Can Cotton Rugs Be Used Outdoors? (Solved)

Cotton is a soft and natural material that can be dyed easily.

This is what makes them great for making rugs. Cotton rugs add warmth to any space and are a cheaper alternative to wool rugs. A lot of cotton rugs are made to be reversible which makes them a versatile choice for rugs as home decor.

They are very very affordable, which is why they are a popular choice for rugs. Cotton rugs can be used for both indoor and outdoor areas.

Here is Why Cotton Rugs Are Good for Outdoor Use:

While cotton rugs are soft, they do well outdoors. Cotton rugs are breathable and durable, and they can withstand heavy foot traffic. They may be a popular choice for indoor use, but these rugs can withstand heavy rain and are quite easy to clean in case of dirt or liquid spillage.

Do People Generally Use Cotton Rugs Outdoors?

The rugs that are most commonly used outdoors are those made out of synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and polypropylene. So generally speaking, cotton rugs are not usually the top choice for outdoor rugs.

However, that does not mean that they will not do well outdoors. Cotton rugs can actually withstand rain and heat. Cotton fibers hold dyes very effectively that they are not prone to discoloration in case they get wet or get exposed to extreme heat.

They are quite easy to clean in cases of dirt or liquid spillage. In fact, they are one of the very few rugs that you can just put in the washing machine with cold water and hang to dry so the upkeep is fairly simple.

That being said, it is completely fine to use your cotton rug outdoors.

What About Rugs that are Partly Made of Cotton?

Cotton fibers when blended with other types of fibers can make for better quality rugs, especially if the blends are with synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester.

This means that rugs made with cotton and nylon blend or cotton and polyester blend would perform better outdoors compared to those that are pure cotton.

Can Cotton Rugs Get Wet?

Cotton rugs are extremely absorbent.

When they get exposed to rainwater, they can warp easily but that does not mean that they are destroyed. This is only temporary and they will naturally spring back into shape.

They can definitely get wet. If that happens due to weather, you just need to hang them out to dry or lay them flat, rotating every now and then.

How Long do Cotton Rugs Last Outdoors?

Compared to other rugs especially those made from synthetic materials like nylon and polyester, cotton rugs do not last very long when used outdoors.

Cotton rugs are very absorbent that any liquid spillage tends to dig really deep. Thus they are prone to stains. They are easy to clean though – just put them in the wash with cold water and dry.

They are not as resilient compared to other types of rugs. As previously mentioned, cotton rugs can withstand heavy foot traffic but there are more rugs that can do better.

Cotton rugs, when used outdoors, can last for years but not really for decades – which can be good enough given the fact that cotton rugs are quite affordable.

Here is how you can make your cotton rug last longer:

  • Place a rug pad underneath. This will minimize the impact on your rug, and lessen the wear and tear.
  • Vacuum your cotton rug regularly. Because cotton is very absorbent, it is best to vacuum regularly to catch loose dirt before it settles in the material. Remember to do so in low setting to avoid destroying the rug.
  • You can also take your cotton rug outside and simply shake it off to let loose dust and dirt out.
  • In case of colored liquid spills, blot dry the area immediately using a clean cloth or paper towel so that it absorbs the spilled liquid.
  • In case of any stains, spot-clean them with a small brush dipped in hydrogen peroxide. You can use an old toothbrush for this. Just scrub off the stain until it is gone.
  • Wash your cotton rug periodically in your washing machine if it fits. Make sure to set the washing machine on delicate cycle. Use a gentle detergent and cold water, and hang them to dry.
  • For larger cotton rugs that do not fit in your washing machine, you can actually take them to any laundromat. Most laundromats can clean large rugs, and it would not cost a lot to have them cleaned.
  • Alternatively for larger rugs, you can take a micro fiber cloth dipped in water mixed with detergent and blot it all over your rug. Then rinse it by dipping the cloth in just plain water and blotting all over the rug again. This is more tedious than simply bringing them to the laundromat.
  • Every now and then when it is really sunny, take your cotton rug and hang it outside. This is to kill germs and freshen the rug.

Can you Treat Cotton Rugs to be Suitable for Outdoor Use?

Cotton rugs are perfectly fine on their own to be used outdoors.

However, if you really want to, you can opt to treat it with rug protector spray.

Since cotton rugs are very absorbent, the rug protector spray will help block stains from digging deep and setting in the rug. It will also help keep your rug looking fresh.

What Are the Best Rug Materials for Outdoor Use?

The best rug materials for outdoor use are still synthetic materials.

This is because they are much more durable compared to those that are natural, like cotton.

Here are the best rug materials for outdoor use:

Polyester Rugs:

Polyester rugs are very resilient and durable, with fibers that are flexible and lightweight.

They can easily repel water, so they are quite simple to clean if liquid gets spilled on them. They are also very soft, so they feel good underfoot.

However, polyester rugs are known to shed a lot and have fiber pulls. This makes them prone to wearing out fast. They are affordable and good for outdoor spaces with moderate foot traffic.

Nylon Rugs:

Nylon rugs are one of the most resilient and durable rugs out there, and they are especially great for outdoor use.

They are non-absorbent which means that stains do not settle in deep into the fabric, and that makes the stains very easy to remove. Nylon is elastic, which means it easily retains its shape even in high-traffic areas.

One of the cons of nylon rugs is that they are not bleach-friendly, and can be prone to discoloration. In instances of a deep stain, nylon rugs would require professional cleaning. Nylon rugs are also more expensive compared to other types of rugs.

Polypropylene Rugs:

Polypropylene rugs are probably the best materials out there for outdoor use.

These rugs are lightweight, yet very durable. They can withstand any extreme weather condition.

Polypropylene rugs actually best out the two types of rugs previously mentioned. They are more durable compared to polyester rugs and can definitely last longer. They are also less expensive than nylon rugs, and way easier to clean and maintain.

With all this information, we can conclude that cotton rugs can be used for outdoor spaces. They are very soft and comfortable and can add warmth to a space. They are durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic.

However, cotton rugs do not perform as well as synthetic material rugs. Given that cotton rugs are the more affordable choice, they do not last as long as synthetic rugs do.

So yes, you can use a cotton rug for your outdoor space if you want to, but keep in mind of the cons when you place them outdoors. Also remember that with rugs, better quality always comes at a higher price.


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