Polypropylene Rug for Outdoor Use – Informative Tips from Practical Experience

If you are in the market for a new outdoor rug, then you’ve probably heard about polypropylene outdoor rugs. But as complex as the new name might sound, you may be wondering, is polypropylene good for outdoor rugs or if it’s something that will last outdoors. So, are polypropylene rugs good for outdoor use?

The simple answer is yes. Polypropylene rugs are an excellent choice for your outdoor living space. They possess some excellent qualities that ensure they withstand the elements. For instance, the rug is water-resistant, so it doesn’t pool water. It dries quickly after rain, which helps to prevent mold and mildew growth.

In today’s article, we will look at whether you should consider a polypropylene rug for outdoor use, some advantages and disadvantages, and what you can expect if you decide to use the rug in your backyard. This information will also become handy as shopping assistance while you are in the market.

What is a Polypropylene Rug?

A polypropylene rug is a synthetic rug woven from polypropylene fibers. The material itself is a thermoplastic polymer obtained from propene or propylene monomer. It has a low production cost and is used in many applications ranging from textiles and containers to automobiles and medical devices.

In rug making, this material is mainly chosen for its weatherproofing properties. It is stain-resistant and doesn’t pool water like natural fiber rugs.

Aesthetics-wise, the rug is made to resemble natural fibers like sisal and wool, but with the extra benefit of being more durable outdoors. It’s also colorfast and cannot be redyed, so it maintains its color for a long time.

One major highlight of the rug is that it’s colorfast. This means it will hold its color for a long time, even if you vacuum it regularly.

In addition to having a natural look, polypropylene rugs are typically soft to touch. They are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Benefits Of Using Polypropylene Outdoor Rugs On Your Outdoor Living Space.

There are several reasons why polypropylene is often chosen over other rug materials. Cost is a major one, and next to it is its ability to withstand harsh weather. Let’s go over some of these:


As earlier indicated, polypropylene is resistant to moisture. Unlike wool or other natural fibers, it doesn’t soak up liquids. As a result, the rug from this material is less prone to mold and mildew growth. Provided you dry it properly when it gets wet, you won’t have a problem with mold infestation. This makes it ideal for outdoor use, especially if you live in a humid area. As long as you clean the rug regularly, you can expect it to last up to 4-6 years or even more, depending on the brand.


Because polypropylene rugs are man-made, they are generally inexpensive and are readily available online and in carpet stores.

Their production cost is much lower compared to natural fiber rugs. But this doesn’t mean their quality is inferior; on the contrary, they are one of the most durable options.

The rugs are available in many styles and colors. These include but are not limited to floral designs, animal designs, southwest patterns, and oriental rugs. So, it’s easy to find a perfect match for your outdoor decor.


While other rug fibers are said to be dyed, polypropylene is often described as colored plastic. This means once they get their colors during their manufacturing process, it’s nearly impossible for them to be redyed. In other words, the fiber itself constitutes the rug’s color and will not fade even if you submerge it in hot water or expose it to other extreme conditions. On the other hand, a natural fiber rug may lose its color easily.

Easy Cleaning

Because polypropylene is water-and stain-resistant, it’s fairly easy to clean the rug. This can be really helpful when you have pets or kids around.

Take into account that it is soak-proof, so you can easily remove spills and stains with soap and water—no need to hire a professional, not even after using the rug for a long time. You can also clean using a washing machine since the fabric won’t lose its color. Once you’re done washing, allow the rug to dry properly before putting it back into position.

Is Polypropylene Good For Outdoor Rugs?

Polypropylene is a great choice for an outdoor rug. It is attractive, usage efficient, and far cheaper than natural fiber rugs.

The fibers are water-resistant, which means they won’t trap water. So, there’s no chance of mold or mildew infestation. You can keep the rug in a water-prone area, so it’s a great rug for your pool area or indoors inside your bathroom, and not worry about water damage.

Also, polypropylene is colorfast and difficult to dye. So it doesn’t lose its color quickly. All these properties and more make it perfect for outdoor use.

Is polypropylene durable outside?

Besides being stain-and water-resistant, polypropylene is hardwearing, so it’s durable outdoors and can be used throughout the year. It’s designed to withstand all forms of wear and tear while retaining its look and color.

To ensure you get a rug, you can use all year round, make sure you opt for one that is UV treated. This is because not every polypropylene rug comes with UV protection. This helps to protect the carpet from harmful UV rays and ensure it doesn’t get too hot on sunny days.

Are polypropylene rugs waterproof?

Polypropylene outdoor area rugs are often described as being waterproof, but, in reality, they are water-resistant. The weave pattern usually consists of tight plastic bundles that are strong and resistant to moisture. This doesn’t mean they can’t get wet, but when they do, they dry very fast and don’t harbor mold and mildew.

This makes polypropylene suitable for rainy weather and pool areas.

In addition to being waterproof, polypropylene rugs are stain-resistant and easy to clean. You can simply hose them off when they get dirty.

Can you leave polypropylene rugs in the rain?

Yes, you can. Like other synthetic materials, polypropylene is made to withstand harsh weather conditions like rain. Because it’s water-resistant, it doesn’t trap moisture like bamboo or wool. Instead, it dries quickly after rain and maintains its look and strength. So, the dye doesn’t become dull or lighter, as you would notice in natural fiber rugs, especially during long periods of rainfall.

What happens is that when water gets on the rug, it forms beads and rolls off. As a result, the fiber absorbs less water and dries quickly, making the rug less prone to molds.

Having said that, it’s still recommended to store your outdoor rug in a covered place during extended periods of rainfall or winter. This makes sense since you will not be using the rug. Doing so will ensure the rug lasts longer.

Is polypropylene slippery when wet?

Yes, polypropylene rugs can become wet and slippery when you allow a lot of moisture to get on them. This happens virtually with all outdoor rugs though it might occur more in some than others.

In the case of polypropylene, the interaction of the polymer with hydrogen bonds on exposure to water doesn’t create friction on the surface of the fibers. Instead, on getting to the surface, the water molecules just bead up and roll off.

With no friction on the surface between water and the rug surface, there’s practically no adhesion. This is what causes the mat to slip when it becomes too wet.

Do polypropylene rugs get hot in sun?

Polypropylene rugs can get hot in the sun. In fact, original polypropylene or polypropylene clear of any treatment is not designed to be out in the sun.

However, many polypropylene rugs are usually treated to counter this. This helps to reduce the heat on the rug, making it comfortable underfoot. It’s usually possible to leave such rugs outside all year round.

Also, polypropylene rugs made from recycled plastic bottles will not get too hot in the sun. And that is because the plastic repels some of the light.

Polypropylene Rugs Pros and cons

There are many advantages and a few downsides that come with using polypropylene rugs. We list some of them below:

Pros of Polypropylene Rugs

  • Very Affordable: Because they are machine-made, polypropylene rugs are usually cheaper than other rug types, especially natural fiber. Also, they tend to look more appealing than other plastic-based carpets.
  • Stain-resistant: The material is resistant to staining, which makes it a great option if you have kids or pets around. You don’t have to worry about liquid spills or rain.
  • Solution-dyed: Polypropylene is colorfast, so it will not fade or wash out. Even when you use it in direct sunlight, it retains its color for a long time.
  • Water-resistant: Unlike most natural fiber rugs, polypropylene is water-resistant. This doesn’t mean it won’t get wet. Instead, when it does, it dries quickly and doesn’t trap water, making it ideal for pool areas where there is frequent contact with water from splash and wet feet,
  • Easy to Clean: Another cool thing about polypropylene rugs is that they are fairly easy to clean. This often involves sweeping off dirt or hosing down the rug. Sometimes you may need to spot clean with soap and water.

Cons of Polypropylene Rugs

  • Low Resilience: Polypropylene rugs generally have low resilience, so they may lose their original shape if crushed. Thus, it’s best not to use them in high-traffic areas.
  • Heat-sensitive: At temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit, polypropylene will melt. So, frequent exposure to the simmering sun can reduce the quality. To prevent this, some rugs are treated with UV stabilizers to make them fade-resistant.
  • Not Resistant to Oil Stains: While water-based stains do not cling to the fibers, oil-based stains are hard to remove, even with a vacuum. In fact, the stain can become permanent before you know it. And that is because polypropylene loves oil and will quickly soak it up. So, please avoid using the rug in areas where it can be soiled with oil.

Polypropylene vs Other Outdoor Rug Types

Before choosing polypropylene for your outdoor rug, you may want to see how it compares with other materials. Below are four other rug fibers often used for outdoor rugs.

Polypropylene vs wool rug

Wool has several advantages over polypropylene when it comes to comfort and longevity. First, it’s warmer, softer to touch, and will last longer. In fact, a wool rug can last for generations compared to 4-6 years for polypropylene outdoor rugs.

The high durability of wool is connected to the manufacturing process. While polypropylene is machine-made from petroleum products, wool is hand-knotted from natural fiber (wool). As a result, the heirloom quality of wool is usually better and will not ignite as fast as polypropylene, although it costs more.

Unfortunately, wool rugs are highly absorbent, so they don’t do well in damp conditions. This makes them less suitable for an outdoor climate; you’re better off using them indoors.

Having said that, wool is firmer, eco-friendly, and more durable than polypropylene.

Polyester vs polypropylene rug

Polyester is a synthetic fiber just like polypropylene, which means both materials share many similar properties.

For instance, both can resist water and stains, which makes them suitable for outdoor use.

However, polyester rugs tend to be more absorbent than polypropylene. So, the latter generally performs better in damp conditions, which makes it less prone to mold and bug contact. Also, polypropylene will retain its color for a longer time.

Both materials are easy to clean and can be hosed down or spot cleaned. They are also cheap and will last for about 3-6 years.

With regards to the feel and texture, polyester looks and feels very much like wool.

Polypropylene vs Jute rug

Jute is another fabric that is often compared with polypropylene. Just as the name suggests, it’s a natural fiber obtained from the jute plant, which is commonly found in Asia.

Jute rugs typically have a broad weave which is usually hand-made. The fabric is considerably soft but not too soft. It’s easy to clean and can be vacuumed, or spot cleaned just like polypropylene.

However, while polypropylene outdoor rugs are water-resistant, jute cannot handle a lot of moisture. So, leaving it out in the rain is not recommended. Jute rugs are notorious for turning brown when they get wet. They may also shed with time.

For this reason, it’s best to use jute indoors. If you must use it outside, it should be in an enclosed outdoor space where it’s safe from moisture.

FAQs – Polypropylene rug for outdoor use

Is A Polypropylene Rug Toxic?

Some polypropylene rugs, especially the cheaper ones, may contain toxic byproducts that release chemicals into the air that could cause various health problems in sensitive individuals. These include nausea, headaches, allergies, and even dizziness. To make polypropylene rugs safer, it’s recommended to use them in a well-ventilated area. So, you shouldn’t have any problem using them outdoors. On a general note, high-quality polypropylene rugs are not toxic and are safe to use.

Is Polypropylene Rug Safe For Babies?

Polypropylene rugs are a great option if you have babies or pets around. However, you need to be mindful of the quality. Many cheap polypropylene rugs tend to release VOCs that could potentially harm infants. You want to avoid such products. Instead, you want to choose rugs that are flame resistant and free of toxic chemicals.

Are polypropylene rugs machine-made?

Yes, they are. The rugs are machine woven from polypropylene fibers made in the lab from petroleum. They are designed to look and feel just like natural fiber rugs. Being man-made significantly reduces the cost of the rugs while ensuring they are long-lasting, comfortable, and stain-resistant.

Do outdoor rugs get moldy?

While rugs and carpets made from polypropylene may attract molds when exposed to water, most outdoor synthetic rugs for patio are mold resistant.

Can you clean a polypropylene rug with a carpet cleaner?

Yes. A 100% polypropylene clear rug can be cleaned using all the carpet cleaning ways, including household bleach. Just ensure the carpet is purely polypropylene.

Summary – Polypropylene Outdoor Rugs

So, to crown it all, polypropylene patio rugs can be used outdoors. In fact, they are one of the best options to consider, especially if you live in an area where it rains hard. They provide the best protection against rain and maintain their original look over time.

Other rug materials that also do well outdoors include polyester, nylon, and other synthetic fibers. Please, avoid anything made from natural fiber as they are prone to water damage.

Let us know if you have any more questions about using polypropylene rugs outdoors.