Can You Put A Rug In The Dryer? (What To Avoid)

Area rugs are a great way to add comfort and beauty to your living space, but cleaning them can be a hassle when they get dirty. If your rug is small enough, you may be wondering if you can put them in your washer and dryer to save some energy.

can you put rugs in the dryer

In this article, we’ll tell you what kind of rugs can go in the dryer and how long it will take to dry them. We’ll also discuss which rugs should never go in the dryer and the best way to dry them.

Can You Put Rugs In The Dryer?

You can put ruggable, runner, rubber-backed, memory foam, and cotton rugs in the dryer on a low-delicate setting as long as they are small enough to fit inside your machine. It’s very important to check the label to make sure the heat won’t burn it or shrink the material.

Sheepskin, polyester, polypropylene, fluffy, throw, and wool rugs should never be put in a dryer, they are too delicate and will get damaged and shrink. These types of rugs should be dried on a clothesline instead.

Types Of Rugs You Can Put In The Dryer

There are a few types of rugs that can safely go in the dryer. These are mainly smaller rugs or rugs that are thin enough to easily fit inside your washing machine and your dryer.

Remember to always check the label on your rug to see if it can tolerate heat before throwing it into the dryer.

Ruggable Rugs

Ruggable rugs are excellent for high-traffic areas or homes with pets and small children because they are made specifically with the intention of having people throw them in the washer and dryer to get them clean.

Just make sure you set the dryer to tumble dry low, and your rug will be clean and dry in no time.

Runner Rugs

Since runner rugs are often small and thin, they can usually go into the washer and dryer. Just check the label to make sure the material can withstand heat before drying them.

I always err on the side of caution and use the ultra-delicate air-dry mode with my rugs to avoid damaging them.

Rubber-backed Rugs

Most of the time, rubber-backed rugs like the kind you use as a welcome mat or bath mat are okay to put in the washer and dryer.

Just make sure you use a low heat or air-dry setting on your dryer, so you don’t warp or burn the rubber.

Memory Foam Rugs

You can put memory foam bath mats, welcome mats, and kitchen mats in the dryer as long as you use the air-dry setting.

I wash and dry my bathroom mats this way once a month to keep them looking and smelling fresh, and I have never had a problem with them warping.

Just be sure not to use any heat, as that can cause the rubber on the back of these rugs to warp.

Cotton Rugs

Like cotton bath towels, cotton rugs are durable and can easily withstand a trip through your washer and dryer.

You can safely use the tumble dry setting on low heat with most cotton rugs, but be sure to check the tag just to be certain.

If you can’t find a label or the rug was handmade and doesn’t have a label at all, you can use the air dry setting, so you know you won’t accidentally shrink or warp it.

Types Of Rugs You Cannot Put In The Dryer 

Now that you know what types of rugs can go in the dryer, let’s take a look at the ones that you should never put in the dryer.

rugs to avoid putting in the dryer

Sheepskin Rugs

Never, ever consider putting your sheepskin rug in the dryer. Even without using heat, the dry air inside your machine will crack and dry the delicate animal hide backing of the rug.

It can also make your rug lose a lot of hair and just look awful. Although it may take a few days to dry due to its thickness, sheepskin rugs should always hang on a clothesline to dry.

Be sure to choose a location that isn’t in direct sunlight, as too much sun can cause the skin to crack.

Polyester Rugs

Polyester is a synthetic material that melts when it gets hot. Since this fabric has a relatively low melting point, it’s best to avoid putting it in the dryer, so you don’t ruin it.

You may be able to use the air dry setting on your dryer with a polyester rug, but your best bet is to just hang it on a clothesline to dry instead.

Polypropylene Rugs

Polypropylene is a very delicate synthetic material that should never come in contact with the heat of a dryer.

This fabric is so delicate that even using your dryer on air dry could ruin it. To keep your polypropylene rug looking beautiful, you should dry it on a clothesline instead.

Fluffy Rugs

Although you can put small fluffy rugs in the washing machine, you should never put them in the dryer.

Think of it like a child’s stuffed animal (like Squishmallows)- sometimes, we must wash and dry those as a last resort, but they never look or feel quite the same as they did before.

This is exactly what will happen if you try to put a fluffy rug in the dryer.

Throw Rugs

Most throw rugs are too big to fit in your washer and dryer. Although there are bigger machines at the laundry mat, you should still avoid placing a throw rug in the dryer because it may shrink or become distorted.

The best way to dry these rugs is to hang them on a clothesline.

Wool Rugs

Putting a wool rug in the dryer is almost as bad as putting a sheepskin rug in the dryer.

Although the backing isn’t as fragile, tumbling around in the washer and dryer can cause wool rugs to shed. If you use hot water to wash or hot air to dry, it will also make the wool shrink.

Think about what can happen to a wool sweater in the washer and dryer- an adult sweater can instantly shrink to the size of doll clothes.

If you want to keep your wool rug looking its best, you should spot-treat it with gentle cleaners, then allow it to lay flat to dry.

How Long Does It Take For A Rug To Dry?

The length of time it takes a rug to dry depends on how thick it is and what method you use to dry it. Expect it to take no less than 6 hours to air-dry a thin rug and up to 48 hours for a thick rug.

Will A Rug Shrink In The Dryer?

Yes, rugs can shrink or become distorted in the dryer. That’s why it’s so important to check the label to make sure you can dry them safely.

I always choose to err on the side of caution and use the ultra-delicate air-dry mode with my rugs to avoid burning or warping them.

What’s The Best Way To Dry Carpets And Rugs?

The best way to dry carpets and rugs is to hang them outside on a line. This way, the air can move through them and dry both sides simultaneously.

If you can’t hang them to dry, allowing them to air-dry on the floor is another good option. You can open your windows and turn on a fan to improve ventilation and reduce drying time. Adding extra fans, like a box fan or industrial fan, can also reduce drying time.


Using rugs in your home is a great way to add a pop of color and a little extra comfort to your space.

Over time, however, your rugs will probably get dirty, and you’ll need to wash and dry them. If you have small or thin rugs made from durable materials, you can often throw them in the washer and dryer just like any other item made from the same materials.

If you want to put rugs in a high-traffic area of your home or if you have children or pets that make messes, you should consider purchasing Ruggable rugs.

These rugs are specially made to be easy to clean by using your washer and dryer, extending the life of the rug and allowing you to breathe a little easier the next time your loved one comes running inside with muddy feet.

As with other items, you should always check the tags on your rugs to ensure they can withstand heat before you toss them in the dryer. If your rug is too delicate to put in the dryer, you can hang it on the clothesline to dry instead.

Shauna Stone