Do Rugs Protect The Carpet Underneath? (Explained)

You may want to think twice before using just any rug to protect your carpet. Rugs look great, especially if paired with carpets.

One can argue that the rug acts as a blanket, protecting the carpet underneath from stains, foot traffic, and indentations. On the other hand, rugs might trap dirt or even mold or cause discoloration since they only partially cover the carpet’s parts.

In this regard, you should consider the type of rug you’ll be using before you make a purchase:

Here’s How Rugs Can Protect the Carpet Underneath:

A rug consists of an upper layer, called the pile, and a bottom layer, called the backing. Common rugs are made from water-proof fabrics, like wool or synthetics. These are the most recommended rugs for carpet protection as they are more durable and flexible than other materials.

Do People Generally Use Rugs to Protect Carpets?

Rugs can be put above carpets to prevent the carpet from wearing out. It is a common, inexpensive way to slow down wear and tear on carpets.

This is especially useful in areas where people often walk, typically entryways and hallways.

The sharp soles and heels of shoes can pound a carpet to breakage. A rug can provide a cushion so that the carpet underneath doesn’t absorb the full pressure.

Just a reminder: make sure that the rug you use is not too heavy and moisture-absorbent. A damp rug might become a cause for mold or mildew growth, which you certainly don’t want on your carpet.

Fortunately, most rugs are made from water-repellent materials, and liquids don’t get absorbed quickly. This can help avoid spills and stains from getting through to the carpet or mold forming between the backing and the carpet.

Rug fibers that are great at repelling liquid include wool, animal hides, and synthetics.

If a carpet is too old, cleaning and getting the stains out can be hard. This is where rugs also come in handy. If the carpet has already seen better days, a rug can be a practical (though temporary) way to cover the problem areas.

Can Rugs Protect Carpets From Office Chairs?

It can work, but this depends on the texture and material of the rug.

If your rug is made of soft fabric, you’ll soon find out that office chairs with wheels are not compatible with them at all.

Rugs don’t have a firm hold on the floor. If you roll around on your office chair, your chair’s wheels will frequently get stuck and tug at the rug as you roll.

Furthermore, the rug can bunch up into folds and become a tripping hazard. Either you use rugs with harder piles or an office chair mat.

Office chair mats are made specifically for this purpose. It helps protect the carpet and flooring from dents, scrapes, and spills.

They also help with ease of movement. Mats are smoother and flatter, so there’s less friction between the wheels and the floor.

Mats are pretty straightforward to clean and maintain. A standard vacuum cleaner will do the job.

Still, if office chair mats are not an option, then you can use hard-pile rugs with tight, flat-weaves and synthetic fibers.

Do Area Rugs Protect Carpets?

Area rugs are larger than your average rug, and they are used primarily to beautify a room. They add a bit of pattern and color to make the room more interesting.

In theory, area rugs will help protect your carpet better. The larger the rug, the more its surface area is spread throughout the floor. So an area rug will help keep away dirt and spills from getting into the carpet at a much larger surface.

Area rugs can be expensive, and it may not be a good idea to use a pricey piece of decorative material to catch spills.

However, if you want an area rug to go with your carpet, you may consider a synthetic one.

As mentioned above, synthetic rugs are way cheaper and long-lasting than other materials, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning costs and maintenance. The only caveat is that synthetic piles don’t look as luxurious or comfortable as the other rug fibers.

What Are the Most Common Ways to Protect Carpets?

Carpets will gradually fade from natural and artificial causes as they get older.

You can delay this through common best practices of carpet care:

  1. Frequent vacuuming and cleaning
  2. Lessening sunlight exposure
  3. Regular checks for discoloration
  4. Cleaning air filters regularly, both heating and cooling
  5. Stabilizing room humidity levels

Spots, stains, and prints should be attended to right away and not allowed to sit for an extended period.

There are carpet cleaners available for general use. The fiber and color of the carpet and the type of substance spilled will affect cleaning the carpet properly.

Placing walk-off mats by entryways and other high-traffic areas will also help reduce wear. Use mats with low-pile nylon or olefin, synthetic fibers with great chemical, soil, and stain resistance.

Can Rugs Cause Discoloring on Carpets?

While rugs can help prevent spots and stains from ruining carpets, discoloration is a different story.

Rugs can cause indirect discoloring on carpets. Carpets exposed to a great deal of natural daylight fade quickly. After fading, the carpet can’t be restored to its original color.

When a rug is placed on a carpet in a well-lit area, the carpet the rug covers will fade less. The rug shields the carpet from the sun’s rays, maintaining the carpet’s original color.

Over time, the difference in color between the exposed and covered areas of the carpet will be noticeable.

However, there are some things that you can do to prevent fading. If the room receives a lot of natural light, then it is recommended that you close the windows or cover them with thick drapes.

Another way to maintain the carpet’s color is by regularly cleaning your carpet with a stain-protectant shampoo.

Should You Move a Rug Periodically?

Having your rug moved from time to time can also help lessen fading and discoloration of the carpet.

You can place your rug on one part of the room for a few weeks or months and then place it somewhere else.

Of course, this is not necessary if the room is not always exposed to sunlight.

You can limit the carpet’s exposure to natural light, and you don’t have to worry about too much carpet discoloration.

What Type of Rug Will Work Best to Protect a Carpet?

Rugs made from wool, cotton, and synthetics are great for protecting a carpet.


Wool is preferred for rugs because it has great durability and comfort.

It is a decent water repellant and can drive moisture away from the carpet. It is frequently used for rugs in living rooms, hallways, and rooms with high traffic.

However, some shedding can occur, especially for newer rugs.


Cotton is a versatile material for rugs and is frequently used for flat-weave rugs.

It is inexpensive, comfortable, and easier to clean than wool. The only concern is that cotton is much less durable than wool.


Synthetics include nylon, polyester, and olefin.

Modern synthetic fibers have improved enough to mimic natural ones. Synthetics are easy to clean, durable, and not as expensive as the other types.

Final Thoughts:

A rug is a viable way to protect the carpet under it from spills and stains, but if you need to clean up a mess on the carpet, the rug will only help out so much.

This is not a perfect solution to preserving your carpet for as long as possible, but it’s a good way to delay the inevitable wear and tear.

Finally, it is always recommended that you bring a professional to check it regularly and see if there is anything else needed to make sure you maximize its lifespan.


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