Whether you can store a rug standing up depends on the type, size, and material of the rug. In general, smaller lightweight rugs like bath mats, hallway runners, and accent rugs can be safely stored standing up. Larger or heavier rugs are better stored laying flat or rolled up.
Here are some quick answers to common questions about storing rugs standing up:
- Smaller lightweight rugs like bath mats, runners, and accent rugs can usually be stored standing up without issue.
- Larger or heavier rugs are better stored laying flat or rolled up to prevent damage and creases.
- Wool rugs should not be stored standing up as the weight can stretch the fibers over time.
- Synthetic rugs like polyester or nylon are fine to store standing up.
- Natural fiber rugs like jute, sisal, or cotton can likely be stored standing but may crease.
- Intricate or high pile rugs should lay flat or roll up to prevent crushing the piles.
- Rugs with backing can typically stand upright without issue.
- Folding a rug loosely in half over a pole can work for short-term upright storage.
What types of rugs can be stored standing up?
Smaller, lightweight rugs are the best candidates for upright storage. Specific types of rugs that can generally be safely stored standing up include:
- Bath mats – The small size and light cotton, nylon, or polyester material allow bath mats to store standing up without issue.
- Accent rugs – Smaller wool, cotton, jute, or synthetic accent rugs can stand upright, though may be at risk of developing creases.
- Runners – Long narrow hallway runners can stand upright when space is limited. Lean against a wall for support.
- Synthetic rugs – Rugs made of nylon, polypropylene, polyester, and other synthetics are lightweight enough to stand upright.
- Backed rugs – Rugs with attached backing provide extra stability so they can be stored upright without sagging or creasing.
Larger and heavier rugs are not well suited for upright storage. Their size and weight puts pressure on the fibers and can cause permanent creases or damage over time. These types of rugs should lay flat or roll up for storage instead:
- Wool rugs – The dense pile and heavier weight of wool rugs makes them unsuitable for upright storage. Lay flat instead.
- Cotton rugs – Cotton’s natural fibers can weaken and crease if standing upright long-term.
- Jute rugs – These natural fiber rugs are prone to creasing when standing upright.
- Oriental rugs – Antique or intricately woven rugs should always lay flat to prevent damage.
- High pile rugs – Long plush piles can become crushed and matted if the weight of the rug presses down while upright.
Should small rugs stand on their own or lean against a wall?
For small rugs like bath mats, runners, and lightweight accent rugs, standing them upright without any support is fine for short-term storage. However, leaning them against a wall provides extra stability and can help prevent creases or sagging if storing long-term.
If leaning a rug against a wall, be sure to place it in a spot that won’t receive direct sunlight. Sunlight shining on one part of the rug can cause fading over time.
How long can you store a rug standing up?
Most smaller, lightweight rugs can stand upright without issue for short-term storage of 1-2 months. Longer upright storage runs the risk of developing permanent creases, fibers weakening and stretching out of shape, pile crushing, and other damage over time.
Here are some general guidelines for how long different types of rugs can stand upright before needing to rotate to flat or rolled storage:
|Rug Material||Max Upright Storage Time|
|Wool||Do not store upright long-term|
|Backed rugs||3-4 months|
Rotate the rugs to flat or rolled storage after reaching these maximums to avoid permanent damage. For long-term storage, lay the rug flat or roll it up securely.
Is it OK to fold a rug in half over a pole for storage?
Folding a rug loosely in half and draping it over a pole, rod, or vertical surface can work as a short-term upright storage solution. However, take care not to tightly fold or crease the rug when doing this.
Benefits of this fold-over-pole method include:
- Takes up less floor space than laying flat
- Can help rugs retain shape vs. tightly rolling
- Allows air circulation to prevent moisture build up
Downsides can include:
- Pole puts pressure on fibers if folded too tightly
- Can only work for short 1-2 month storage
- Pole may create horizontal crease where folded over
Overall, this strategy provides a decent temporary upright storage solution for rugs that shouldn’t stand fully upright on their own. But limit use to 1-2 months and take care not to tightly fold or crease the rug around the pole.
Should you store a wool rug standing up?
Wool rugs should not be stored standing upright. The dense, heavy pile and natural wool fibers are prone to damage if the full weight presses down while standing upright.
Potential issues with storing wool rugs upright include:
- Fibers can stretch and distort from the weight
- Loops may become misshapen over time
- Piles can become crushed or flattened
- Permanent creases can develop in the folds
Instead, wool rugs should be stored:
- Laying flat – Lay the rug out on a flat, clean surface. Rotate occasionally to avoid uneven fading.
- Rolled – Roll up loosely and securely tie. Store on end to avoid flattening.
- Professionally cleaned – Most professional rug cleaners also offer storage services.
These methods prevent damage to the wool fibers and preserve the quality and appearance of the rug.
Do you need to roll up rugs for storage?
Rolling up is recommended for long-term storage of larger or heavier rugs. Reasons to roll up rugs include:
- Takes up less storage space than laying flat
- Can help rug keep shape vs. folding
- Allows air circulation to prevent mildew and moisture
- Secured with ties to prevent unraveling and creases
Steps for properly rolling up a rug:
- Spread the rug out and vacuum both sides to remove dirt.
- Starting at one end, roll up the rug loosely but tightly.
- Secure the roll with cloth ties or rope spaced every 2 ft.
- Stand the rolled rug on end to avoid flattening piles.
- Store in a dry, climate-controlled area.
Alternating the direction the rug rolls each time can help avoid distortions. Unroll and flip the rug periodically while stored.
Is it OK to store rugs outside on a pole?
Hanging rugs outside on a pole is generally not recommended. Reasons to avoid outdoor rug storage include:
- Exposure to moisture can cause mildew and rotting fibers
- Sunlight will cause fading, especially on one exposed side
- Wind can whip the rug, causing unraveling damage
- Debris like dirt, leaves, and bugs can accumulate in the fibers
The only exception would be a short-term outdoor airing out of a rug no longer than 1-2 days. Even then keep the rug away from direct sun and flip periodically.
For long-term storage, keep rugs in a climate-controlled, dry indoor area. Garages, basements, spare rooms, and under beds are good options.
Should you stand natural fiber rugs like jute or sisal on end?
Rugs woven from natural plant and animal fibers like jute, sisal, sea grass, and cotton can often stand upright short term but risk creases if left too long.
Upright risks include:
- Fiber weakening and stretching from weight
- Creases becoming permanent dents
- Sagging shape without a rigid backing
Limit upright storage of these natural material rugs to 1-2 months before rotating to flat or rolled. Folding loosely over a pole can also work short term.
For long-term storage, lay flat or roll up the rugs. Avoid upright standing of the large natural fiber rug sizes.
Storing rugs upright can be convenient for small spaces but isn’t suitable for all rug types and durations. The safest options are smaller cotton, synthetic, or backed rugs stored upright no longer than 2-4 months maximum. Laying flat or rolling is better for long-term storage, larger rugs, and wool or other heavy materials prone to damage.
Be mindful of only loosely folding rugs over poles temporarily and avoid tightly rolling, folding, or creasing fibers. With proper prep like vacuuming and rotating, even heavy wool and delicate antique rugs can be safely stored long-term and come out looking great.