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How To Pack Up, Move, & Store Your Rugs
July 21, 2019 — No Comments


The physical act of moving is rough no matter how you slice it, and the last thing you want to worry about is damaging your possessions. Of course, worse still is accidentally ruining an important element of your home, like a nice living room rug. Most people don’t know the proper methods to pack and store rugs, so it’s natural that we get a lot of questions on the topic.

Although packing, moving, and storing area rugs are technically three separate things, the basic principles are all the same:

  1. Make sure your rug is properly cleaned
  2. Roll your rug up properly (this can differ for machine vs. handmade rugs)
  3. Make sure your rug is protected from the elements

With that said, let’s get down to the best ways to get your rug ready for shipping or storage.

How To Clean Your Area Rug Before Moving Or Storing 

So you’re moving, doing a home renovation, or just need to pack up your rug (or rugs) for some reason. Where do you start? The absolute first thing you have to do is to clean the rug. This is a total non-negotiable.

Vacuum Your Rug

Roth Rugs - Rug Care

We have preached the benefits of vacuuming before (read more on our spring cleaning and rug care articles) and we have no problem saying it again. Vacuuming is one of the best and easiest ways to extend the life of your rug. This is even more important when it comes to packing up an area rug!

Professionally Clean Your Rug

It might be a good idea to look into having it professionally cleaned if your rug is:

  • On the delicate side
  • High-end or of high value
  • You are not sure how, or don’t have time, to properly clean your rug

We recommend doing some research to find a reputable cleaner in your area. If you are having trouble finding a cleaning service you can trust, contact us! We have might have recommendations for a service in your area or know someone who does.

Do Not Rent In-home Steam Cleaner

We don’t really recommend doing an in-home steam cleaner rental for this (or really ever, we touch on the topic in our Rug Care 101 article) but ultimately, here is why we DON’T love these machines.

  • No way to test if it works
    • There is no way to test in advance how well the machine you are renting works. If there’s any sort of malfunction or issue, it could easily ruin your rug.
  • Without experience, you could ruin your rug
    • If you have little to no experience with one of these, you could easily end up over-wetting or over-soaping your rug. Any residual mold or moisture in a wrapped rug will then turn into mold city!
  • Settings are unclear or nonexistent
    • Often times the settings on in-home steam cleaners are hard to adjust or unclear what settings would be right for your rug or there are no settings at all. This is a huge issue if your rug is delicate, as it can end up getting damaged.

Once your rug is properly cleaned, it’s ready to be rolled, moved, and stored!

How To Roll An Area Rug For Storage 

rolled rugs

Now that you have a nice clean rug, it’s time to get rolling. Starting at one of the shorter ends of the rug (or any end if it is a circle or square shape) begin to tightly roll your rug. So if you have a 5’ x 8’ rug, the end rolled rug will be 5’ in length.

Once rolled, you’ll want to tie up your rug to make sure it doesn’t unroll. We suggest using twine, clothesline rope, or packing tape. You’ll want to make sure the rug is secured by the rope or tape securely, but wrapping too tightly can cause pressure marks in the rug.

How To Keep Your Rug Protected While Moving 

Next, it’s time to wrap the rug in plastic. You want to look for a heavy duty plastic like a plastic painters drop cloth or large contractors garbage bags. For a single flat piece of plastic simply lay it out on the floor and wrap/roll your rug up making sure there are no air pockets where anything can get in. If you need to use multiple pieces of plastic to encompass the entire rug make sure the pieces overlap to help seal the rug in. Then securely tape the plastic to make sure it does not come undone.

This is not a super high priority if you are simply transporting the rug and the weather is dry, but it’s essential if you’re planning on storing your rug. The plastic will help keep your rug safe from everything from pests and rodents to water.

When moving your rug, make sure not to drag it. If it is too large for one person to carry alone, find someone to help or transport it using a dolly. Even if your area rug is wrapped tightly in plastic, if it is dragged on the ground the plastic can get ripped and the rug can become damaged. You also want to make sure that when you are moving or storing your rug it is not situated under a heavy item. If your rug gets stuck under a dresser, for example, the rug can get crushed. This is especially an issue if the rug has a hard backing, which can crack.

How To Store A Rug 

When storing your plastic wrapped rug, we recommend storing the rug horizontally, in a climate controlled environment, not under anything that can crush it, and off of the floor. This ideal storing situation will keep your rug free from getting damaged by water, heavy items, or from its own weight.

If your rug is sturdy enough, it can be stored vertically leaning against a wall. Just make sure the ends are properly protected by the plastic casing.

More flexible styles such as handmade rugs and dhurries can also be stored vertically, but you will want to find some sturdy cardboard or tubing to roll the rug with before wrapping in plastic. This will help keep the rug upright rather than falling over or bending.

Keep in mind that a properly wrapped rug can be stored with no issues for a while, but the longer the rug is stored, the better the chances that it will experience some sort of issue. The three most common being:

  1. The rug will show signs of pile crushing from being tightly rolled or creases that will be hard to get out or won’t come out at all.
  2. If the temperature of the storage area is not well maintained the rug could dry out and become brittle or worse if the plastic casing becomes compromised.
  3. Lastly, the longer your rug stays in storage the more likely it will be out of style by the time you take it out of storage!

More Questions? 

Of course, this advice only makes sense if your rug is valuable to you and “worth” keeping. If you’re just moving your rug because it’s a pain to buy a new one, contact us. We’re always here to take the hassle out of rug buying!

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The Authors: Kate Roth