Do Outdoor Rugs Get Moldy?

red outdoor rug underneath wooden patio furniture with white pillows

When you’ve finished your furniture layout in your backyard you may find yourself thinking there’s something missing.  Then you remember you need an outdoor rug.  Outdoor rugs make the living spaces you create outdoors feel cozier and a touch more complete.  However, you may be wondering do outdoor rugs get moldy?  We’ll answer this question as well as give you some care tips for outdoor rugs in this article.

How To Make Sure An Outdoor Rug Won’t Get Moldy

First, it’s important to make sure you purchase a rug designed for outdoor use.  Typically these will be synthetic fiber rugs which are designed to be mold resistant.  Notice they use the word resistant.  This means mold is still possible, and will be a certainty in some conditions.  

The cause of mold in most cases is moisture from rainfall or other means. Many homeowners ask, can outdoor rugs can get wet? The answer is yes, as long as they have the ability to dry out. Lets look into if outdoor rugs usually get moldy.

Do Outdoor Rugs Get Moldy?

If you are wondering do outdoor rugs get moldy, there are some conditions where you can be guaranteed a moldy rug.  If you don’t have full sun on the rug for at least some of the day you may get a moldy rug.  Now if you live in a place like Arizona where it rains infrequently, this may not be a problem.  Generally speaking the air is dry enough there to prevent mold growth. However, if you live in the southeast of the country where the air is humid, you need the sunshine to prevent mold growth.  

Does this mean you cannot have an outdoor rug if you can’t get full sun?  No absolutely not, you’ll simply need to increase frequency of your rug maintenance schedule to prevent mold growth. In most conditions, you’ll want to clean the rug twice a year or so.  This means removing anything sitting on the rug, and carrying it to a place where you can comfortably wash it.  This may be the lawn, or the driveway.  It’ll make a mess much like washing the car will.  

outdoor rug with patio furniture showing that do outdoor rugs get moldy is no unless its wet for too long without drying out

How To Clean An Outdoor Rug

First, you’ll want to make sure you have a mask and protective eyewear.  You don’t want to inhale dust from the rug.  Some may think this is overkill, but we all have masks lying around these days, so why not use them?  Grab some protective gloves and you’re ready to go.

Give the rug a good shake and maybe even beat it with a broom handle.  This will get a lot of the loose dirt off the rug.  

Next, you can give it a good vacuum with an old vacuum cleaner you don’t use indoors.   Since the rug is synthetic fibers, you can use dish soap to clean it.  Mix some dish soap in a bucket with warm water.  

Then, with a large car wash sponge, scrub the rug on both sides.  If you find your rug already has mildew growing on it, you can do a 1:10 diluted bleach treatment on the rug.  Make sure to take additional safety measures into consideration when using bleach.  You don’t want bleach to touch anything you don’t want to change color or your skin.

If you do a diluted bleach treatment, keep in mind you may change the color of the rug.  Sometimes however, this is the best way to clean a rug.  You can also try a non-chlorine cleaner like OxicleanOxiclean can be a great way to clean mildew and just about anything outdoors without the use of bleach.  

Once you’ve given your rug a good long rinse and removed all the soap, bleach, or Oxiclean from the surface, it’s time to dry it out.  How do outdoor rugs get moldy in the first place?  They get wet and don’t dry out.

How To Dry An Outdoor Rug

Place your rug on a dry surface and leave it in the direct sun.  Once it is dry to the touch, flip it over and let it dry out the other side.  Not only are we trying to dry the rug, we are making sure to expose the rug to UltraViolet radiation.  

The radiation from the sun is one of the best ways to kill certain microorganisms which thrive in dark and wet areas.  In fact, it’s not a bad idea to take your rug into the sun after a rainstorm to prevent mold growth from getting any sort of foothold.  

Once your rug is dry it’s time to put it back into place.  However, you may want to hose down the area where you place the rug, scrub it with soap and water, and then either Oxiclean or bleach the concrete or pavers underneath.  

Keep in mind if you had any mildew or mold growing on your rug, the surface of the concrete where you placed the rug in the first place has the beginnings of the next growth waiting to begin.  When answering how do outdoor rugs get moldy, commonly it’s simply from not keeping the rug clean and not letting it dry completely.  

Do Outdoor Rugs Get Moldy Summary

Now you understand that in most cases, outdoor rugs do not get moldy. Most air conditions in the United States suffice for drying out a damp outdoor rug before it can get moldy. However, you should still be sure to use a rug intended for outdoor settings. Next, to avoid the growth of mold completely, wash your rug twice a year. Use our process to make sure you clean it thoroughly and safely.