In this article, I demonstrate how necessity forced me to experiment and learn the best way to clean a Ruggable rug pad- using lots of water, dish soap, and an area where my rug pad could fully dry.
Me and my Ruggable
I became a Ruggable owner a bit by chance. When I rented my first professional office in Seattle, the previous tenant offered to sell a few of her furnishings. That’s how I became the owner of a secondhand 8 x 10 Ruggable. The rug cheered up the one-room office and helped hide the condition of the deteriorating hardwood that was desperately in need of refinishing or laminate flooring install.
Debris and Odors in my Ruggable Rug Pad
I enjoyed the rug in my office for a year, but it wasn’t until I was packing to move out of that office space that I realized the deteriorating planks of the flooring below had left powdered wood particles and what appeared to be resin (broken down from the wood or the wood’s finish) lodged in the grippy texture of the underside of the Ruggable pad (which attaches, via hook and loop, to the decorative Ruggable cover seen from above).
But the debris wasn’t the main problem. A good shake of the rug pad removed the worst of it (though the combination of fine resin particles and the grippy nonslip underside of a Ruggable rug pad made it difficult to remove dirt and debris with this method) the main problem was the odor that the rug pad had picked up via the fine power attached to the nooks and crannies of the plastic underside of the pad.
Old House Smell in my Rug Pad
When wood breaks down due to age, it begins releasing chemicals that smell a bit similar to vanilla- it’s that smell you probably recognize from old libraries or vintage used bookstores. And it’s that smell, unfortunately, that was embedded in my Ruggable rug pad. I knew that getting the old house smell out and returning my rug pad to fresh-smelling would require washing, but I was disappointed to find that Ruggable doesn’t endorse or provide instructions for cleaning their rug pads.
Ruggable’s cleaning advice and my experiment
Upon unpacking this rug in St. Louis at Hawk Hill Cottage, it became obvious that I would need to deep clean my Ruggable rug pad. While the scent of the old wooden building where my office was in Seattle wasn’t overpowering or particularly unpleasant, it was not an odor I wanted lingering in my home. I set out to find a way to clean my Ruggable rug pad.
Ruggable’s FAQ states only that “Only the Rug Covers are washable. The Rug Pad should be spot-cleaned only.” Which wasn’t helpful to me, someone willing to risk ruining the rug pad if there was even a slim chance of avoiding having to purchase a new one.
Note: it’s important to point out at this point that if you choose to follow the instructions that I use to clean my Ruggable rug pad, you do so at your own risk. You may void the warranty on your own Ruggable rug pad or even damage it. While I had success cleaning my Ruggable rug pad, the manufacturer specifically advises against it. If you can, you should avoid cleaning your Ruggable rug pad in the method described below, and instead only spot clean it per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Nothing to Lose: Deep Cleaning my Ruggable rug pad
Faced with the choice of throwing away my rug pad and reordering a new one for several hundred dollars or taking a chance cleaning it, I decided to take a chance on cleaning my rug pad. Here are the steps I used to deep clean my Ruggable rug pad and restore my rug pad to fresh smelling and clean, ready to use in the cottage.
How I clean my Ruggable rug pad
1. Sponge mop (a deck brush with bristles might’ve worked slightly better)
2. Spring clamps
3. Dish soap
4. Garden hose with a sprayer (a home pressure washer on a low setting might work even better)
1. Secure rug pad vertically, so water will roll off
How I clean my Ruggable Rug Pad
Secured my Rug Pad in Place
With grippy-plastic underside facing up, I secure my rug pad in place so it won’t fall while being washed. I used a combination of heavy-duty spring clamps and C clamps.
Using a garden hose on a low-pressure spray setting, I dampened the surface of my rug pad in preparation for applying soap.
Scrubbed with soapy water
I used my sponge mop to apply the soapy water to every inch of the underside of my rug pad.
In order to loosen the resin particles from the grippy plastic surface of the rug pad, I knew that I needed to use a surfactant- that’s the ingredient in soap that makes grease and dirt particles slippery so they can be washed away. In my case, I used a couple of liberal squirts of Palmolive dish soap in a dishpan with hot water.
Using the hose again, I sprayed my Ruggable rug pad until all of the soapy water was removed and the pad was clean.
Shake excess water off
Although this is challenging with an 8 x 10 rug pad, shaking the pad removed a lot of water, allowing for the rug to dry much faster.
Hung to Dry
In a well-ventilated area, hung so that air and light can reach both the top and bottom side of the Ruggable rug pad, I hung my rug pad to dry. I tossed my large rug pad over a chain-link fence and used a patio table to help increase the amount of airflow underneath the Ruggable pad, in case any moisture had reached the underside of the rug pad.
Dumped excess soapy water in a drain
Surfactants can be disruptive to the lifecycles of pollinators and other wildlife in our backyards, so as the final step, I was sure to hose remaining soap suds towards a sewer drain, and dumped my extra soapy water down the sink instead of into my lawn.
Although cleaning a Ruggable rug pad isn’t recommended by the manufacturer, I was able to clean my rug pad by washing it with soap and water and allowing it to fully dry before placing it back into my home with the Ruggable cover attached.
Your results may vary, and unless your pad is otherwise destined for the trash, I recommend following Ruggable’s cleaning advice to only spot clean the rug pad.