How to Maintain a Vintage Rug in the Bathroom

Jun, 22, 2017
How to Maintain a Vintage Rug in the Bathroom

How to Maintain a Vintage Rug in the Bathroom

One thing I knew from the start of our bathroom renovation was that I wanted a gorgeous vintage rug. I didn’t think much about the upkeep or really anything else besides finding the perfect size and color that would go with my design. And then I found the most gorgeous one from Swoon Rugs and I was sold.

Our bathroom is definitely a high traffic area and with the moisture from the shower, our rug does undergo some minor wear and tear (as any rug would). I’ve gotten a ton of questions about how I keep it from getting moldy and smelly so I thought I’d share some tips with you today!

how to maintain a vintage rug in the bathroom

So I’ll admit, I’m no rug expert at all. I honestly didn’t really think much of it until I had a bunch of people ask me on instgram how I was taking care of it. I had to do some research and experimenting and these are just some things that worked for me.


Don’t use your gorgeous vintage rug as an actual bath mat. This is probably the first and most important thing you can do to maintain your rug. When you hop out of the shower or tub, you’re dripping wet (even if you do your best to dry off). So I bought a small little bath mat that we keep right outside the shower or tub so that all the access water that comes with us goes onto that instead of our vintage rug.

learn how to keep a vintage rug in the bathroom clean

I usually just keep it down there because we’re the only ones using the room anyway; but if it really bothered you, you could hang it up somewhere when you’re not using it. And I’ll just move it out of the way if I want to take a quick picture. And yes I’m sure some of the moisture from the bath mat seeps through onto the other rug but it’s not in direct contact with the water so it’s definitely keeping it more dry.


This is probably pretty obvious but vacuuming your rug regularly will keep it looking fresh and clean longer. The longer you let it collect dirt and dust, the harder it becomes to get it out. This is a pretty high traffic area for us, so I try and vacuum this guy at least once a week if not more. Make sure your vacuum is on the “bare floor” or “low carpet” setting to help it stay undamaged.

vintage runner in the bathroom


If you do get a stain on your rug that isn’t too terrible, immediately blot it with a damp, undyed cloth to get out as much liquid and dirt as possible. Once that’s dry, use hair shampoo since the protein of the wool is similar to human hair.

Make sure you don’t scrub, just blot, as that will cause the stain to penetrate more deeply into the wool. Then you can just elevate that part of the rug on top of something or drape it over a ledge to allow it to dry.

The great thing about most vintage rugs is that they have so much character and pattern to them that most small stains or imperfections go unnoticed. That doesn’t mean you should just ignore stains – but your rug has already survived years and years of wear and tear – it’s stronger than you think!

vintage rug next to the shower


If you get a really nasty stain on your rug that’s too big or too bad for you to handle, call a professional. It will be worth it for them to take care of the problem and get your rug back to you in great shape.

vintage runner in the bathroom

A lot of people question whether or not you should put a vintage rug in the bathroom but in all realty it’s one of the best places for it! Wool is one of the easiest rug materials to clean and is one of the most durable. It can totally withstand all the traffic, dirt and moisture that will come through a bathroom.

I know moisture is a big question for a lot of people but wool allows more air flow through it than most other materials, which is why it’s totally perfect for a bathroom. Just don’t get it sopping wet every day and you’ll be fine.

My friend Erin recently shared some great tips on how to wash your vintage rug that are totally worth checking out and my friend Cathy has even more tricks for buying and caring for vintage rugs.

So next time you’re questioning whether or not to buy that beautiful vintage rug for your bathroom, don’t think twice. You don’t have to sacrifice style for practicality.

In the market for a new rug? Check out Swoon Rugs and all her gorgeous beauties!



  1. Reply


    May 28, 2020

    Hey! Wondering where the dark grey bath mat is from?

    • Reply


      May 31, 2020


  2. Reply

    Patricia John

    March 31, 2019

    We share our home with vintage rugs dogs, cats and a host of friends. A good vacuuming, spot cleaning with mild dish soap and yearly trips to the cleaners works quite well. With fourteen rugs throughout the cabin we take one to the cleaners every month. Love you photo.

  3. Reply


    January 11, 2019

    I’ve seen this photo on several Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards and always LOVED it. What a joy to find its source! (And thank you for the very helpful information!)

    • Reply


      January 14, 2019

      Aw yay, so glad you found your way here!

  4. Reply

    Dallas rug cleaning near me

    March 19, 2018

    Simply mix a teaspoon of washing-up liquid, white vinegar, baking soda and warm water – baking soda and vinegar work really well together, removing any difficult stains quite quickly.

  5. Reply

    House Depot USA

    November 29, 2017

    Really amazed with the design and architecture of your bathroom. Your bathroom is just amazing. It’s bright and light. Amazing stuff you got there. But how do you handle bugs and other insects that loves to live in these type of rugs? Thanks. 🙂

  6. Reply


    July 17, 2017

    I am really glad to see and i was wondering! These really great work. it’s looks so gorgeous.

  7. Reply


    June 23, 2017

    I’ve heard lots of people that take them to the backyard to hose them off. For a larger rug, I’d definitely try that but totally agree on a sentimental rug… you might eventually have to have it professionally cleaned.

  8. Reply

    Pat M.

    June 22, 2017

    Thanks for the reminder of just how wonderful a job you did in redoing your bathroom. It definitely is right up there with any of the top well-known designer bathrooms. And the rug is beautiful.

    • Reply


      June 27, 2017

      Aw you’re so sweet, Pat. Thank you!

  9. Reply


    June 22, 2017

    I was actually wondering about this every time I saw this piece of glory on your pictures: “But what about the moisture?” Great advice! I doubt I’ll ever have a bathroom big enough to do justice to a vintage rug (which is totally fine by me) but at least now I can stop worrying about yours by proxy 😉

    • Reply


      June 27, 2017

      ha I totally didn’t even think about it at first but am glad it’s not a big issue!

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