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Waterproofing tips & tricks

Are Outdoor Rugs Waterproof? They’re Water-Resistant

When it comes to sprucing up our outdoor spaces, nothing beats the charm of an outdoor rug. But let’s be real—what about the rain, the occasional spills, or even our furry friends’ mishaps?

Are outdoor rugs truly waterproof superheroes, or is it all just a colorful myth? Let’s dig in and get the scoop on how waterproof these rugs really are!

Are Outdoor Rugs Really Waterproof?

While many outdoor rugs are advertised as “waterproof,” the reality is a bit more nuanced.

Most outdoor rugs are water-resistant to some extent, meaning they can withstand light rain and spills without immediate damage.

However, few are truly 100% waterproof, especially when submerged in water for extended periods.

The level of water resistance varies based on the rug’s materials and design.

Take these factors into account before expecting your outdoor rug to perform miracles during heavy downpours or poolside splashes.

What Are Outdoor Rugs Made Of?

Outdoor rugs are typically made from polypropylene, polyethylene, polyester, bamboo, sisal, jute, and recycled materials.


Polypropylene is one of the most popular materials for outdoor rugs. This synthetic fiber is known for its excellent resistance to water, mold, and UV rays.

It is lightweight, easy to clean, and doesn’t absorb moisture, making it a great choice for outdoor use.


Polyethylene is another synthetic material commonly used in outdoor rugs. It is resistant to water, stains, and fading, making it suitable for exposed outdoor environments.


Polyester outdoor rugs are known for their softness and vibrant colors. They are resistant to fading and mildew, making them a good option for outdoor settings.


Bamboo rugs provide a natural and eco-friendly option for outdoor use.

They are resistant to moisture but may require some maintenance to prevent weathering and discoloration. Keep in mind that bamboo is not waterproof.

Sisal and Jute

Sisal and Jute are two natural fibers that are sometimes used in outdoor rugs.

While they can add a rustic charm to outdoor spaces, they are less resistant to moisture and might require additional treatments to improve water resistance.

A bamboo or sisal rug is more likely to form mildew than a rug made from polypropylene or polyester.

Recycled Materials

Some outdoor rugs are made from recycled plastic, such as recycled PET bottles. These rugs are environmentally friendly, durable, and easy to clean.


Though less common, outdoor rugs made from nylon offer excellent durability and resistance to wear, making them suitable for high-traffic outdoor areas.

What Kind of Rug Is Best for Outdoors?

Polypropylene is one of the best materials for outdoor rugs. Polypropylene is highly water-resistant and can resist fading and damage caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Polypropylene outdoor rugs are generally easy to clean and maintain. These rugs are often more budget-friendly and durable compared to some other materials.

How to Waterproof Outdoor Rugs

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Outdoor rug
  • Waterproofing spray (appropriate for the rug’s material)
  • Outdoor space

Step 1: Clean the Rug

Make sure your outdoor rug is clean and free from any dirt, debris, or stains. You can use a broom, vacuum, or gentle soap and water to remove any grime.

Allow the rug to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Choose the Right Waterproofing Spray

Select a waterproofing spray that is suitable for your rug’s material.

Read the product label to ensure it’s appropriate for outdoor use and compatible with your rug’s fabric or material.

Some common types of waterproofing sprays are silicone-based or fabric-specific.

Step 3: Test a Small Area

Before applying the waterproofing spray to the entire rug, it’s wise to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first.

This way, you can ensure that the spray won’t cause any discoloration or damage to the rug.

Follow the spray’s instructions and allow the test area to dry to assess the results.

Step 4: Apply the Waterproofing Spray

Once you’re confident in the spray’s compatibility with your rug, it’s time to apply it.

Take the rug to an outdoor space to avoid inhaling fumes. Lay the rug flat on the ground, and shake the waterproofing spray well before use.

Hold the spray can about 6-8 inches away from the rug’s surface and apply an even, thin layer of the waterproofing spray.

Make sure to cover the entire rug, including the edges, to ensure uniform protection. Avoid oversaturating any one area.

Step 5: Let it Dry

After applying the waterproofing spray, allow the rug to dry completely. This step is essential to ensure the waterproofing agents bond effectively with the fabric.

Depending on the level of water resistance you desire, you may need to apply a second coat of waterproofing spray.

Once the rug is fully dry, test its waterproofing by sprinkling a small amount of water on its surface. Observe how the water beads up or repels off the rug.

If the water is not absorbed, your waterproofing efforts were successful!

How to Take Care of Your Outdoor Rug

Regular Cleaning

Regularly clean your outdoor rug to remove dirt, leaves, twigs, or other debris and stains. You can use a broom, or vacuum cleaner, or hose it down with water.

For stubborn stains, use a mild detergent and a soft brush for gentle scrubbing.

Don’t use harsh chemicals to clean your outdoor rugs.

Avoid Prolonged Sun Exposure

While outdoor rugs are designed to be UV resistant, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can still cause some fading over time.

To minimize this, place the rug in a shaded area or use a patio umbrella for extra protection.

Protect Your Rug from Rain

Although outdoor rugs are water-resistant, it’s best to bring them indoors during heavy rain or store them under a covered area.

This prevents excess moisture from seeping into the rug and helps it dry faster.

Use a Rug Pad

Place a rug pad under your outdoor rug. A rug pad provides extra cushioning, prevents the rug from slipping, and helps promote air circulation. This aids in drying and prevents mold formation.

Clean Spills Immediately

Accidental spills happen, but it’s essential to clean them up promptly. Blot the spill with a clean cloth or paper towel and gently clean the affected area with water and mild detergent if necessary.

Store During Off-Season

If you live in an area with harsh winters or extreme weather conditions, consider storing your outdoor rug indoors during the off-season to prevent damage and prolong its life.

Can I Use Indoor Rugs Outdoors?

Don’t use indoor rugs outdoors. Indoor rugs are typically made from materials like wool and natural fibers, which are not suitable for outdoor use.

They are not designed to withstand exposure to rainfall, humidity, and other outdoor elements, which can lead to mold, mildew, and deterioration.

Using indoor rugs outdoors may result in irreversible damage, shortening the rug’s lifespan.

Can You Leave Outdoor Rugs Out in the Rain?

While outdoor rugs are designed to be water-resistant and can handle light rain and occasional exposure to moisture, it is generally not recommended to leave them out in heavy rain.

What Happens When Outdoor Rugs Get Wet?

When outdoor rugs get wet, they can absorb moisture, leading to a damp and prolonged drying time. This moisture absorption may result in mold and mildew growth, as well as color fading due to exposure to rain and sunlight.

Additionally, certain natural fiber rugs may be prone to rot and degradation, shortening the overall longevity of the rug.

Wet outdoor rugs can become slippery, posing a slip-and-fall hazard, especially in high-traffic areas.

This is a safety concern, particularly if the rug is near a pool or other wet surfaces.


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