Outdoor rugs: How to choose and care for one

Last year many of us tried to improve our indoor spaces. 

And now that summer is here, you might be ready to spiff up your outdoor space. 

An outdoor rug is an easy way to add color and style to your porch or patio. Consumer Reports has some advice on how to pick the right one and make it last for years.

CR consulted industry experts and found there are big differences in how a rug will react with the type of surface it’s placed on. 

Unless it’s sealed, a concrete surface can be porous and become mildewed. 

And a rug placed on a grass or wood will also trap moisture beneath.

In addition to fading from the sun, moisture can be the enemy of a rug, causing mold and mildew that can damage the surface beneath. 

So consider where you place your rug.

And don’t expect them to last a lifetime. 

Unlike typical outdoor furnishings, outdoor rugs don’t have a long life span. 

You can expect them to last three to seven years, and shorter if you live in a humid or subtropical climate.

The most important factor when looking at a rug is breathability.

There are big differences between some polyester materials and natural jute fiber.

Look for rugs labeled polypropylene or olefin. 

It’s the same plastic used in rope and sportswear, and it resists fading and staining. 

And other synthetics like nylon, acrylic, and polyester tend to be more resilient than 100 percent natural fibers like sisal and seagrass. 

Those look great indoors but can come with fabric borders and backing that will absorb water and can harbor fungi and bacteria. 

So it’s best to leave them inside.

But regardless of the type of rug you have, it’s important to occasionally hang it to allow it to dry out.

How do you know what size rug to get? 

For large rugs, CR says to allow for at least 6 inches of it to extend past all sides of the furniture in an area. 

Small rugs should fit beneath a coffee table and at least the two front legs of a sofa.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2021 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. Fo