With winter approaching, it’s time to prepare your fall rugs for storage and make room for thicker rugs that will warm your home during the colder months. Proper storage is crucial to prolonging the life of your natural fiber rug, and if stored poorly, the rug will be susceptible to damage from moisture and bugs like carpet beetles and moths. To ensure your rug stays in top condition while out of use for the season, follow these steps when preparing it for storage.

1. Give your rug a thorough cleaning

Before placing your rug in storage, make sure the rug is clean first. Use a suction-only vacuum on both sides of the rug to pick up any dirt present. Fortunately, natural fiber rugs keep dirt loose on the surface so a quick vacuuming should do the trick. Never use a steam cleaner, wet shampoo or any cleaning method involving water to clean a natural fiber rug.

2. Roll the rug instead of folding

To prolong the life of your rug while in storage, you should roll it into a cylinder instead of folding it. The top of the rug, or the pile, should face outward when rolling so that the bottom will be hidden on the inside of the roll (reverse-rolled). This will place less stress on the foundation fibers and help them last longer.

3. Wrap the rug for protection

Before putting your rug in storage, wrap it to prevent dust from accumulating and keep bugs from making your rug their new home. Kraft paper or Tyvek wrapping are the best options for wrapping since both materials are durable and breathable. Plastic wrapping, although convenient, should not be used. Plastic is not breathable and will trap moisture, causing damage to the rug’s natural fibers.

4. Store off the floor

Once your rug has been cleaned, rolled and wrapped, it should be stored off the floor and in a climate-controlled area. Keeping the rug off the floor will prevent damage in case of flooding and make it more difficult for bugs and rodents to get inside. If possible, the rug should also be stored upright instead of laying down.

If you follow these steps, you can trust your rug will be in great shape when you’re ready to use it again.