Do Rugs Stretch Or Shrink Over Time? (Explained)

Since a rug is usually placed in living rooms where most foot traffic is happening, it would require to be cleaned frequently. When cleaning the rug, you’d want to take some precautions to preserve its quality. 

Rug shrinkage is unavoidable—some slight – a fraction of an inch, some a lot – inches:

Here’s Why Rugs Shrink Over Time but Do Not Stretch:

Fibers and fabrics must be kept tight for the machines to work during the spinning and weaving process. Warp yarns are kept taut on the loom while weaving a rug. Fibers and fabrics stretch and stay stretched until they get wet. When it starts to shrink, it’s known as “relaxation shrinkage.”

What Type of Rug will Shrink or Stretch the Least?

The amount of shrinkage expected is determined by the rug’s construction and backing fibers. The type of backing fiber used causes the most shrinkage, which is also affected by the density of the fibers’ faces.

Typically, two types of rugs are prone to shrinkage after cleaning:

Wool/Jute Rugs:

The first is a rug with a wool face and a jute back layer interwoven with wool fibers.

When the jute is wet, the rug can shrink, causing the foundation to shrink and damaging the entire rug.

Polypropylene/Jute Rugs:

The other type of rug that may shrink is made of polypropylene fiber and has a jute backing. Because polypropylene cannot hold any water, the water will pass through the fibers and down to the jute in the event of a leak or water exposure. 

As a result, the rug shrinks. If you have one of these rugs, make sure it is thoroughly inspected before the cleaners begin their work.

Alternatively, the shrinkage could result from the cleaning crew using far more spray than was required before the cleaning. 

This spray can seep into the jute and cause the rug to shrink even more. This causes the jute to swell, expand, and shrink due to the stress.

Can You Prevent a Rug from SHRINKING over Time?

The best way to keep your rugs from shrinking is to be careful when hiring a cleaning service. 

A well-trained company always checks to see if the carpet can be cleaned with their particular methods and tools. If you’re not sure, ask them to check it out before the cleaning.

Apart from hiring professionals, be cautious about what you use to clean your rug before they arrive. Some homeowners will attempt to remove the stain from their carpets using various cleaning products before giving up and calling in professionals when it comes to stains. 

Mixing products or using harsh products, in general, can damage your rug fibers, so be cautious.

Can You Prevent a Rug From STRETCHING over Time?

Rugs do not stretch with time, as previously stated.

They are more susceptible to wear and tear, and if exposed to direct sunlight, they fade quickly. Avoid this by rotating them every three months.

They are also prone to wrinkle and buckle if not appropriately handled by professional cleaners.

As part of the wearing-in process, new rugs frequently shed loose fibers. This will eventually stop, especially after they’ve been vacuumed a few times.

Shedding is more common in some rugs than in others. Some loose, long fibers called “sprouts” may appear above the rug’s surface and can be trimmed with scissors to even out the pile.

Will a Rug Shrink When Washed?

The most common cause of rug shrinkage is excessive soaking.

Some cleaning companies may encounter difficulties with deep stains, and they will attempt to remove them by prolonging the cleaning process or using more soap and water.

Even with synthetic materials like nylon, too much water can cause shrinking if the moisture removal system is not maintained correctly.

On the other hand, some traditional steam cleaners use hot water and shampoos. While this system effectively removes dirt, it causes more problems than it solves. Too hot water, for example, can cause carpet fibers to shrink.

However, if you wash it with a cool gentle wash and air dry it, it will shrink less than if you wash it in hot water and air dry it.

Can you Stretch a Rug Intentionally?

Your rug may need to be stretched if there are places where it bunches, waves, or wrinkles, and you can’t just move the rug to smooth them out.

When you stretch a rug, it pushes the fibers back out to lay flat. Laying the rug flat prevents wrinkles.

Wrinkles and bunches increase the likelihood of the rug being torn and the likelihood of someone tripping and being injured. Stretching your rug may make it safer for people to walk upon.


The Cause of Rug Shrinkage

How to Flatten an Area Rug

RUG CARE – Rug Care & Common Characteristics