Does My Outdoor Furniture Need an Outdoor Rug?

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.

Once the deck is built, the grill is assembled, and the outdoor furniture is in place, it’s time to think about the extra decorating touches that turn a functional patio into an extravagant, eye-catching outdoor space. That means adding an all-weather outdoor rug.

Why do I need an outdoor rug?

An outdoor rug serves the same purpose as an indoor area rug: it pulls your seating area together into a single, unified space that’s inviting and comfortable.

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.

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 where the seating area is protected, moisture and stray drops of rain can still sneak in, which can lead to mold or mildew, as well as weakening 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 help 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 is important for getting rid of dust, dirt, and debris. As with indoor rugs, accumulating dirt 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?

Typically, outdoor rugs are created from material that’s resistant to mold and mildew. However, it’s still best to thoroughly air-dry rugs after washing or after heavy rains to make sure moisture isn’t 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 get rid of it by spot cleaning with a vinegar-water mixture.

Bleach is usually effective for removing growth such as mildew or moss, but make sure to check with your rug manufacture to see if this will damage the rug’s color. 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.

Using a rug pad will help avoid moisture build-up, but you should still regularly check under the rug to make sure it’s properly dried and ventilated.

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 designed to provide more shelter and create essentially an outdoor living room area. But if you live in parts of the world where you stop entertaining outdoors 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.

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 padding can cause stains or discoloration to wood floors, so make sure to place the pad with the tacky side up.