Protecting Rugs & Carpets In Self-Storage

Published on 7/27/2022

Lots of us have area rugs. They’re an inexpensive and flexible alternative to permanent carpeting for those who want some sort of soft surface on their bare floors. Available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors, area rugs make redecorating easy, and they’re easy to remove and install.


As rugs are moved out of rotation — due to seasonal changes or due to changes in preferences — self-storage is a practical and easy solution for getting them out of already-crowded home storage areas, particularly in cases where we’re not quite ready to sell or dispose of them. To that end, we’d like to offer you some useful tips for storing your rugs.


First, prepare your rugs for self-storage with a thorough cleaning. Dirt attracts insects, and mold will damage fibers. For small woven or braided rugs, wash them in a mesh bag on gentle cycle and dry them on low. For larger rugs of this type, place them on a concrete or vinyl floor and sponge-clean them with carpet foam. Rinse according to directions and then vacuum. For antique or Oriental rugs, place a nylon screen over the rug and vacuum over the screen. With Oriental and wool/silk rugs, it’s best to get advice from a rug dealer or expert for actually cleaning them. 


Next, roll your rug to maintain its shape. Never fold a rug or carpet. This leads to creases and damage to the backing. The pile of the rug should face inward during rolling, and use a thick, sturdy curtain rod or wooden dowel to keep your rug straight while rolling.


You can then protect your rug against bugs, dirt and other damage by wrapping them in a cotton sheet, muslin or a polyurethane wrap. With cotton or muslin, wrap it at least one and a half times around the rug and secure it with cotton or polyester twill tape. Never use plastic as a wrap, as it will keep your rug from breathing and lead to mold and mildew.


In storage, place your rugs on pallets to keep them off the ground. Also, store them vertically to help them keep their shape, and don’t lean anything against them. If you follow these steps, from prep to storage, your area rugs and carpets should look as good when you pick them as they did when you dropped them off.