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Updated July 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best kitchen rugs

A kitchen rug can be an attractive addition to a kitchen, but you might not think you need one. Isn’t a kitchen floor made of wood, vinyl, or tile easier to care for without a rug? You might think kitchen rugs get in the way or are a hassle to clean. But there are some advantages to using one.

Consider your kitchen floor. The wood, tile, stone, or even cement can be cold underfoot. Some hard surfaces like cement are uncomfortable to stand on for long periods while cooking or cleaning up. Perhaps your kitchen décor just looks incomplete. If any of these describe your situation, you might want a kitchen rug.

In a room where you spend a lot of time standing, a rug just feels better on your feet. In a room prone to spilled water or grease, a rug can absorb liquids that would otherwise pose a slipping hazard. In a room full of hard surfaces, a rug can soften not just the feel but also the noise. If you’re looking for a kitchen rug, a good buying guide and recommendations can help.

Kitchen rugs with rubber backing 
Rugs with rubber backing can be washed, but don’t use chlorine-based bleach because it will degrade the rubber. 

How to buy the best kitchen rug

Materials

Rubber or vinyl: Anti-fatigue mats are popular kitchen rugs. They have a smooth or textured outer covering and a foam or gel core to provide a thick cushion underfoot. They should be at least 3/8 inch thick and soft enough to relieve fatigue but not so soft that you lose your balance.You should be able to stand comfortably on the mat for at least 90 minutes. Many of these thick mats have beveled edges to reduce the risk of tripping.

Natural fibers: Sisal, jute, seagrass, and coir are good choices for kitchen rugs because they are durable, naturally stain resistant, and can be cleaned by shaking, beating, or vacuuming. These fibers tend to fade and age gracefully, which is part of their charm. You can also find kitchen mats made of spill- and stain-resistant bamboo slats that also feel good underfoot.

Fabric: Cotton, wool, and synthetic (polyester, polypropylene, PVC, and so on) kitchen rugs generally have a surface of loops or tufts over one or two layers of backing and are comfortable to stand on. Some are flat-woven on a loom and lack any backing. Many of these rugs are made of stain-resistant or grease-repellent synthetic fibers. Flat-woven rugs are very popular, and many of the cotton ones are machine washable. However, without a backing or rug pad, they tend to slip.

Color and pattern

What color you choose for your rug depends on the design and décor of your kitchen. Keep in mind that a colorful or busy pattern can hide dirt, stains, and spills more easily, which is a desirable quality in this room. If you choose a simple pattern or solid, darker and warmer colors are good at hiding food stains. Traditional patterned rugs can work well in the kitchen because their complex designs effectively hide dirt, stains and wear.

Size

Like all rugs, a kitchen rug should fit the space. Many kitchen rugs in particular come as small mats or long runners. Mats are best used in front of a work area, such as the stove or sink. A runner can stretch the length of a work area and is perfectly suited to smaller galley kitchens. Larger kitchens can fit larger area rugs. You might also want to consider a set that includes a runner and one or two mats.

Sisal is a fiber made from the leaves of a species of agave. Native to Mexico, it’s one of the strongest fibers in nature. It is naturally pale, but it can be dyed.

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Features to look for in kitchen rugs

Care

Of all the rugs and carpets you use in your home, probably none benefit more from being washable than your kitchen rug. Some indoor-outdoor rugs can be cleaned with a hose. A rug that can simply be tossed in the washing machine and dried in the dryer is much more convenient than a rug that needs to be spot cleaned or requires special care. A rug with a rubber or other heat-sensitive backing can’t go in the dryer. If convenience is what you’re looking for, check for a machine-washable, dryer-safe kitchen rug.

Spill and stain protection

Dropped and spilled foods and drinks are inevitable in any kitchen. The ability to absorb spills is one of the most important features of a kitchen rug because spills can be slipping hazards and damage hardwood flooring. 

Because kitchen rugs have to absorb spills, they should also be somewhat stain-resistant even if they’re washable. One type to consider is an indoor-outdoor rug made of polypropylene.

Anti-slip

While kitchen spills pose a slipping and falling hazard, a loose rug that isn’t anchored to the floor also poses a slipping hazard. A kitchen rug should be made of heavy fibers that won’t shift easily or have some sort of anti-slip backing like rubber or latex. A rug pad, especially one with adhesive properties rather than just cushioning, is highly recommended for all kitchen rugs, especially flat-woven ones.

Anti-fatigue

Standing for long periods on a hard floor is tiring, and you’ll probably feel it not only in your feet but also in your back, shoulders, and neck. Most kitchen rugs at a minimum provide a more comfortable surface to stand on than hard flooring. But ergonomic anti-fatigue mats offer cushioning as well as encourage micromovements that keep the blood flowing and muscles and joints activated to minimize fatigue. 

st1-Kitchen rug sizes  
Staff Tip
A good rule of thumb for size is that the edges of a kitchen rug should be less than 6 inches from the cabinets or appliances and take up at least two-thirds of the width of the floor.
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Accessories for cleaning your kitchen rug

Vacuum

Woven rugs and mats always benefit from being vacuumed. It’s generally recommended that you use a vacuum cleaner on your kitchen rugs at least once a week. Natural fiber rugs, such as those made of jute or sisal, are hard to clean by other means and should be vacuumed regularly.

Stain protection

If your kitchen rug isn’t made of a stain-resistant material (or even if it is), you might want to treat it with a stain-repellent spray. Rugs designed for kitchen use often advertise the ability to resist stains, but an additional coat adds a layer of protection. 

Stain remover

If you’ve stained your kitchen rug and spot-cleaning doesn’t work, you can try a stain remover or carpet cleaning solution. Be sure to check that the solution is suitable for the rug’s material.

Jute comes from flowering plants found in India and Bangladesh. Although it’s often spun into coarse threads for rugs, jute is actually one of the softest plant fibers.

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How much do kitchen rugs cost?

Inexpensive

You can find budget kitchen rugs that cost less than $30. These rugs do the job and are great for renters and anyone who doesn’t want to break the bank, especially if you don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Mid-range

These rugs cost between $30 and $100. You’ll find them in a range of materials. This price also includes affordable sets that include a runner and a mat. You can find good anti-fatigue and ergonomic mats in this price range too.

Expensive

Kitchen rugs that cost $100 to $300 come from designer shops and brands. They boast premium materials, weaves, and designs and often offer noteworthy features like excellent stain resistance and washability.

Tips

  • Position the rug for optimal use. In a galley kitchen, place the runner closer to the sink if your kitchen is wide. Center the runner if the kitchen is narrow.
  • Vacuum the top and bottom of the rug. To vacuum all the dirt out of your kitchen rug, first vacuum the top, flip the rug over and vacuum the bottom. Carefully lift the rug and vacuum the loosened dirt and top of the rug again.
  • Keep the rug dry. Absorbing spills is one function of a kitchen rug, but don’t leave the rug wet. This is especially important for a rug made of natural fibers like jute or coir, which can harbor mold and mildew if left damp.
  • Spot clean your rug. Most spills can be spot cleaned from kitchen rugs and mats. A simple way is to dip a clean, colorfast rag or kitchen towel in a solution of water and dish soap. Gently blot the rug with the rag to lift the stain from the fibers. 
Kitchen rug colors  
Light-colored rugs, rugs with a high pile, and faux fur or fleece rugs, are not the best choices for the kitchen. They attract and show dirt and spills and are harder to keep clean.

FAQ

Q. Do kitchen rugs go in front of the stove or the sink?

A. If you only have the space or budget for one kitchen rug, place it where you spend the most time, whether that’s the stove, sink, or counter. However, if you have the space, consider getting two or three rugs or mats, one for each place, or a rug that’s large enough to fit all of them.

Q. Is an indoor-outdoor rug a good choice for a kitchen?

A. Yes. Many indoor-outdoor rugs are made of polypropylene or a similar material. They’re attractive, stain-resistant, come in numerous styles, and can be spot cleaned and even hosed off. They’re typically not machine washable or dryable, however.

Q. How often should I wash my kitchen rug?

A. Once a week if possible. If you have a machine-washable rug, use cold water and the delicate cycle so as not to damage the fibers or backing. Also, make sure to use liquid detergent. Detergent powder can get trapped in the rug fibers.

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