Can Truck Bed Rugs Get Wet? What You Need to Know

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Blue pickup truck with a bed rug isolated against a white background side aerial view

After installing a bed rug or purchasing a truck that has one, you likely have a lot of questions. One of your first questions might be how good the rug is at repelling moisture and dealing with rain. Are you forced to get a truck cap just to keep water away?

There’s nothing wrong with getting your truck bed rug wet. They’re designed to be used outdoors without any issues. They use a “closed-cell, long-grain polypropylene” to make up the rug. That means that they are moisture-proof and mildew-proof, so you can get your bed messy without worry.

In this short guide, I’ll answer all of your questions. I’ll revolve this piece around whether or not your truck bed rug can get wet, and what to do if it does get wet.

What Is a Bed Rug?

Commonly known by its brand name BedRug, a bed rug is exactly what it sounds like — a rug for the bed of your truck. It’s a mat that gets laid along the bed, and you’re left with a quasi-carpeted truck bed.

 The rug itself isn’t made of carpeting material at all. It uses polypropylene (PP) which is a common form of plastic. As a material, PP is great at absorbing impact, resisting scratches, and lasting for a long time.

Even though it’s made of plastic, the designers opted for the closed-cell variant of polypropylene. What does that mean? Well, the material is soft to the touch and genuinely feels like a felted or carpeted material when you touch it. This enhances the rug’s ability to absorb impact without hurting the product or your truck bed.

The specialty product from BedRug gets installed through a series of zippers and Velcro, which allows it to be installed quickly and removed as needed.

Close up of a pickup truck bed and tailgate rug

Why People Use Bed Rugs

There are actually a few different reasons why you might use a bed rug in your truck. Let me talk about the major benefits of bed rugs in this section.

It Keeps Your Cargo Stationary

People tend to use bed rugs to keep their cargo in one place as they drive around. If you have a standard plastic or metal bed, the surface friction is very low. If you have something in the bed like lumber or equipment, it will slide and move around as you drive.

One solution is to try to tie down the cargo, but that’s sometimes easier said than done. There aren’t great options to stop something from shifting side-to-side, just front-to-back.

Instead of going through those hurdles, some people simply install a bed rug. It offers a better grip on items that are stored in the bed of your truck.

Construction worker standing on the bed of the pickup truck at a working site with tools visible

It Can Handle Delicate Items

In addition, the surface is more forgiving than metal or hard plastic liners. You can throw something fragile in the bed and it won’t shatter when it hits your bed rug. If you throw the same product into a metal truck bed, there’s no saying how much damage could be done.

As I mentioned, they use a “closed-cell plastic” which is soft to the touch and works great with delicate items. That’s not to say that it can’t handle more rugged parts like bags of gravel, because it certainly can.

Protect Your Bed from Damage

Another great feature is that a bed rug can protect your truck bed from damage. If you’re throwing backs of gravel and metal parts into your truck bed, a traditional truck bed can start to scratch and dent. These damages can lead to rust which can propagate and cause extensive damage.

Instead, you can use a bed rug. As you throw gravel in the bed, the rug will absorb the impact and dissipate the force. Instead of dinging your bed, it will just fall gently into the rug.

Dirty liner floor of the pickup truck bed close up visible scratches

You Don’t Need to Damage Your Bed for Installation

When you install a paint or inexpensive liner, the first step is to rough up the walls of your bed. This creates a coarse and porous area for the paint or resin to attach to. The downside is that sanding your bed damages the topcoat, paint, and any material used in your bed.

If you go overboard when installing an inexpensive liner, you can expose your truck’s raw metal and start developing rust and other damage in the bed.

With a bed rug, you don’t have to sand anything or rough up the surface. Instead, it installs directly into your bed without drilling holes or causing any damage whatsoever. I mentioned it earlier, but the installation process typically involves Velcro and some ties for the whole project.

View of a pickup truck bed with rug and ladder isolated against a white background
BedRug for a Pickup Truck

Can Truck Bed Rugs Get Wet?

So, you have this product that feels like a piece of felt, but you’re supposed to use it outside? Surely, the rain will create mildew and rot out the bed rug, right?

Surprisingly enough, that’s not the case. You can get your bed rug saturated and nothing bad will happen. Even the creators of the BedRug tout this feature directly on their FAQ page. 

This is where the closed-cell technology really comes in handy. The plastic isn’t porous like a sponge or piece of felt. Those pores allow moisture to sit and do lasting damage to the surrounding material. With the closed-cell polypropylene in bed rugs, water just runs away from the liner (just like the paint on your car).

The other thing to mention is that a typical bed rug doesn’t interfere with the drain holes in your truck bed. Water will still drain away without causing any issues.

But What About Mildew?

A common follow-up question has to do with mildew. As most of us know, when certain materials have water on them, they’ll develop mildew.

This is where polypropylene shines yet again. As a material, it doesn’t allow mildew to grow. This has a material science explanation that’s pretty confusing, but it has to do with the grain length and orientation of the polypropylene they use to make these bed rugs.

Rain drops visible on the back bed of a pickup truck

Do You Need a Bed Rug?

In my opinion, almost everyone can benefit from a bed rug. They’re great at keeping your bed safe and scratch-free, they’re easy to install, they keep your cargo in one place, and they can keep items in your bed safe.

Since the rugs can get wet, you can wash your truck without any worries in the world. After using your truck for hunting or fishing, you can hose out the bed to get rid of any of the blood and such.

BedRug Bed Mat BMT02SBS fits 2002+ Dodge RAM 6.4 ft. Bed without Ram Box Bed Storage – Black

BedRug Bed Mat BMT02SBS fits 2002+ Dodge RAM 6.4 ft. Bed without Ram Box Bed Storage - Black
Pickup Truck Bed Rug

What About Bed Rugs That Smell After Getting Them Wet?

If you just went on a fishing trip and a few days later you smell something gross from your bed, you might blame your bed rug’s moisture resistance. As long as it is a genuine bed rug and you installed it correctly, there’s no risk of mildew or water-related smells coming from the bed.

What I’ve noticed in the past was another substance spilled in the truck bed, and that was actually the source of the smell. You might have some fish guts or deer blood somewhere in your bed that you didn’t realize.

You can just grab a pressure washer and clean out the bed rug since it’s moisture-proof.

If the mess is more dirt-related, you can actually run a vacuum to clean up your pickup truck bed rug. You’ll find that it’s a lot easier to clean than your carpet at home.

Finally, you might want to use light detergent and a scrubber if the mess is really stubborn, and you can’t stand the smell anymore. Since there are so many cleaning options, your choice will probably depend on what mess you’re facing.

Pressure washing the bed of a pickup truck with the tailgate open

How to Pick the Perfect Bed Rug

When it comes to shopping for your truck bed rug, you want to be careful. Each bed rug is designed for a certain make, model, year, and trim level.

Make sure you have this information handy before going online to buy the bed rug. Keep in mind that that tailgate rug or mat is sold separately or together with the bed rug if you need that as well.

You’ll also be asked what bed length you have on your truck. If you’re not sure, you should grab a tape measure and find out for yourself.

BedRug Tailgate Mat BMQ15TG fits 2015+ Ford F-150

BedRug Tailgate Mat BMQ15TG fits 2015+ Ford F-150
Tailgate Rug

Conclusion

I just covered everything you need to know about truck bed rugs. I explained what they are, how they work, some of their benefits, and the fact that they can get wet without any issues. I think it’s a great idea to get a truck bed liner since they’re so versatile and easy to install.

If you have more questions about your truck, explore my site. If you have a truck bed rug, leave a comment below and let me know what you think. I also have a list of highly-recommended truck products that might help you.

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Ernest Martynyuk

An automotive enthusiast who's been tinkering with vehicles since I was 15-years old. Repairing automotive electronics has been my main job for over a decade now and have a passion for everything technical regarding cars.

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