Moving Rugs: Tips for Protection and Storage

When you're preparing for a big move, you put a lot of attention toward packing delicate items like china, glassware, and priceless artwork. Many people can overlook special packing for items they don't consider to be as fragile. You walk on your rugs every day, but they also need special preparation before and during the moving process.

If you have to put rugs in temporary storage, you also need to take special precautions. Since one rug can represent a huge economic investment, and because some rugs are old with a rich history, you don't want anything to happen to them. Here's what you need to know about moving and storing rugs. 


Rugs collect dirt and dust as they sit on your floor day in and day out. Even if you are fastidious about vacuuming and cleanliness, you'll want to have each rug professionally cleaned before the move. This keeps you from moving dirt to your new home, but it also helps to protect the rug.

When dirt gets ground down into the rug, it can weaken the fibers. Food, dust, and plant matter in rugs can also attract pests. For rugs made from natural fibers, pests can be a death sentence. A clean rug will fare much better in storage and in transit. 


Many people make the mistake of always rolling their rugs with the top side in. However, before rolling, you should find out if your rugs should be rolled in or out.

Some rugs with worn backing might not stand the stress of rolling with the pile inside because it stretches the backing. For delicate rugs, this stress can actually crack the backing or cause the rug to lose its shape. Also, when rolled this way, the rug might have difficulty lying flat again, as the curve of the backing can train the rug to curl up at the corners. 

However, rugs in good condition can be rolled with the pile inward to help protect the pile from damage; usually, the foundation of the rug is stronger than the pile and can handle the stress. 

Never fold or crease rugs, especially if they are finely woven or made from wool or other natural animal fibers, like goat hair. Linen and silk rugs should also never be folded. The deep creases in a fold can permanently alter the structure of the fibers, and your rug will never be the same again. 


After the rug is rolled, you'll need to secure the rug so that it stays tightly furled. Most people think of using tape or shrink wrap, but neither is appropriate for a rug. With the pile facing out, tape can pull out fibers. Also, tape can leave behind a tacky residue on the rug itself, which is very difficult to remove. Shrink wrap can crush high-pile rugs. 

Instead, use natural twine or even ribbons to tie up the rug. String is easy to secure and will cause no lasting damage to the carpet. 


Next, you need to make sure that your rug stays protected during transport and during any short-term storage. You want to keep your rug free of dust and debris, but the biggest thing you need to protect against is moisture, especially in a storage unit.

Never wrap rugs in plastic to protect them. Plastic traps moisture inside the rug and, in humid areas, makes the perfect breeding ground for mildew and mold. Many rugs stored in plastic cannot be restored because of mold and mildew damage. 

Instead, use heavier paper to protect your rolled-up rug. If your rug is extremely delicate, you may even roll it up with light-weight tissue to prevent the layers from rubbing against each other as it is being moved, and you can get custom cardboard tubes for increased protection. You can secure the outer paper with tape or more twine. 


You should arrange for your rugs to lie flat during transport with nothing piled on top of them. A carpet that is arranged to stand on one end crushes one side of the pile with the weight of the rest. Items on top of the rug can stress the backing and flatten the pile, causing creases in the rug when you unroll it. 

Don't load long rugs over other items, such as furniture or box piles, leaving on end of the rug hanging without any support. You don't want the rug to fold or curve in the middle — it should be supported evenly.


Finally, if you aren't moving directly to your new home, or if you want to wait for enough floor space to roll out your rugs again, make sure they are properly stored. Rugs should be supported in storage, but don't lay them directly on the floor. Lay down a layer of paper if you don't have a long enough shelf to hold your rug. 

Always get a temperature and moisture-controlled storage unit if you have delicate or antique rugs. Indoor facilities make pests less of a problem. Also, don't stack rugs on top of each other in storage — long-term crushing of a rolled rug can cause permanent damage. Make sure rugs are always stored out of direct sunlight to prevent uneven fading. 

For more information on moving and storage, contact us at Redondo Van & Storage.