How to Prepare a Rug for Long Term Storage

cat enjoying a comfy rug

The goal when storing a rug for a long period of time is to preserve its shape, texture, appearance and overall integrity. Ideally, you will later remove the rug from storage and it will look and feel the same as it does today. To get those results, you must put in the time and effort to properly prepare the rug. This process starts with selecting the best storage unit and ends with proper placement for long-term protection.

Planning for Rug Storage

Excessive heat or extreme cold can damage the fibers and change the shape and texture of a rug, so select a climate-controlled storage unit. This should also prevent moisture in the air that could cause a problem with mold or mildew in or around the rug.

Make sure that your chosen unit is tall enough to allow upright storage of the rug. If this is impossible for a large rug, make sure that you can lean the rug so that it isn’t completely flat. Ideally, you will also position the rug off the floor, so think about ways to achieve at least a couple inches of elevation within the unit.

Preparing Your Rug for Storage

Dirt, pet dander, dust and other small particles can hide between the fibers of a rug regardless of the material. That debris can break down while the rug is in storage, damaging the fibers. That is why the long-term rug storage process starts with vacuuming both sides of the rug.

Most people don’t think to flip the rug over and sweep the backing, but that’s an important step that you don’t want to skip. If you can place the rug on a raised service or piece of fencing, it will prevent debris from falling back into the rug as you vacuum.

The next step is a deep wet clean. This process varies, depending on the type of fiber and backing used to create your rug. If you can’t find manufacturer instructions, it’s best to hire a professional with experience cleaning all types of rugs. You may also want to hire a professional if you have a large rug that isn’t easy to wet, scrub and dry.

After cleaning, allow the rug to dry thoroughly. Even a slightly damp rug can grow mold or mildew, which will destroy your rug and impact the environment of your storage unit.

It’s often recommended that you spray the rug with an insecticide, but that introduces acidic chemicals to the rug that may damage some fibers during storage. Insecticides are only necessary for natural fibers, and a blend of vinegar and water is better than a store-bought insecticide if you decide to use this optional step.

Finally, roll the rug tightly and secure it with a piece of rope or another material that will form a tight knot. You can buy rug storage bags in many sizes, but canvas, house wrap or paper will work as well. Avoid plastic because it isn’t a breathable material and may increase the risk of damage to your rug. Use a lot of thick, strong tape to ensure the rug is tightly sealed and won’t fall loose.

Storing Your Rug Long Term

If you chose your storage unit correctly, you can now place your rug into the unit in an upright position that is raised at least a couple inches from the floor. Make sure that other items in your storage unit aren’t leaning against or pressing into your rug. This can cause indentations and distortions in the rug’s shape over time. Give the rug a bit of room so that it rolls out just as beautiful as it is today.