The way in which you dry throw rugs after laundering is vital to its longevity and usefulness. If you throw a rubber non-skid backed rug into the dryer, you will shorten its lifespan. Instead, plan on washing and air drying.
OK--so I ruined the backs of my throw rugs by drying them in the dryer. Is there any way to get the hardened cracking rubber off? It just crumbles and leaves a mess wherever it goes, be it floor, washer or dryer. I shake them out and hope some day the now hard backing will all be gone, because the rug itself is still in good condition, and I'd like to keep using them. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.
Peel/scrape /cut /pick off the old backing. Scraping with a spackling trowel or edge of a metal spatula may work. If you heat the rug in the dryer, the warm backing may be easier to remove. If the rugs slide on the floor, purchase nonslip rug padding at a "mart" store and place under the rugs. You could also glue/sew rubber canning jar ring to the bottoms of the rugs. Always air dry these types of rugs.
Also, I learned NOT to use bleach, it will eat the backing, so now use shelf lining paper.
To tiltil - I did the same exact thing just a few days ago. My two long hallway and two smaller area rugs were very dirty - all of them had rubber backing. Without thinking the water in the washer would ever get hot enough to melt the rugs' backings, I made a huge miscalculation. The water took the rubber off in big chunks, leaving a mess in the washer.
Needless to say, I did not use the dryer after that, but threw the "rubber backless" rugs over the bathroom curtain rod to dry. The rugs came out very clean, and the rubber to hold them in place (which it did not do very well anyway), and are still useable and very clean! I will certainly make sure not do that with my bathroom rugs, which all are rubber-backed. Use cool water, and air dry them.