How to Flatten a Rug

Indoor/Outdoor Hand-loomed Rug in Silver

11 Proven Methods to Flatten Rug Corners and Remove Waves and Wrinkles

11 proven methods to flatten rug corners and remove waves and wrinkles

Before trying any of these methods, it's important to check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to determine the best method for flattening your rug. If the rug isn't colorfast, avoid using water or heat and opt for one of the alternative methods.

Moisture methods

1. Ice cubes and a heavy object

To flatten the corners of your rug, you can use a method that involves moisture, pressure, and time. First, place a few ice cubes on each corner of the rug, leaving an inch or two of the corner exposed. Then, put a heavy object over each corner to apply pressure on the corners as the ice melts and the moisture allows the fibers to relax. Leave the rug to dry overnight. Place a towel under each corner to prevent moisture damage to hardwood floors until the rug has dried completely.

2. Low-heat steaming

Heat and moisture are the most common and effective ways to smooth out rug creases and flatten curled corners. To do this, turn the rug over so the back side faces up. Cover the back of the rug with a damp towel and iron it with a clothes iron set on low heat. However, it is important to never place a hot iron directly on the rug as it may melt or damage the fibers or backing. Always use a towel or other fabric in between to prevent any damage.

3. Wrinkle release spray

Wrinkle-release sprays are specially formulated to relax fabric fibers and help remove wrinkles. If you have a bumpy or wavy rug, you can use an upholstery-safe wrinkle-releasing spray to help flatten it out. Simply apply the spray evenly across the entire rug and allow it to dry completely. It's important to let the rug dry flat; this process can take up to 24 hours.

Wool Rug in Oatmeal

Weight methods

4. Weighted rug corners
Rug corner weights are specially designed weights with adhesive on one side and typically an anti-slip material on the other. They can be placed underneath the corners of a rug to weigh them down and keep them in place. To use them, you simply peel off the backing, place the adhesive side on the back of the rug corner, and lay it flat. These weights can be easily purchased online and can cost anywhere between $15 to $50, depending on the brand.

5. DIY rug corners
If you're looking for an affordable solution to keep your rug corners flat, you can use peel-and-stick vinyl tiles. Simply cut each tile in half diagonally, remove the backing, and apply the adhesive side of the tile to the back of the rug corner. This should help prevent the corners from curling upwards. Self-adhesive vinyl floor tiles can be purchased from any major hardware store or online for as little as $1 per tile.

Adhesive methods

6. Rug tape
Adhesive-based rug tapes are a functional solution to prevent rug corners from curling and keep your rug in place. It’s important to choose an adhesive tape specifically designed for use with rugs, as this can help prevent damage to the rug fibers. Rug tape is most suitable for use on hard floors. 

7. Rug pad grippers
An effective way to prevent rug curling and wrinkling is with rug pad grippers. These grippers utilize hook-and-loop pads or Velcro that adhere to the bottom of your rug corners and the rug pad to keep them attached. The weight of the rug pad helps to keep the corners flat and prevent the rug from shifting or moving when walked on or when furniture is moved. You can purchase rug grippers online, and their prices range from $5 to $15. 

8. Non-slip adhesive floor grippers
For curling rugs on a hard floor, consider a non-slip floor gripper. These grippers have an adhesive side that sticks to the corners of your rug and a non-slip side that helps keep the rug in place on hard surfaces. Non-slip grippers can lose their effectiveness if the floor or the gripper gets dusty. Keeping the non-slip side of the grip clean is recommended to help it maintain its grip. Non-slip adhesive floor grippers can be easily purchased online for around $5 to $10.

Wool Flatweave Rug in Sand

Other methods

9. Reverse rolling
A simple, effective, and non-adhesive way to remove creases, curls, and ripples on a wavy rug is to reverse-roll it. You can do this by flipping the rug over and rolling it in the opposite direction of the creases. Keep the rug rolled up for a few hours to help relax the rug fibers. After that, unroll it, flip it over, and lay it out flat. If the curls and ripples are still present, repeat this process to allow the rug fibers to relax.

10. Rug pins
Rug pins are a great way to keep your area rugs in place without using adhesives. They are ideal for use over wall-to-wall carpeting and have a sharp tack on one side that can be pushed through the rug and carpet. Once in place, the pin can be pressed at a 45-degree angle to anchor the rug to the carpet securely. The top of the pin is blunt and smooth, so there's no risk of being poked when walking over the rug. Rug pins are available both online and in some hardware stores and typically cost around $20 per pack.

11. Non-adhesive slip-resistant rug pad
Slip-resistant rug pads are a great solution for keeping your rug in place while reducing bunching and buckling. These pads are available in a variety of materials, and choosing the right one depends on your rug material and the type of flooring you're placing it on. Some rug pads combine multiple materials to provide cushion underfoot and slip resistance. If you're looking for a rug pad for hard floors, consider using a combination of felt and rubber, as the felt may cling better to the rug's backing, while the rubber bottom provides better slip resistance on hard surfaces. Rug pads are widely available and in a range of prices that depend on both materials and size.

Performance Luster Rug in Indigo

Frequently asked questions

Why does a new rug curl?
If you're wondering why your rug won't stay flat, there could be a few reasons behind it. For a new rug, the most common cause of curled corners is the memory of the rug fibers from being rolled and stored. Rugs are usually rolled and stored with the tufted side facing inward. When exposed to warm temperatures, they can develop memory in the material and create creases and bumps when unrolled. Rugs that have been recently cleaned may also develop bumps and creases. Over time, rugs will naturally relax, but if you're short on time and want to install the rug quickly, try one of the above methods to remove the waves, wrinkles, and curls.

How do I flatten a buckled rug?
If you have a rug that has started to buckle due to shifting furniture or high traffic, the easiest way to fix it is by pulling the rug back on itself and then rolling it out again to stretch out the ripple. If the rug has formed a crease, you can use the low-heat steam method mentioned above to gently press the crease back out. It is best to remove your furniture before attempting this method.

How long does it take for a new rug to stop curling?
Generally, it can take up to two weeks for a rug to flatten out on its own. Because area rugs are typically rolled to protect the fibers from damage during storage and transit, the material can develop curls as it is unrolled. Rugs will naturally flatten over time, but it can take several weeks for them to flatten out fully.

Can you iron a rug to flatten it?
Yes, however, it is important to avoid placing a hot iron directly on a rug to prevent heat damage. Always use a towel or other fabric as a protective layer before steaming ironing a rug.

Shop Popular Styles

See all