a heavy rain, after the top has started to dry out, flip the rug and allow the back to dry as well. Since the back is typically synthetic and won’t absorb water, excess moisture should dry up quickly. Make sure water doesn’t get trapped under the rug, especially if you have a wooden deck. The rug should be protected, but mold can collect underneath on the deck if not properly dried.

How do you keep outdoor rugs clean?

An outdoor rug makes cleaning easy. Regular cleaning will keep your rug looking like new, as well as helping it stand up better against regular wear and tear. Vacuuming (without the beater bar) or sweeping effectively removes dust, dirt, and debris. As with indoor rugs, dirt buildup creates more friction on rug fibers and increases normal wear and tear.

To clean spills, you can typically spot-clean with a simple mixture of water and dish soap after scraping up any excess. After cleaning, simply hose the rug down and air-dry the front and back.

Are outdoor rugs resistant to mold and mildew?

Outdoor rugs typically use materials that resist mold and mildew. It’s still a good idea to let rugs dry completely after washing or heavy rain. This helps prevent moisture from getting trapped under the rug or between the fibers.

Moisture can combine with trapped dirt in the rug and cause mold or moss to crop up, which is why regular cleaning is important. If you do find any mildew or fungus, you can remove it by spot cleaning with a vinegar-water mixture.

Bleach can help remove mildew or moss from your rug. Before applying bleach, be sure to check your rug’s care label to avoid permanent damage.

Taking this precaution is important to protect the appearance of your rug. Test a small section of the rug’s corner first, before using bleach on the rest of the rug. Clean the rug on a driveway or other location where you can divert any run-off away from plants or grass.

To prevent moisture build-up, use a rug pad. However, remember to regularly check under the rug to ensure that you properly dry and ventilate it.

Can I leave my outdoor rug out year-round?

If you’re living in Arizona, chances are that your patio is open all year. In some cases, you may have a covered deck or patio that essentially functions as an outdoor living room. But if you live in parts of the world where outdoor entertaining stops when winter comes around, it makes sense to store your rug. While outdoor rugs are weather-resistant, there’s no reason to expose them to the elements when not in use.

geometric outdoor rug on a sheltered balcony

Are outdoor rugs safe for wooden decks?

Outdoor rugs are great for guarding against scuffs and scratches on wooden decks — as well as tile and stonework. As with any rugs, make sure to use a non-skid rug pad, which will help protect the rug from wear and friction caused by shifting underfoot.

In some cases, rug pads can cause damage to a wooden deck depending on the material. Make sure to place rug padding on wood floors with the tacky side facing up to help prevent this.