Rug runners are long, narrow rugs that are several times longer than they are narrow. They tend to be rectangular and are often placed in areas of high traffic — hallways, staircases, and kitchens. Rug runners can provide a splash of color or pattern, and because of their shape, they tend to fit in spaces that might be ill-fitted to a regular rug.

At the same time, because they’re often placed in areas of high foot traffic, rug runners are also a protective feature. In kitchens with hardwood floors, they protect the wood itself from spills and scratches. But most importantly, a kitchen rug runner also softens the surface underfoot and provides a more comfortable standing surface. Professional chefs will be the first to tell you that restaurant kitchens keep rubber mats near their stoves — partly to protect against falls, and partly to provide a softer surface to those who stand by the stove for hours at a time.

While you might not be in your kitchen for eight hours a day, a rug runner along your kitchen provides relief to your feet, knees, and back as you prepare dinner or wash the dishes. This reduces the stress on pressure points in your body, and a kitchen runner specially made to reduce fatigue is a must-have for anyone who spends time in the kitchen. With a softer surface underfoot, your knees and feet will thank you.

Where you place your kitchen rug runner is up to you, but we recommend areas of high traffic — near the sink, along a kitchen island, or in a kitchen entryway.

Can You Wash a Rug Runner in the Washing Machine?

Can you wash a rug runner in the washing machine?

Kitchen rug runners are an attractive addition because they trap dirt and debris before you track it into the rest of the house — but that means they need cleaning too. Whether or not you can clean your rug runner in the washing machine depends on several factors, including what it’s made of, whether it has a rubber backing, and how the manufacturer recommends cleaning it.

Cotton rugs without rubber backing tend to be safe to toss into the washing machine. Several of the rugs below are advertised as washing-machine friendly. If you choose to wash your rug in the laundry machine, make sure to put the runner in a laundry bag to protect the fabric.

You’ll also want to wash it on the coldest setting you’re comfortable with, then hang it outside to dry; we do not recommend putting your rug in the dryer. Keep in mind that washing a rug in the laundry machine may decrease the lifespan of the rug. This is because over time the color of the rug can start to fade, and the fabric can get weaker from being tossed around in the machine.

For rugs that are too delicate for the washing machine or for those made with rubber backing, opt for a different cleaning routine. We recommend vacuuming your rug weekly, then spot cleaning it with rug shampoo as needed. You might also choose to shake it outside or use a stiff brush to tackle areas with ingrained dirt.

The Best Rug Runners For Your Kitchen

Hand-Woven Boho Tassled Rug Runner by Idee-Home

Boho tassled rug runner by Idee-Home.

This simple, stylish rug is available in two sizes and several colors. Pair this rug with bohemian, earthy, or minimalist decor. Made from a blend of cotton, polyester, and viscose, this rug runner is both pretty to look at and durable. Best of all, it’s also machine-washable.

Most customers recommended purchasing a grip mat or non-slip backing for the rug to prevent it from sliding. They also commented that the rug held up incredibly well, even in households with cats and dogs. Many reviewers loved the bohemian and modern style that blended in nicely with their decor.

Love it? Click here to buy now.

Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mat by Hebe

Anti-fatigue kitchen mat by Hebe.

This cushioned mat is an ideal option for those with joint or back pain because it’s made from more than half an inch of polyurethane gel foam. This helps to reduce the pressure on your feet and ankles, while also reducing stress in your knees and back. Opt for this mat if you cook regularly and spend a lot of time in your kitchen.

It’s also waterproof, so unlike other fabrics, it will not absorb moisture or oil. Slip-resistant padding protects against slipping even on damp surfaces, while the edges are tapered to reduce the likelihood of tripping. It’s not machine washable, however, so to clean it you’ll have to either vacuum it, sweep, or clean it with a damp cloth.

Reviewers gave this kitchen mat an average of 4.5 stars. They raved about the durability and reported that it doesn’t slide, is very easy to clean, and significantly reduced their discomfort when standing. Others used it to protect floors from spills or dropped items. One or two people noted that they’re not as thick as some similar kitchen mats, so just be aware of the thickness before you buy.

To learn more, click here.

Ultra-Thin Kitchen Rug Runner with Non-Slip Rubber Backing by Shape28

Ultra thin long kitchen rug runner by Shape28.

This non-slip rug is available in several colors and designs, with options for bright shades or neutral colors. Crafted from soft microfiber, it’s also backed with a slip-resistant rubber to prevent sliding. The microfiber provides comfort and reduces the strain on your feet.

These rugs are machine-washable or may be spot cleaned with warm water and a mild detergent for easy cleanup. They also air-dry quickly, so there’s no need to put them through the dry cleaner.

One previous buyer with pets noted that it is also water resistant and held up well to accidents. Several people were also pleased that it doesn’t slip and provides an extra layer of protection for their floors.

Ready to buy? Click here.

Memory Foam Rug Runner Mat by Kmat

Memory foam kitchen rug runner by Kmat.

These mats are made from cushioned, slow-rebound memory foam. The thick, lush feel to them will make standing at the counter more comfortable.  They’re also backed with PVC dots and a rubber backing to prevent slipping. To make your life easier, you can toss it in the washing machine, or if you prefer to simply spot clean it that will work as well.

This rug runner received rave reviews for the superior level of comfort. Several people also noted that they really don’t slip at all. Although this rug runner is listed as machine washable, it may be safer to clean this one by hand; one reviewer commented that it didn’t hold up well in the washing machine.

To see pricing, click here.

Boho Reversible Rug Runner by Secret Sea

Boho colorful kitchen rug by Secret Sea.

Stylish, colorful, and bold – this rug runner is patterned in bright colors and bohemian designs. It’s also reversible, so you can flip it over for different colors. They are low-pile and made from acrylic and cotton. It’s important to note, however, that they’re only machine washable in water less than 86 degrees.

Reviewers raved about the vibrant colors and style. It’s recommended to purchase a non-slip pad separately to put underneath this rug, otherwise it may be prone to moving here and there.

To read the latest reviews, click here.

Modern Checkered Rug Runner by Ustide

Black and white checkered kitchen rug runner by Ustide.

This is a stylish patterned rug for your kitchen or entryway. Available in several sizes and colors, it can fit many different types of decor from minimalist to modern. They’re made from cotton, polyester, and viscose, so they are suitable for both indoors and outdoors. They are advertised as being machine washable, so it’s up to you whether you want to spot clean them or throw them in the machine.

Many customers purchased this rug runner to layer underneath a jute rug in an entryway, but the variety of sizes means they can adapt to different areas, including kitchens. Many people tended to add a non-slip mat underneath for extra stability.

Love it? Click here to buy now.

2-Piece Kitchen Rug Set by Carvapet

Two-piece kitchen rug set by Carvapet.

This purchase comes with two rugs, one sized 18 x 59 inches and the other 18 x 30 inches. They’re available with three different kitchen quotes and patterns, and each is backed with non-slip backing. For this set, it’s best to opt for spot cleaning or vacuuming only.

Reviewers loved the style of patterns. One customer noted that the mats “…have survived my kids and my dog, and they still look great.” It’s hard to beat that with any rug these days! This kitchen rug set is certainly a chic, fun addition to your home.

To learn more, click here.

Tasseled Decorative Rug Runner by Idee-Home

Tassled boho rug by Idee-Home.

Add this rug to your kitchen for a touch of boho vibes. Each cotton woven rug is laced with a diamond geometric design that’s pleasing to the eye. They’re machine washable, but may last longer if you wash them manually, so keep that in mind when purchasing.

Many reviewers noted that they are durable, safe in the washing machine, and stylish. Several people also recommend adding a non-slip mat underneath to prevent the rug from sliding.

To read the latest reviews, click here.

Braided Oval Long Rug Runner by Super Area Rugs

Long oval braided rug runner by Super Area Rugs.

This is a stunning, colorful oval runner suitable for long kitchens or kitchen entryways. Braided with textured polypropylene yarn, they’re both eye-catching and functional. These rugs are water-resistant, stain-resistant, and safe for use in damp areas or outside. Be aware, however, that it’s recommended to wash this rug by hand.

Reviewers noted that the colors are stunning and that the rug itself is incredibly durable.

To see pricing, click here.

Memory Foam Runner Mat by Ellendi

Memory foam kitchen rug runner by Ellendi.

Easy to clean and comfortable, this memory foam runner is another ideal choice for reducing the stress on your body while you work in the kitchen. The mat is filled with 14mm of high-density memory foam, and the back is reinforced with skid-resistant PVC. The runner’s low-pile surface makes it conducive to vacuuming quickly, or it can be washed in a gentle cycle on cold.

Reviewers praised this rug as “very soft and comfortable”, and they were pleased that it didn’t slip or skid. One person noted that it made standing and folding the laundry significantly more comfortable.

Ready to buy? Click here.

To Sum it Up…

Whether you’re looking for a kitchen runner for comfort or style, one of these rugs will fit your needs. A kitchen runner adds color and pattern, can prevent slipping, and provides comfort underfoot while you’re cooking or washing the dishes.

If you’re looking for a mat to make standing at the counter more comfortable, opt for a memory foam or anti-fatigue rug. If your main concern is decor, one of these braided or woven rugs will add color and pattern (just make sure to purchase an additional anti-slip mat so the rug doesn’t skid).

Pay close attention to whether or not the rug can handle the washing machine. Even if it can, you may choose to exclusively spot clean and vacuum only to increase the rug’s longevity. Careful maintenance will ensure that your kitchen rug runner provides lasting style, safety, and comfort.