Outdoor Rugs: Everything You Need to Know

From cozy seating around a fire pit to full-service outdoor kitchens and dining areas, today’s backyard living spaces are diverse.

As we spend more time with our loved ones at home, our backyards need to be more functional and weatherproof.

Choosing outdoor rugs for your deck or patio may make you wonder if they can withstand wetness.

The answer depends on the type of rug you purchase, its material, and how much rain exposure you anticipate.

Get all the details here on how to keep your outdoor rug clean and mold- and mildew-resistant by reading further.

Why consider an outdoor rug?

You can spruce up your back patio, deck, or grassy area with the right color and pattern of an outdoor rug.

Or perhaps you’ve built a new deck in your backyard and are looking for accessories to personalize the space.

An outdoor rug can serve as both a rug and a mat! A comfortable place to walk barefoot while also adding to the aesthetics of your backyard.

The softness of a rug complements the hard surfaces in a backyard, whether they are wood, stone, or brick.

When used outside, these rugs are designed to withstand a certain amount of moisture and are simple to maintain.

Consider using an outdoor rug runner to create a dirt-free walkway through a breezeway, a lounge seating area, or an outdoor dining area.

When you decide to add an outdoor rug to your backyard, you can create a unique ambiance and add visual interest.


Yes, you can leave your outdoor rug out in the elements.

There are, of course, a number of variables that could affect this question.

Outdoor carpets come in a wide variety of styles and materials.


Outdoor rugs made of natural fibers are susceptible to mold if they are not properly cared for.

Mold and mildew are less likely to grow on synthetic rugs, making them a better option for an outdoor rug.

Even synthetic rugs, if left wet for an extended period of time, can develop mildew and mold growth.


Avoiding moisture is the best way to keep an outdoor rug from molding.

Any kind of precipitation—rain or snow or heavy dew—is included here.

We all know, however, that if you have an outdoor rug, it is next to impossible to avoid moisture!

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Choosing a rug made of synthetic fibers will help you avoid mold growth on your outdoor rug the most effectively.

Polypropylene is the most mildew-resistant outdoor rug fiber.


While choosing a rug made of polypropylene, which is naturally waterproof, is the best option, sometimes you’ll need to waterproof a rug that you already own.

Waterproofing an outdoor rug may be possible with Scotchgard Outdoor Watershield.

This is not meant for outdoor rugs or carpets, but rather for outdoor textiles.

However, I haven’t tried this on rugs that aren’t water-resistant.

Choosing the right outdoor rug

In addition to the design, size, pattern, and color of the outdoor rug, the primary consideration is the material itself.

In addition to natural fibers, you can also choose from synthetic textiles and engineered materials when it comes to your clothing.

Natural fiber outdoor rugs

As a result, natural fiber rugs are an excellent choice, as they are made from materials that were once found in the wild.

Seagrass, sisal, and bamboo are just a few of the natural fibers that can be found in these products.

To be clear, this list excludes natural fibers like cotton and wool. As a result, these two materials are only appropriate for use in indoor rugs.

In the presence of rain, cotton is extremely absorbent, causing it to warp and even disintegrate.

Long-term exposure to water can cause wool rugs to shrink or develop mildew or rot, causing them to be completely destroyed.

Outdoor rugs are often made from rough, coarse-textured natural materials like grass, bark, and twigs. In particular, the seagrass and bamboo rugs.

This means that bare feet will feel a little rough on them. Jute or sisal are excellent options if you want a natural rug that is softer.

They can have a soft wool-like feel to them, depending on how they are woven.

It’s hard to go wrong with natural rugs when you want to give your outdoor space a homey, organic feel.

Sisal and jute outdoor rugs are more susceptible to wear and tear than synthetic rugs.

For outdoor events, bamboo and seagrass are excellent options, as they can withstand the elements without losing their natural beauty.

Can outdoor rugs get wet? – Natural fibers

Covered outdoor areas like a breezeway, porch, all-seasons room or covered deck are ideal for natural fiber outdoor rugs, especially those made of jute or sisal.

Natural fiber rugs are susceptible to mildew when exposed to moisture, so it’s important to keep that in mind when cleaning them.

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The discoloration, odor, and decomposition of the rug are all caused by mildew.

Synthetic outdoor rugs, such as those used around pools or in the backyard, are the best choice for these types of locations.

Outdoor rugs made of synthetics

Polypropylene, nylon, olefin, and polyester are some of the most durable synthetic fibers for outdoor rugs.

Depending on the level of craftsmanship, these rugs are virtually indestructible and can last for decades.

Choosing nylon outdoor rugs for high-traffic areas is the most expensive and the most durable.

Nylon rugs should be treated with a stain-resistant spray before being used outside.

With polyester and polypropylene outdoor rugs, you’ll be able to take whatever your family and friends can throw at them.

These rugs come in a wide variety of attractive patterns, are reasonably priced, and are stain-resistant.

In terms of durability and stain resistance, Olefin outdoor rugs outperform their polyester counterparts.

They are mildew-resistant and fade-resistant rugs at a reasonable cost.

Can outdoor rugs get wet? – Synthetic materials

Synthetic fibers are often tightly woven with water-resistant fibers.

They’ll be fine in a spring shower or a light summer downpour, too.

Sun-drying synthetic outdoor rugs on both sides after heavy rain is recommended.

Mold colonies can grow under rugs that sit on top of wet surfaces for long periods of time, so you may want to move the rug to allow the floor to dry completely.

As you can see in the photo below, a portion of our rug that was partially under our patio roof was unable to dry and became moldy.

However, since it was made of synthetic material, we were able to easily remove the stains and debris.

Choose a synthetic-fiber outdoor rug if your climate is particularly humid or wet, or if you anticipate heavy foot traffic in the area.

A synthetic rug was our only option for an outdoor rug exposed to the elements because we live in Florida, which is humid and wet at times.


In order to keep it looking its best, you will need to clean it at some point, regardless of the type of rug material you buy. In particular, if you have children or animals!

Before cleaning your rug, be aware of the type of material it is made of.

How to care for your outdoor rugs

Outdoor rugs can be cared for in a variety of ways to keep them looking great season after season.

Clean up any food or beverage spills right away and apply a spot treatment if necessary.

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It is best to use a product that is specifically designed for your rug’s material when cleaning it.

In addition, shake out smaller rugs frequently and vacuum larger area rugs on a regular basis.

Your family’s eating and drinking habits and the amount of dust and dirt in the air dictate how often you should do this. It could be once a week or once a month.

A good rule of thumb is to wash your outdoor rug once a month to remove dirt, dust, and other debris.

Get your natural fiber rug professionally cleaned in time for the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

This also holds true for more expensive synthetic outdoor rugs, which are long-term purchases.

A weak bleach and dish soap solution will work for solid-colored synthetic rugs; vinegar and water will protect vibrantly colored synthetic rugs.

Keeping your outdoor rug dry is the best way to care for it.

The rug should be allowed to dry completely on one side after heavy rain or a morning with heavy dew, then flipped and moved to another area so that both the rug’s bottom and the ground surface can dry out.

To keep it from fading after the entertaining season is over, roll up your outdoor rug and store it somewhere dry and out of the sun.

When to discard an outdoor rug

If your outdoor rug has become so dirty or faded that it no longer enhances the look of your outdoor space, it’s time to replace it.

The ground beneath synthetic outdoor rugs is susceptible to mold growth if it is left wet for an extended period of time or if you live in an area with high humidity.

A rug that has circular patterns of brown, green, or black stains on it is likely to have mold, mildew, or algae growing on it and should be disposed of or professionally cleaned.

In addition, if the rug smells musty or acidic, mold or mildew may be growing on it.

Those with allergies, children, and pets may be adversely affected by these allergens, so consider either discarding or professionally cleaning the rug before using it again.

It is possible to find outdoor rugs for a very reasonable price.

You should know when to replace them with a new outdoor rug or have them cleaned and sanitized each season because they are going to be exposed to foot traffic, food spills, rain, sun, pests, and biological agents such as mold and mildew.

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