Here's How to Pack A Rug for Moving

Packing and moving a rug is easier than you think

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Updated July 29, 2022
A father and his daughter playing with blocks on a rug
Photo: SolStock / E+ / Getty Images


Simple project; big impact.

Time to complete

20 minutes



Keep it wallet-friendly.

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What you'll need:


  • Scissors
  • Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment or round dust brush
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Wet vac, steam cleaner, or pressure cleaner


  • Rope or heavy-duty string
  • Kraft paper or plain newsprint
  • Rug detergent or DIY cleaning solution

Once you’ve loaded your belongings and furniture into the moving truck, it’s time to pack up your area rugs. But rugs can be awkward, bulky, and intimidating to move. And if done incorrectly, you can damage or even ruin your rug during the moving process. 

Luckily, there are only a few steps required to successfully move an area rug and it’s fairly easy to complete. Check out these five moving steps for packing and moving your rug in the easiest and most effective way.

Prepping to Pack a Rug

You may be shocked to discover how much dust, debris, and food is trapped in your rug. Before you start the packing process, it’s important that you clean your area rug to prevent bringing allergens into your new home. If you use a wet vac or steam cleaner, make sure to let the rug dry completely before moving on.

If your area rug is an antique or extra delicate, like a Persian rug, you may consider hiring a professional carpet cleaner to give it a thorough clean. This additional step can give you peace of mind during the moving and unpacking process, knowing your rug is safe and ready for your new space. 

5 Steps to Packing a Rug for Moving

A young couple packing a rug
Photo: Drazen_ / E+ / Getty Images
  1. Turn the Rug Upside Down

    First things first: Ensure your floor is clean before tackling the first step, as this could negate your entire preparation process. Then, turn the rug over so the rug pile side is facing down. This step will help prevent the backing from overstretching and cracking. 

  2. Roll the Rug Tight

    Starting from the shorter side, roll the carpet against the grain of the pile. Do this action slowly, taking time to ensure that the roll is as tight as possible.

    To find the direction of the nap or rug pile, run your hand over the area rug’s surface. One direction will feel smooth and the other will give you resistance. The direction that gives you resistance is the direction you should roll. 

  3. Tie Rug With Rope or String

    Once the rug is rolled as tightly as possible, wrap both ends with a piece of rope or heavy-duty string. Make sure it’s tight enough to keep the roll together but not so tight that it leaves an indentation. 

    Do not use packing tape to secure the rolled area rug, as this could lead to irreversible damage when trying to remove it.

  4. Wrap the Rug

    Use kraft paper or plain newsprint (no ink) to wrap your rug. The thick layer of paper will act as a protective barrier between your rug and the moving truck. It’ll also allow you to place it on the ground as necessary during the moving process without worrying about it getting dirty. If you don’t have kraft packing paper, you can also wrap your rug using old bedsheets or quilts, which is cost-effective when moving several large area rugs.

    Contrary to popular belief, you should not use traditional plastic wrap to wrap your rug. Plastic wrap can trap moisture and lead to mold or mildew. When you see rugs wrapped in plastic at the store, they’re wrapped using special plastic bags that have air vents that let moisture out. You can use these if you want to purchase them from a specialty store.

  5. Store the Rug Horizontally

    Place your wrapped rug in the horizontal position in the moving truck, as the upright position can cause irreversible damage. When the rug is horizontal for long periods of time, it starts to bend, creating permanent creases. It’s always best to store a rug rolled up and lying flat on its side.

    Ensure not to stack anything on top of your rug, as heavy boxes and items could permanently harm your rug’s structure. It’s helpful to lay your rugs down along the sides of the moving truck so they don’t take up too much space. You might also be able to carefully place your rug on top of your items, but the entire surface must be flat.

    You don’t want the rug hanging off of anything, as it could create a permanent bend or crease. We also recommend tying your rug in place with a rope or string so it doesn’t roll around when the truck is traveling. When moving antique or delicate area rugs, make sure the temperature isn’t too hot and the truck is well-ventilated.

  6. Unpack the Rug

    Bring the rug out of the truck and into the room where you’ll be using it or store it in another clean, dry space. Keep your rug rolled up and lying down horizontally on its side until you’re ready to unroll it.

    Use a pair of scissors to cut the rope or string that kept the rug rolled up. Be careful not to cut the rug or its fibers. Slowly unroll the rug. The floor space should be free of boxes and furniture, allowing you to position the rug how you’d like it. 

  7. Clean and Flatten the Rug

    If the corners or other parts of your rug curled during the move, place furniture or heavy boxes in those areas to help flatten the rug. You may want to vacuum the rug to give it a fresh start in its new home, especially if you notice any debris. 

DIY Moving a Rug vs. Hiring a Pro

As you can see, packing a rug isn’t too complicated—but it does take a bit of time and patience. If you’re unsure of your ability to tackle this on your own or have an expensive or antique rug that may require more care, consider hiring local movers instead. They have experience with a wide variety of rug types and are knowledgeable in packing and storage. 

While the cost to hire movers will be more than doing it on your own, they’ll usually guarantee the cost up to a certain amount, giving you even greater peace of mind during the moving process.

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