Can You Waterproof an Outdoor Rug?

Last updated on October 12th, 2022

An outdoor rug can go a long way in pulling together your seating area into a single, unified outside space. The right choice of carpet can make your patio or backyard more comfortable and inviting. However, outdoor spaces are prone to weather elements like harmful sun rays, rainwater, and moisture. So, can you waterproof an outdoor rug to make it last longer? 

Most outdoor rugs are made from tightly woven synthetic materials such as polypropylene or natural fibers that do not absorb water. Unlike indoor rugs, the outdoor mats are designed to withstand adverse weather elements without requiring any waterproofing. Still, you can spray the carpet with a waterproofing agent such as Scotchgard Fabric Protector that forms a super-hydrophobic protective barrier around the surface. The waterproof barrier will add a layer of protection against water and moisture damage. 

Why waterproof outdoor rug

Outdoor mats are generally resistant to water damage. They are mainly made of synthetic fibers that do not retain water or experience molds and mildew. 

Like any other outdoor fabric, water-resistant rugs can lose their water-repelling qualities over time with wear and tear. Reduced water resistance may lead to increased staining and unappealing fading of color. 

Spraying the rugs with a waterproofing agent can help restore their water-repelling qualities. A water repellent layer will help prevent water damage, resist color fading and make it easy to clean spills and prevent stains.  

Can you waterproof an outdoor rug?  

You can waterproof an outdoor rug if you want to add a layer of protection against water and moisture to it. 

Waterproofing may also become necessary when your rug has started to weather and lose its water-repellent qualities. Usually, the carpet may begin to sustain more stubborn stains and hard-to-clean spots. 

It is crucial to notice that waterproofing is not essential for a standard outdoor rug. These mats usually have water-resistant and UV-stable properties, making them resilient to the damaging elements outside. 

Whether it is natural or synthetic, an outdoor carpet is designed to hold out against anything Mother Nature throws at it.

Because they can repel water and moisture, outdoor rugs usually do not experience mold and mildew. The mats are also typically densely woven or low-pile to help repel dirt and other spills that could cause stains.

However, outdoor mats made from natural fibers like sisal and seagrass are not as resilient and durable as their synthetic cousins. They could also experience mold. Such rugs may benefit from a generous layer of waterproofing spray. 

Both natural and synthetic outdoor carpets are usually loop-pile. This design, coupled with the weatherproof material, means the low-pile carpet will handle the wear and tear of foot traffic and harsh weather better than deep-pile rugs. 

You can use clear acrylic spray paint for this purpose. Polyurethane paint or lacquer spray paint can also help make your natural outdoor carpet hold out better against water and moisture. 

Any of these coatings are harmless and will form a waterproof layer on the loop-pile carpet fibers. If you don’t mind altering the texture of your mat, you can pour liquid silicone over the entire rug to make it a solid matt and then let it dry.

Otherwise, you could use something light, such as Scotchgard Fabric Protector. Spray it on the rug to create a thin coat on the surface. Though it is invisible, Scotchgard forms a protective shield that keeps your rug resistant to soiling and staining.

The coating will also make it easier to clean up most spills simply by running a damp cloth on the carpet.

When buying a rug for wholly exposed outdoor areas, you may want to go for one with all-weather marine backing to resist water and moisture better. The same rule should apply if you live in a high-humidity climate.

Do you need a rug pad for outdoor rugs?

Outdoor rugs are generally low maintenance compared to indoor mats. Still, they need proper care to last longer. Utilizing rug pads is one way to prolong the lifespan of your outdoor carpet. The pads provide a much-needed buffer between the rug and the ground or patio surface. Moisture from the ground, therefore, has enough room to evaporate instead of soaking the carpet. 

The pad significantly helps improve air circulation underneath the rug. This is crucial because little to no air circulation can often lead to the growth of molds and mildew. Damp conditions under a carpet can also provide a foothold for bacteria.  

This important accessory will also offer protection for the wood or concrete floor. Dirt and debris are a common problem wherever there is a carpet. They can get trapped between the floor surface and the rug. With the pad acting as a buffer, this debris and dirt will not stain or discolor the floor. 

It helps to purchase a pad to go under the carpet irrespective of the type of rug you are buying. Including a rug pad significantly helps keep your carpet looking better for longer and improves its functionality.

If you have a remarkably smooth rug such as those made of synthetic materials, using a pad can prevent the carpet from sliding around and help keep you from slipping and falling.

Since most outdoor rugs are reasonably thin, adding a pad will provide more comfort under the feet. Consider finding a thick rug pad for maximum softness and comfort. 

When shopping for a rug pad, remember that there are different kinds designed for various conditions. Rug pads meant for indoor use may not withstand the elements within the outside environment. You, therefore, want to ensure you buy a material that is designed for outdoor use.  

What is the best outdoor rug for rain?

A rug can add a cozy touch to your deck or patio. If you live in a location that experiences occasional or frequent rains, the carpet you buy must be water-resistant. 

There are two broad types of outdoor rugs, namely natural fiber and synthetic outdoor rugs. The natural types such as jute, bamboo, and sisal are sturdy and durable. They also tend to have an excellent texture to add a touch of personality to your outdoor space.

However, as far as rain is concerned, these natural fibers are not the best choice. They retain more water and can be prone to molds and mildew. Exposure to rainwater will likely destroy a natural fiber rug and render it unusable much sooner.  

A bamboo mat, for instance, can stain easily. It requires that you blot out spills as soon as they occur or once you become aware of them. Otherwise, they could quickly form permanent stains.

Jute outdoor rugs have soft fibers that almost feel like wool. They are the least durable of all these natural fibers and will not stand up to water. 

Synthetic outdoor rugs are, therefore, the best for use where there is rain. They are durable and resistant to fading, mold, and mildew. The majority of these carpets are manufactured using polypropylene, but polyester, nylon, and acrylic varieties are available. 

While each synthetic fiber has its pros and cons, they all resist water and will not soak up after rainfall. Here are some top picks you may consider for your next purchase. 

  • Nourison Positano Outdoor Rug

This synthetic outdoor rug features a 100-percent polypropylene construction that makes it durable enough to handle the most adverse weather elements. Despite being low cost, the mat holds up great to high traffic from pets and kids. 

Customers also find it extremely easy to clean. The prices start from as low as $23 on Amazon, and it comes in 13 different shapes and sizes. 

  • FH Home Outdoor Rug

This low-cost rug is eco-friendly and made of recycled, high-quality polypropylene. It is waterproof, stain-resistant, and UV-resistant. These qualities also mean that the carpet is easy to clean and maintain. 

Also, the UV resistance means that it will not crash under the damaging effects of the sun’s harmful rays. 

It comes in five different sizes and more than a dozen vibrant colors and prints to choose from. If you wish to have an outdoor carpet on just a tiny porch, this is the perfect choice to go for.

  • Unique Loom Geometric Outdoor Rug

If you are looking for something modern, then you may consider this exotic piece. It features a stylish geometric print and sturdy polypropylene material that makes it highly durable. The mat is also stain-resistant and easy to clean. 

The rug is available in more than a dozen different shapes, colors, and sizes. According to a buyer on Amazon, the mat is “easy to clean and doesn’t get waterlogged when it rains…” 

  • Nicole Miller Patio Country Danica Outdoor Rug

This rug is rated 4.8 stars on Amazon, which speaks of how satisfied customers are with it. It is an ideal choice for the patio. It features durable polypropylene construction and an easy texture that is comfortable to walk on.

The carpet is easy to clean and lightweight so that you can move it around with ease. It boasts two main designs that give you the option of selecting your most preferred look. 

Care tips for outdoor rugs

We have mentioned that outdoor rugs are low maintenance but still require some level of care to prolong their life. Keeping your mat for a long time means that you don’t have to spend money buying another one every other time. 

For the rug to remain looking good for longer, you must take good care of it and prevent damage. 

There is no denying that exposure to weather elements will have a toll on your mat as long as it stays outside. Still, there are several steps you can take to protect the rug and preserve its good features. 

Can You Waterproof an Outdoor Rug

  • Dust the rug regularly. 

You could use a clean cloth to dust off the rug or vacuum it from time to time or when loose dirt becomes noticeable on it. This care routine ensures that dirt does not accumulate to levels that could be damaging. 

Even though the outdoor carpet is likely to be mold- and mildew-resistant, accumulated dirt can provide a medium for molds and mildew to grow when there is moisture. Frequent dusting is an easy way to keep dirt from collecting on the carpet.

  • Shake it out 

Other than dusting, you could simply shake the rug regularly to remove loose dirt. Shaking is an easy and quick way to get rid of particles trapped in the fibers, preventing them from collecting there.

  • Clean spills as soon as they occur or once you become aware of them. 

Be sure to blot the rug to clean it, not scrub. For those carpets that have been treated with UV protection, scouring may remove that protective finish, leaving the mat exposed to sun damage. Scrubbing may also push stains deeper into the fibers instead of removing them. 

  • Keep the rag in dry storage indoors during the offseason, away from the snow

Wrapping or covering up your rug with a lightweight fabric before storing it for the winter will help it breathe. This also helps shelter it away from pests and insects that could damage it. 

  • Disinfect your rug

If your mat is deeply stained, you may want to use diluted bleach to clean it, removing mildew, mold, or algae that may have accumulated on it. 

Alternatively, you could use vinegar solution instead of commercial bleach. It is more natural and easier on the material. When disinfecting, always read the instructions on the container before using any product.  

  • Hose it down 

Do not use a pressure washer to clean your rug. The high pressure can cause permanent damage to the carpet. To rinse it, always use your garden hose with the standard water pressure. After rinsing, you may want to air dry the rug by hanging it somewhere or on a line. 


Any outdoor space can benefit from a good rug. Now that you know the ins and outs of outdoor carpets take a look around your home and figure out which design, material, shape, size, and color will best suit your home. Then go out and do some shopping for an outdoor rug – to usher in the warmer season in style.

FAQs – Waterproofing Outdoor Rugs

Can outdoor rug be left in the rain?

Yes. Outdoor rugs are made to be left outdoors the whole year. They are created to withstand rain, sun, snow, and sleet.

Can I waterproof an outdoor rug?

Generally, outdoor rugs are water-resistant. They are made of synthetic fibres that do not experience molds and retain water or collect moisture.

Can you put a regular rug outside?

Unless they are made for outdoor purposes, regular rugs cannot be put outside.

What is the best waterproof outdoor fabric sealer?

There are several outdoor fabric waterproof sealers in the market you can choose from, but the best ones include, Sof Sole-Unisex Adult waterproofer, Scotchgard Heavy duty water seal, Forcefield Unisex Adult waterproof spray, Fabric Guard, and NikWax fabric and leather proof waterproofing spray.

Can you use polypropylene rugs outdoors?

Yes. Polypropylene are ideal for outdoor rugs  used in areas with high traffic and moisture prone.

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