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7 Ideas To Recycle A Rug

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Rugs are part of every decor theme and you can put them to good use to create a cozy place. But sooner or later the chic rugs will get old. Their colors fade and they lose their crisp patterns and designs. Blame it on the cat claws, the heavy foot traffic, or just the usual wear and tear. So you replace the old rugs with new ones. But what can you do with the old rugs? Are rugs recyclable?

Heavy-duty rugs can be recycled. With some creative ingenuity, you can turn the old rug into a tote bag or a car floor mat. Upcycle silk rugs into comfy pillow covers and downgrade the coarse rugs into car floor mats or use them as a cost-effective way to weatherproof the dog house. If you’re artistically inclined, you can paint the rugs or you could always sell them.

When it comes to recycling or upcycling your old rugs, the options are almost limitless. The handy rugs can serve any purpose and fill any need around the house. And if you’re emotionally attached to the rug or if it has some sentimental value for you, you can always hang it on the wall. Read more to find out the different ways you can recycle a rug.

Are Rugs Recyclable

Are Rugs Recyclable

Rugs are part and parcel of the modern home. Whether you live in a big house or a small one-bedroom apartment, you can’t call the place home unless you throw a few rugs in strategic spots around the place. And when the rug loses its colors or pile, you’re quick to replace it with a new rug that ties the room together. But before you throw the old rug out in the trash, take a few moments to consider its value.

Even if the rug is faded and probably frayed around the edges, there are still good parts of the rug that still look solid and can be repurposed around the house. Both the primary cloth and backcloth of the rug are sturdy and durable. So if you can trim off the worn-out bits, you can recycle your rug and bring it back to life in a different reincarnation.

Can You Recycle a Rug?

Can You Recycle a Rug

You can definitely recycle a rug if you stop looking at it as an old rug and start to see it instead as a valuable piece of thick tapestry that can be reshaped and crafted. And the more durable the materials of the rug, the more recyclable it is. A rug made of wool yarn for example is too good to be thrown away. The warm wool will warm your dog’s bed in the winter months if you cut the rug and use it as a dog bed cover.

Even low-cost rugs made from acrylic have a place in your car as floor mats or you can repurpose them into a Welcome mat at the front door. And if you have no time to repurpose your old rugs or real use for them, you can always donate them. Charity organizations will happily accept your rugs, refurbish them, and distribute them to homes that are in need of a cozy rug.

7 Ideas to Recycle a Rug

1. Paint Them

The first thing you can do about an old rug that has lost its colors is to paint it. Think of the rug as your canvas. A few brush strokes here and there, and you have a piece of art worthy of a place on the wall. But what if you don’t have the artistic inclination or skill to turn a faded rug into a work of art? You can let the professional do it.

Send the rug to a dye shop to get it repainted and dyed. Most often, you can choose the new design and set of colors you want for the rug. While this solution will cost you, the upside is, that you’ll have a brand new rug with bright colors that hide the worn parts. Hang it on the wall and save yourself some money on an expensive painting.

2. Make a Tote Bag

This idea works only on certain valuable rugs such as the ones made from wool or silk. The soft pile and attractive designs are too precious to just throw away. Cut the good pieces of the rug and sew them together to make a bag. A thin strap will serve as a handle for the bag. And now you have a chic tote bag that is durable and has cost you next to nothing. 

3. Make a Pillow Cover

Your old and worn-out silk rugs can be upcycled into a soft pillow cover especially if the rug is big enough. But even two or more small silk rugs can produce a single pillow cover. Make sure the rug has a long and thick pile that feels soft when you press your hand or face to it. Cut the good parts of the small rugs and sew them together. If you only have enough rug material for one side, use cloth for the other side. 

4. Make a Car Floor Mat

This idea doesn’t require much work. In fact, you can just pick the old rug off the floor, get it cleaned up, then throw it on the car floor. No further work is needed. If the rug is too big for the car floor, you can cut the big rug into two mats. Now, you don’t have to buy new floor mats for the car and your car has a homey feel.

5. Sell the Rug

People who don’t have time to repurpose their old rugs can still make some money out of them. If the rug is still in good shape or you think it has some value, simply put it up for sale. Yard sales and flea markets are good places to exchange your old rug for some hard cash. Online platforms are another option to sell your used stuff. Just upload images and a description of the rug to the website and set your asking price.

6. Weather-Proof the Dog-House

Your dog house is exposed to the elements. Whether you made it yourself or bought it from a store, chances are the kennel is not weather-proof. Use the old rugs that you no longer need to insulate the walls and the floor of the dog house.

Nail the rugs with a nail gun or glue them to the walls and floor to create a warm and cozy home for your best buddy.

7. As Floor Mats for Your Cat

Your cat has a way of ruining a wooden floor, pieces of furniture, and upholstery with its claws. They scratch on every surface either out of boredom or spite. You can repurpose an old rug into a cat scratcher. It’s a square piece that the cat can happily scratch away at and spare the furniture. If that doesn’t work, you can cut the rug into a few pieces and cover the cat’s favorite scratching spots.


Just because your precious rug has lost its sheen and become frayed in some places, that doesn’t mean it belongs in the trash can. You can upcycle the old rug into a pillow cover, or a tote bag, or get it dyed and hang it on the wall as a piece of art. For coarse rugs made of acrylic, you can repurpose them into car floor mats or use them as a welcome rug. 

If you have pets that contributed to ruining the rug in the first place, then use the old rug to warm the dog’s bed and insulate its dog house. It will also serve as a scratcher mat to keep your cat busy.

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