The Best Way To Clean And Store Your Outdoor Rugs For Winter

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Outdoor rugs elevate patios by adding extra color and pattern. They're also ideal for protecting the concrete or wood flooring from high-volume foot traffic during family and friend gatherings. However, when the weather changes, especially as winter rolls around, protecting your rugs from harsh, severe weather like rain and snow is essential. Even if you purchase outdoor rugs made out of durable materials, they should still be stored properly to keep them in good shape. Use a protective fabric cover to prevent pests, dirt, and water from damaging your rugs.

Since outdoor rugs are often oversized, you'll need to find a suitable place to store them in the winter. Dry, cool areas like garages, sheds, or attics are all good places to consider. Avoid areas you know are prone to getting wet from the rain or snow, whether there's a leak or full-blown flooding. Sometimes, a thick, protective cover isn't enough to keep your rug in good condition, so choosing the right spot is crucial. Before stashing away your carpet, cleaning it and finding the perfect protective cover is vital.

Deep cleaning your rug

Prepping your rug with a deep clean will eliminate foul odors from getting trapped inside the fabrics, so when you're ready to use it again, it'll smell clean even after being wrapped up for months during the winter. In addition, you won't need to worry about cleaning it when it comes out of storage. Instead, you'll be able to give a quick vacuum and immediately lay it out on your patio. Typically, outdoor rugs should be deep cleaned frequently if you have many gatherings, or at least once at the end of every season. When you're going to store it away for winter, it definitely needs a deep clean even if you won't be using it again until spring. 

Start by vacuuming the front and back sides of the carpet to remove pest eggs, dirt, and debris. Then, thoroughly wash your rug. If you have a washing machine-safe rug, throw it in the washer after removing all the dirt, gunk, and stains. However, if you can't use the washing machine, you may be able to use a power washer instead. It's perfect for synthetic fabrics, and you can buy one from any retail store. To wash the rug, soak it with water, add soap, wash it down again with the power washer, then let it dry. On the other hand, if you have a rug that's made from natural materials that can't get soaked, simply vacuum and then spot clean the surface.

How to store your outdoor rug

Once you've cleaned your rug, apply a pest and insect repellent to prevent them from invading your carpet. Insects are sneaky and know how to fit through any small opening. They'll find a way to make the rug their home, especially in the winter when your rug is in a dark space. You can buy an insect repellent from any hardware or retail store. Target has a Mighty Mint Insect and Pest Control spray for about $10 that you could apply to your rug.

Then, roll up your rug as tightly as you can with the fibers facing inward. If the rug is more extensive and heavier, you may need some help rolling it. Secure the ends with rope so that it doesn't unfold. Finally, wrap your rug in a protective fabric cover and place it in a cool, dry area like your garage or attic. You want to keep it far away from moist environments or places prone to getting wet from the rain or snow. Amazon has a Rug Storage Bag by McEtt that's made out of durable, clear plastic. Place your rug inside the bag and tie it off with a zip tie. It's about $9 for the large 6 by 9-foot bag, but if you have a larger rug, there's a 9 by 12-foot bag for about $10. Because it has no ventilation holes, it'll help protect your carpet from water, dirt, and bugs.