Can Jute Rugs be Used Outdoors (Facts, Dos and Don’ts)

Last updated on September 25th, 2023

A jute rug is a great way to add color and texture to your outdoor space. And because it’s derived from plants, it’s environmentally benign and integrates easily into any natural outdoor scene. However, like most natural rug fibers, there’s always a concern with where it can be used. So, you may be wondering- can jute rugs be used outdoors?

Jute doesn’t do well in wet conditions and very humid climates, which makes it less suitable for outdoor use. When used in such an environment, it attracts mold and mildew and may present a cleaning challenge. Does that mean you can’t use it outdoors? Obviously not; just that it needs to be kept away from moisture and direct sunlight, and this can only happen if you place it on a covered porch or patio.

Also, if the weather in your area is such that you get very little rainfall throughout the year, then a jute rug might work. In this article, we will try to answer all the questions related to using jute rugs outdoors.

Without wasting any more time, let’s delve straight in!

Understanding Jute and Jute Fibers

Jute fiber is derived from the stalks of a jute plant. The plant is commonly grown in India, Bangladesh and other Southern Asian countries. Just like flax or hemp, the jute fiber is used to make burlap or Hessian fabric, as well as jute rugs and other kinds of coverings.

In the fabrication process, the long jute fibers or stalks are soaked before being stripped and spun into threads used to make the rug. Although, in the end, the individual strength of the fibers is decreased, they come out very soft. That is why jute is one of the softest rug materials out there.

It is worth mentioning that the jute plant is very sustainable. It has an incredibly fast growth rate and can be recycled easily. This makes it safe for the environment. However, like most natural fibers, the weave threads are highly absorbent, so it doesn’t do well with moisture. This is one of the biggest problems with using jute outside.

Can jute rugs be used outdoors

Yes, but not in all situations. Jute seems like a logical choice for a patio or outdoor space because it’s sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Also, it has a rugged, textured feeling that is comfortable underfoot and perfect for brushing off your shoes before you go inside the house. It is 100 percent natural and doesn’t contain any chemicals.

Unfortunately, the rug is susceptible to mold and mildew in damp conditions. So, it doesn’t do well in wet and humid climates. If you must use a jute rug outside, it should be on a covered porch or patio or in climates with very little rainfall. This way, the carpet will be protected from the elements.

  • How will jute rugs hold up in rain?

Jute rugs don’t hold up well in heavy rain. In fact, constant exposure to water will damage the rug fibers very quickly. That is why it’s recommended to position the rug in an enclosed area when using it outdoors.

If you wish to use jute in the open, where it will be exposed to rain, make sure it’s not 100 percent jute. Instead, choose a rug combo of jute and some other material or fiber. That way, the rug will have a higher chance of withstanding heavy rain.

Besides causing mold and mildew, water or rain can cause the fibers of a dyed jute rug to turn brown. So, avoid rain if you want your jute rug to last.

  • Are Jute Rugs Waterproof?

No, jute rugs are not one of waterproof outdoor rugs. They will not repel water. Instead, they are highly absorbent, so they soak up water quickly. To preserve your jute rug, especially when using it outdoors, you must clean up spills as soon as they occur. Otherwise, the rug will soak up water, which can create many problems.

You also want to vacuum regularly to keep the rug free from dirt and debris.

  • Can Jute rugs get wet?

Yes, jute rugs get wet easily. In some cases, too much water will cause the rug to turn brown as it dries. This happens because water releases oils in the fibers, which brings about discoloration.

Besides the browning of your rug, moisture makes jute susceptible to mold and decreases the strength of the fibers. It also presents a challenge for cleaning spots in the case of stains.

For this reason, you want to avoid putting new natural jute rugs in moist environments or areas where they can get spilled on. Generally, jute works best on enclosed patios or regions with low rainfall.

  • Are jute rugs durable outdoors?

Outdoor jute rugs can last outdoors if it’s not exposed to direct sunlight and rain. However, there are more durable options like sisal, hemp and seagrass outdoor rugs, which can withstand heavier foot traffic and won’t deteriorate as rapidly as jute in harsh weather conditions. Basically, jute excels more in comfort than durability due to its softness. Moisture tends to weaken its structure and makes it less durable.

To put it simply, jute rugs are not durable outdoors in very humid climates, but they may do well in covered spaces.

  • Can jute rugs get moldy?

Jute rugs are super absorbent and tend to soak up moisture easily. This makes them highly susceptible to mold and mildew.

So, leaving a jute rug at the mercy of the rain or not allowing it to dry completely will often cause it to deteriorate rapidly. In some cases, mold can appear within hours if the rug is not removed for drying.

One way to prevent mold on jute rugs when used outdoors is to keep them in covered patios or pergolas. You can also use it in mild climates where there’s little or no rainfall.

It is worth noting that jute rugs can shrink and lose shape if put in the sun too frequently. So, it’s best not to use them in areas where spills and food stains can be a problem. You want to keep the rug clean and dry as much as possible.

  • Do Jute Rugs Fade from Sunlight?

Yes, they do. Jute fades quickly when exposed to direct sunlight. This occurs as the natural oils in the rug fibers are broken down over time, which results in color loss.

Thus, the best way to protect your jute rug from fading is to store it indoors. This way, it’s safe from the damaging effect of the sun.

However, if you wish to use it outdoors, a lighter-colored rug will work better. Darker colored jute rugs are more likely to fade quickly and maybe unevenly. If you must use a darker rug, especially in the summer, it should be in a covered area where the rug is not in direct sunlight. But you still need to be careful. Make sure there’s free flow of air wherever you keep the rug.

Will a Jute Rug Ruin My Deck?

It depends. A jute rug can damage your wood deck if it’s wet for long periods. As earlier indicated, jute has high absorbency, so it tends to pool water easily. If the rug is left in that state on a wooden floor, chances are that mold and mildew will start to grow, which could cause the wood to rot. So, it’s best not to use jute on a wood deck. However, you may be able to use it on composite decking since it’s rot-resistant.

When to Use a Jute Rug Outside?

The best time to use a jute rug outdoors is when you have a covered porch or patio. This helps to protect it from rain and direct sunlight.

Do not use a jute rug in the open where it’s exposed to direct sunlight and rain.

Also, avoid placing the rug on a wood deck as damp conditions can cause the wood to rot. The rug might do well on a composite deck but consider using it with a rug pad, so it doesn’t scratch the deck.

Overall, if you live in an area that sees a lot of rainfall or snow, think it through before getting a jute rug to use outside. Our recommendation is not to use the rug outdoors during the colder months, especially in winter. Consider folding it up and storing indoors until the season is over.

How to Care for Jute Rugs Outdoors – Simple Tips

Jute is one of the softest natural fibers out there, which can lead to some issues with durability if it’s not properly cared for. In this section, we will look at simple tips to care for a jute rug outdoors.

  • Vacuum Regularly

Regular vacuuming is the first step toward keeping your jute rug in good condition. You can use strong suction, but it should be without a beater bar, or else you risk destroying the coherence of the jute fibers in the long run. Guide the vac over the rug, moving it in different directions. Do this a few times until you’ve adequately covered every area.

Besides removing dirt and debris, regular vacuuming will prevent additional wear and ensure your jute rug lasts longer. We recommend doing this twice weekly if you’re using the rug outside.

  • Rotate the Rug

Some people keep their rug in one position throughout the year. However, some areas might get stepped on more than others and thus experience more wear.

To prevent this, try to rotate the rug at least once a year. This will allow it to wear down more evenly over time.

  • Keep it Dry

This is probably the best thing you can do for a jute rug. Moisture is the number one thing that can make your jute rug deteriorate fast outdoors. Besides causing discoloration, moisture can encourage mold and mildew growth on jute.

So, you should avoid using the rug in humid atmospheres. Keep it in a covered area and away from swimming pools.

When cleaning the rug, make sure to vacuum beforehand before applying water. Adding water to a dirty jute rug causes dirt to get trapped within the rug, which can result in permanent staining.

  • Spot Clean with a Dry-cleaning Agent

Dry-cleaning kits are available if you need to spot clean your jute rug. Before using the product, apply a small amount on an inconspicuous area to ensure it’s safe to use. Once you’re sure, follow the instructions on the label to apply it. This will often involve sprinkling some of the powder on the rug and brushing it off.

Avoid steam cleaning or using wet shampoo on a jute rug.

FAQs – Can jute rugs be used outdoors 

Can you vacuum a jute rug?

Yes, you can. Vacuuming is an essential part of maintaining a jute rug. Regular vacuuming helps to keep dust and debris at bay, which ensures the rug lasts longer. It is recommended to vacuum a jute rug once or twice a week, depending on the level of foot traffic.

Does jute rug smell when wet?

Jute rug is highly absorbent and tends to pick up odor easily. This means that pet urine and other liquid stains can cause it to smell. So, you want to avoid getting your jute rugs wet. If you notice any smell coming from your rug, you can use baking soda or vinegar solution to neutralize it.

Can sisal rugs be used outdoors?

You can possibly use sisal in an outdoor setting. But like jute and other natural fiber rugs, it doesn’t hold up well in wet conditions and can encourage mold and mildew growth. However, it’s an eco-friendly option for an outdoor rug and is best used in a covered area.

Can you seal a jute rug?

Yes, jute rugs can be sealed to minimize their absorbency and protect them from stains and UV rays. This helps to extend the rug’s lifespan. You will find many jute sealers in the market for this purpose. For your safety, choose a sealer that is non-toxic and non-allergenic.

Are jute rugs easy to maintain?

Jute rugs are relatively easy to maintain. And that is because the fibers don’t collect too much dirt and debris. Dirt rests loosely on the weave, making it easy to vacuum. Slight blemishes or spills can be removed with water and a clean cloth. However, tougher stains like grass, mud, and food stains can be more tricky to remove.

Is jute backing slippery?

Yes, rugs with jute backing can be a bit slippery, especially on a slick surface such as vinyl, tile, concrete or laminate. But then, virtually all rugs have this problem except they have a non-slip backing, though jute-backed rugs tend to move a bit more. One way to fix this is to use a rug pad with the jute rug. You can also place furniture on the rug or apply rug gripper tape around the edges.


So, are jute rugs good for outdoors? Well, the answer is yes and no. You can possibly use jute outdoors, but only if you keep it in a place where it’s safe from heavy rainfall, sunlight and snow. This means the rug is best used in an enclosed space.

Also, you need to be careful while using the rug on a wood deck. Avoid any situation that can lead to the pooling of your outdoor jute rug to avoid mold and wood rot.

Alternatively, instead of using a jute rug outside, you can consider more outdoor-friendly options such as polypropylene and polyester or some other synthetic fiber rug.

Let us know if you have any more questions about using jute for indoor outdoor rugs. Till then, happy jutting!