Outside view of VIDA Building

How to Wash a Throw Rug

Small white dog laying on a throw rug. Image credit: iStock.

October 2023


At VIDA, our apartments and townhomes include a combination of wall-to-wall carpet and designer laminate flooring. That means you probably have a couple of throw rugs in your place. They’re a great way to add a pop of color or texture to your décor. And when placed in doorways or entryways, they stop dirt from being tracked to other rooms. But since they’re often used in high-traffic areas, they tend to get dirty over time.

The good news is that most throw rugs can be washed – and every unit at VIDA includes a washer and dryer! By following a few simple rules, your throw rugs can stand up to regular washing and come out looking as good as new.

Check the Label

Before doing anything, check a rug’s care label. It should indicate how the rug should be washed, what type of soap or detergent should be used, and temperature settings. If you want your rug to last, it’s important to follow those manufacturer instructions.

Shake and Vacuum

Take your rug outside and give it a good shake to remove loose dirt and dust. If you’re machine washing, this will prevent excess dirt from clogging your machine. Then use a vacuum to thoroughly remove any remaining dirt or pet hair.


If your throw rug has stains, it’s a good idea to pretreat them before washing. You can apply a laundry stain remover or detergent mixed with water and scrub with a soft brush. Allow it to sit for several minutes before washing. Just be sure to only use products allowed by the care label.

Choose the Right Washing Method

Machine washing. Most throw rugs can be safely machine washed using a gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent. If you’re washing more than one rug, be sure not to overload your machine. It won’t clean as well and could be damaged.

Hand washing. For delicate or non-machine-washable rugs, hand washing is the best option. Fill a basin or bathtub with cold water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Submerge the rug then gently agitate the water and scrub any soiled areas. Rinse thoroughly with cold water until no detergent residue remains.

Dry clean only. If your rug’s label indicates it should be dry cleaned, you can do some spot cleaning yourself, but a full cleaning will require taking it to a professional.

Drying Your Rug

For many rugs, using your dryer could cause shrinking or damage the backing. If the care label indicates you can use a dryer, opt for a low heat setting. Otherwise, place your rug on a drying rack. If you allow it to dry outside, be careful to avoid direct sunlight, which can cause some colors to fade.