Rug Storage Tips: 6 Tips for Storing Rugs and Carpet

Stored area rugs can lose their shape, attract pests and accumulate odors if they’re not put away correctly. To keep your rug safe and protected, follow these steps to prepare it for storage.

Stored area rugs can lose their shape, attract pests and accumulate odors if they’re not put away correctly. 

To keep your rug safe and protected, follow these steps to prepare it for storage.

1. Clean the rug thoroughly

To start the rug storage process, give the rug a good vacuuming. Use a good-quality vacuum to ensure you lift as much dander, dust and other microscopic particles as possible. For some valuable area rugs, you’ll need to be much more careful with the vacuum so you don’t ruin the delicate weaving.

Once you’re done vacuuming, clean the rug based on the manufacturer’s specifications. Different cleaning methods may apply depending on the material and make of the rug. First, check the label, then proceed with any of the following methods.

  • Woven or braided rugs.

If small braided rugs are washable, place them in a zippered mesh laundry bag and wash them on the gentle cycle and tumble dry on a low setting.

  • For large braided rugs, place them on a concrete or vinyl floor. Sponge clean the rug with carpet cleaning foam, rubbing it in according to the directions. Finishby rinsing or vacuuming.
  • Handmade, hand-knotted, antique and oriental rugs

Protect your delicate vintage or antique rugs by placing a piece of nylon screen over the rug, and then vacuuming over the screen.

  • Coir, sisal, rush and grass rugs.

These natural fiber rugs allow a lot of dirt to sift through to the floor, so be sure to vacuum them regularly.

To clean the rug, scrub any stains with a soft brush and soapy water. Place a plastic cloth beneath it to protect the floor. Blot dry, and use a fan or dryer to speed up the drying process, since water will weaken the fibers.

Some of these rugs are made in squares and are then sewn together. By buying a few extra squares, you can hand-stitch new swatches into the rug if a spot gets ruined.

  • Fur, sheepskin and hair-on hides.

To clean these rugs, shake unscented talcum powder on them and then leave it alone for a few hours.

Then, brush the powder through the hair and shake it out, repeating the process several times.

2. Protect the rug from moths and other insects

If you need to store an area rug in a basement, attic or garage, make sure you take extra care to protect it from moths and insects. Apply an insect and moth repellent that is specially designed for fabrics.

3. Tightly roll the rug for storage

Never fold a rug or carpet! Folding can lead to creases, cracks and other damage. Instead, roll the carpet into an even cylinder.

To determine which way to roll your rug, decide which is more fragile: the back of the rug or the pile where the fibers are. In general, the pile is more delicate, meaning you should roll your rug with the pile facing inward.

4. Wrap the rug in a protective fabric

Wrapping a rug is especially helpful if you need to transport or ship it. This extra layer of protection will help keep out bugs, dirt and other elements that can damage the delicate fibers.

How to wrap a rug in a breathable fabric:

  • Finish rolling your rug by wrapping a cotton sheet or muslin around the rug at least one and a half times around to keep it protected. Secure the sheet with cotton or polyester twill tape.
  • If you want expert-level protection, consider wrapping your rug in a polyurethane rug wrap. These rug wraps are designed to provide a superior barrier against dampness and insects and will be more effective than muslin.

Note: Do not use plastic to wrap your rug, since it will keep it from breathing.

5. Store the rug off the ground in a cool, dry environment

When storing your rug, it’s important to keep it in a location off the ground, safe from any harmful elements.

You’ll also want to make sure nothing else lays on top of it. Boxes and other supplies can cause cracks and destroy the rug’s shape. It is vitally important to store your rug in a cool, dry environment without exposure to natural night.

Keep these rug storage tips in mind:

  • Use a fan or dehumidifier to avoid mildew problems.
  • Block light from windows with shades or blinds.
  • Consistently implement a housekeeping plan (vacuuming, dusting, etc.)
  • Store your rug on an elevated surface, since carpet beetles like to reside between the floor and the back of your rug.

6. Unroll and check the rug for signs of damage every few months

To be safe, we also suggest unrolling your rug once a month to make sure there is no evidence of bug infestation. Also, vacuum the area and the rug itself to eliminate any insect-attracting dust.
We offer storage solutions to our clients across Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley with storage units in Chilliwack (Chilliwack U-Lock Mini Storage), South Surrey and White Rock (White Rock U-Lock Mini Storage), Burnaby and Vancouver (Burnaby U-Lock Mini Storage), Victoria (Victoria U-Lock Mini Storage), Nanaimo (Nanaimo U-Lock Mini Storage) and Parksville (Parksville U-Lock Mini Storage).

Rug Storage: 6 Essential Steps

There are a few reasons why you may find yourself needing rug storage. Perhaps you just moved, but have no space for it, inherited a family heirloom, reorganized your space, purchased an awesome find you just couldn’t pass up, or simply do not need an area rug right now. Whatever the reason may be, you will need proper storage. Rugs may not seem all that fragile, but if not stored properly, rugs and carpets crack, warp, or deteriorate from damage caused by moisture, mould and mildew, and bugs.

When preparing your rug for storage, follow these 6 steps:

1. Vacuum your rug

Vacuum both sides of the rug to remove deposited soil, food residue, dust mites, and pet dander. If the rug is small enough, you can take it outside and gently shake it out as well.

2. Wash and Tackle Stains

Always clean your rug based on the manufacturer-approved instruction before putting it into storage. Prevent potential dry rot and warping of the rug by thoroughly cleaning and removing dirt, residue, and contaminants that have nestled into the foundation of the rug. A thorough washing will also ensure that no bugs may be catching a ride with your rug into storage. Tackling stains will depend on your rug:

  • Woven or braided rugs: Small braided rugs and woven rugs can be washed in the washing machine. If there is a label, always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Put the rug into a mesh laundry pouch and wash on the gentle cycle and tumble-dry on a low setting. Large braided carpets that cannot be machine-washed can be cleaned using a cloth and suitable carpet cleaning foam. Or, you may consider having it dry cleaned.
  • Natural fiber rugs (sisal, seagrass, jute, and hemp): Clean with little water because natural fibre rugs absorb moisture, which makes them difficult to dry. If not dried thoroughly, water can leave natural fiber rugs severely damaged as they will shrink and distort. Using a white cloth, spot-clean stains using a gentle cleaner, such as soapy water or cleansing solution made from 1 teaspoon of detergent (without bleach), 1 teaspoon of white vinegar, and lukewarm water. Gently blot the cleaner on the stain and blot the area dry. Use a fan to dry the rug quickly and thoroughly. Always test spot a small area first.
  • Fur and hide rugs: Should be cleaned without water. Cover the rug with an unscented talcum powder and leave it for a couple of hours. You can then gently brush (in the direction of the grain or hair growth) and shake the powder out. Repeat this process several times as needed.  

3. Roll your rug

Do not fold your rug because the undue stress can lead to creases, cracks, or warping in the rug. Instead, roll your rug into a cylinder:

  • To create a tight roll, it is recommended that you roll the rug from the bottom end first. The best way to locate the bottom is to run your hand across the rug and see which direction your hand is moving with the grain and against the grain. Moving with the grain will lead you to the top of the rug and moving against the grain will lead you to the bottom.
  • Pile in or out? The condition of the rug will determine. Generally, the pile is much more vulnerable than the foundation, so most rugs can be safely rolled with the pile inward.

4. Wrap your rug

Before placing your rug into storage, wrap it to protect it against dust and to keep bugs out. Use brown craft paper or Tyvek paper. Both breathe and allow moisture to escape. Do not use plastic, it does not breathe and traps moisture, which can damage natural fibers and cause odor problems.

5. Store your rug

It is best to store carpets off the floor and vertically on end in a climate-controlled space. To avoid cracks in the foundation or damage to the shape of the rug, do not lay anything on top of the rug.

6. Check your rug

If possible, try to check your rug every couple of months. Unroll your rug and inspect it for signs of damage or evidence of infestation. Checking on your rug regularly is the best step you can take to prevent potential damage.

There you have it! Follow these 6 essential steps and you can make sure your rug stays in great condition until you are ready for it again.