Rugs add so much beauty and warmth to our homes. But you can’t stuff area rugs into a moving box. So, how do you safely pack a rug that’s a treasured family heirloom or an expensive long-term investment? Even though you only need two essential supplies to pack your rugs, there’s more to know to prepare a rug for moving or storage properly.

 Moving Supplies You’ll Need to Pack a Rug

  • Brown Kraft paper or a clean bed linen
  • Twine or movers’ wrap

Steps for Packing a Rug for a Move

1. Thoroughly vacuum the rug

Pet hair, house dander, and food spills are not friends to packed up rugs. Carefully vacuum the carpet to remove all dirt. In step 4, you’ll clean the underside of the rug.

2. Spot clean

If you notice stains after vacuuming, use a clean rag and gentle cleaner to remove them. This step is particularly crucial if your rug will be going into storage. If you spot clean, make sure that the carpet is completely dry before rolling it. If your rug is especially valuable, it will be worthwhile to have it professionally cleaned. Professional rug cleaners carefully wrap rugs after cleaning them, so if you opt for cleaning, you’ll save yourself the wrapping process.

3. Verify the direction of the rug’s nap

Unless you’re moving a flat weave rug like a kilim, following this step is crucial for pile rugs because when you begin rolling your carpet, you’ll want to roll it against the direction of the nap. How do you determine the nap’s direction? Rub your hand slowly back and forth over the rug’s surface. In one direction, the fibers will resist your hand’s movement, but in the other direction, the fibers will feel smooth. The smooth movement indicates the direction of the nap.

4. Turn the rug upside down to vacuum and prepare to roll

Take the time to vacuum the underside of the rug. It’s surprising how much gunk can accumulate under a carpet, especially if you have pets. After cleaning the backside, leave the rug upside down to start rolling. Why do you want your rug to be facedown when you roll it? If you roll a pile rug with the pile facing up, it adds extra strain and pressure to the rug’s backing. This pressure can stretch or crack the backing.

5. Roll the rug

When the rug is thoroughly dry, lay it upside down on a flat surface. Smooth out any warps or creases and start rolling with the nap pointing toward you – this means you’ll be turning the rug against the direction of the nap. Roll slowly and evenly, creating a cylinder.

For a carpet sized 10’x13’ or over, moving it can be more manageable if you fold it before rolling. Follow the previous four steps, then fold the rug into thirds, just as you would if folding a letter in thirds to fit into an envelope. Once you fold the rug, then roll it against the direction of the nap. Note that some experts advise against folding a fine rug. Consult an expert who knows about your type of rug if you have questions.

6. Tie the rug with twine

Twine is an excellent choice to tie your rug with because it has some give and won’t put too much pressure on the carpet at the secured points. Tie each end to secure the carpet. Alternatively, secure the roll by wrapping movers’ wrap around each end of the rug. Don’t wrap packing tape around your rolled-up rug, as this may damage the fibers.

7. Wrap the rug

Wrap the rug entirely with heavy brown Kraft paper. Allow the Kraft paper to overlap the rug ends by a good eight inches. Fold the excess paper at the ends into the inside cylinder of the rug. Alternatively, you can wrap the rug in an old (but clean) bed linen. Either option will protect the rug from any dirt or dust on the moving van and from the moving process itself. Avoid using any kind of plastic when wrapping your rug. Plastic, like plastic rug bags, will trap moisture and encourage a breeding ground for mold and mildew.