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3 Types of Rugs That Are Safe for Vinyl Plank Flooring

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Many interior designers and decor enthusiasts think rugs on vinyl plank flooring is just an overkill. Vinyl flooring is beautiful enough without the need for rugs. But, these are just decor guidelines.

If you want to put rugs on your vinyl flooring to add a splash of color, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it. The question is which rugs are safe for vinyl plank flooring.

There are 3 types of rugs that you can use safely with vinyl plank flooring: cotton-back rugs, handwoven rugs, and colorfast rugs. Notice how each type has a soft underside and is chemical-free. These are the rugs that will not interact with the vinyl flooring or leave undesired imprints that are hard to remove. 

But there’s more to placing a rug on a vinyl plank flooring than just the type of rug. Read on to find out about the safest rugs to use and which ones to avoid with this particular flooring.

Which Rugs Are Safe for Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Gray pattern-designed rug on vinyl plank flooring

When it comes to choosing a rug for your vinyl plank flooring, the rule of thumb is to pick a rug made of natural fibers. Natural fibers such as wool and cotton are gentle on the flooring and won’t leave marks on the vinyl or scratch it beyond repair. So, if you want to remove the rugs and reveal the beauty of the vinyl, the flooring will still look as good as new. 

In that respect, the 3 safe rug types you can use on your vinyl plank flooring are the following:

Cotton-backed Rugs

Cotton is a natural and soft material that has no chemicals that go into processing it. A cotton-backed rug, such as Chardin, doesn’t interact with the vinyl or change its color. It’s also safe to use a cotton-back rug in areas that get a lot of heavy foot traffic. 

The rug will absorb any friction and prevent scratches on the vinyl. So, in a way, it will protect the flooring.

Handwoven Rugs

When looking for handwoven rugs, make sure that the materials that go into the rug are all natural ones. These materials include cotton, hemp, bamboo, wool, and seagrass. None of these materials have chemicals that can have adverse effects on the flooring or cause scratches. This is especially true since these types of rugs don’t have any backs. 

Some handwoven rugs have sisal jute in them. This material is scratchy and rough, which can damage the vinyl flooring. For the best hand woven rugs for your flooring, we recommend the Safavieh Natural Fiber, the Cotton Buffalo Plaid Rug, and the Ukeler Plaid Rug, among others.

Colorfast Rugs

Colorfast or non-staining are two keywords that should guide your search for the perfect rug that is safe to use on vinyl plank flooring. Keep in mind that “safe for hardwood” is not the same as “safe for vinyl flooring.” Vinyl is more sensitive than hardwood and is vulnerable to scratches and harmful chemicals in the rug.

The problem with colorfast rugs is that they’re not easy to find. They’re both rare and extra expensive. However, if you do find one, it will be the best option for your vinyl flooring. Even with its high price tag, a colorfast rug is a good investment and is known for its longevity and durability.

Do You Need a Rug Pad with Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Rug pad on vinyl flooring

When you find the right rug for your vinyl plank flooring, but you’re still not sure if the rug is safe for your flooring, then a rug pad will put your mind at ease. Even if the rug is vinyl-safe, a rug pad will give your flooring extra protection against a rug without any backing. There’s also a visual appeal to a rug pad that will make the rug look more plush and luxurious.

In addition, the rug pad gives the rug more traction. If you’re worried about the slippery vinyl flooring, the rug pad will keep the rug in place and prevent slipping and tripping over it. And, even if the vinyl-safe rug is a little thin, the rug pad will make it more comfortable to walk on due to the extra few inches of thickness it adds.

Can You Use Rubber-Backed Rugs on Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Rubber-backed rug

Although rubber is a natural material, the material gets tainted with chemicals during processing. Therefore, rubber-backed rugs are not safe to use on vinyl plank flooring. The chemicals in the rubber can interact with the vinyl, causing color fading and leaving marks that are hard to wash away.

So, there’s a good chance that the rubber-backed rugs would stain the floor. These stains are the result of chemical interactions and become a permanent feature of the flooring. This will force you to cover that stain with a rug all the time.

Can I Use a Felt Rug Pad on Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Felt rug pads use natural materials to make the felt. In general, felt is a textile material that could contain any type of natural fibers. These fibers range from cotton and wool to animal fur. Sometimes, other materials made of wood pulp or acrylic go into making felt. None of these materials contain chemicals that can interact with vinyl flooring.

So, you can use a felt rug pad on vinyl plank flooring under your rug. The rug pad will not discolor the floor or cause any stains. Also, it will protect the flooring from coarse rugs, such as jute rugs that don’t have a back. Some suitable felt rug pads for your vinyl plank flooring include Mohawk Home Ultra Premium, Mayshine Basics, and Non-Slip Rug Gripper, among others.

Will Area Rugs Damage Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Rug on living area with vinyl plank flooring

The rules that apply to vinyl-safe rugs are the same guidelines you should adhere to when choosing area rugs. Watch out for the back of the area rug. If it’s made of synthetic materials such as rubber that contain chemicals, then the area rug will certainly damage your vinyl plank flooring and cause discoloration. 

If the area rug doesn’t have a back at all, such as one made of jute, then it’s not safe to use on your vinyl flooring. One way around this is to use a rug pad made of natural materials under the jute rug. This will cushion the rug and protect the vinyl flooring at the same time.

How to Clean Your Vinyl-Safe Rugs and Rug Pads

Cleaning a rug using a vacuum

No matter what your vinyl-safe rug or rug pad is made of, you still need to keep it clean to prevent dust and debris build-up which could cause damage to the vinyl plank flooring. To keep your rug clean, you should vacuum it on a weekly basis. This will remove the dirt, debris, and dust. If it gets stained with any chemicals, take it off the floor immediately and get it cleaned up. 

As for the rug pad, it also needs the occasional cleaning. Shake it up once or twice a month to get rid of any dust and dirt. You should also vacuum it every season to remove all the tiny particles and spores that cause mold.


When using rugs on your vinyl plank flooring, you need to make sure the rugs are safe for this type of flooring. Cotton-backed, handwoven, and colorfast rugs are the three safest rug types for vinyl flooring. These natural materials are soft on the flooring and don’t contain chemicals that can interact with the vinyl, leave marks, or discolor it.

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