Natural fiber sisal rugs can be long-lasting if properly maintained. They are also environmentally friendly as they are scarcely ever sprayed with toxins, making them a natural choice for people with sensitivities. Moreover, these rugs are hypoallergenic as they naturally repel dust. In addition, they are sound-absorbing, anti-static, and in some cases fire retardant – all wonderful qualities in a rug.
Sisal is a fiber made from the Agave Sisalana plant, grown in South America and Africa. This fiber is extremely strong and sturdy, yet pliable and is often used to make ropes, twine, door mats, area rugs, carpeting, bags, paper, and many other items for everyday commercial uses.
For a natural, practical, and casual décor, there are many sisal rug options to choose from, both in color and texture. In addition to the 100% natural sisal rugs, there are softer, cozier composites. Natural sisal rugs also come in various blends of wool and sisal, combining the best features of both fibers and resulting in soft but extremely resilient and durable rugs.
Sisal rug cleaning and maintenance begins in the home with regular vacuuming using strong suction, rather than beater bar. Low traffic areas can be sustained with weekly vacuuming, while high traffic areas should be vacuumed more often – even daily for busy rooms with lots of foot traffic. Vacuuming significantly extends the life of the rug by preventing dirt and soil buildup.
Exposure to water will likely distort and shrink a natural sisal rug. In addition, it may also promote mold and mildew growth, as natural fibers are very susceptible to damage from moisture. Moreover, uneven wetting can cause watermarks and water spots that are difficult to remove. Sisal rugs are best used in places that are not likely to be exposed wet spills or wet shoes.
Spills should be blotted and gently wiped immediately with a clean white rag or paper towel, but stains should never be steam cleaned or soaked in water while in the home.
The solid matter should be removed by scraping it off the rug with a blunt object, such as the back of a spoon or a dull knife. Scraping should be done from the perimeter of the stain toward the center, to avoid spreading it. However, further treatment should be left to professionals. In fact, Pettyjohn’s always recommends natural sisal rugs be cleaned professionally due to the troublesome water staining effect.
For tough stains that persist despite blotting the spills, it is best to contact professional rug cleaners. In fact, professional rug cleaning is recommended anytime rug owners prefer to avoid potential fiber or dye mishaps. Local rug experts have vast experience mitigating stains without damaging precious rugs. They may also recommend a specific fiber protector to minimize the likelihood of a tough stain setting the next time a spill occurs. Pettyjohn’s specifically recommends Fiber ProTector to provide the best chance of maintaining the original appearance of your fine sisal rug.
Synthetic sisal rugs on the market are made to resemble natural sisal rugs in appearance as well as function. These rugs are either 100% nylon or polypropylene and are quite sturdy, and their cleaning routine is easier than natural sisal fiber. Whereas natural sisal is water and moisture averse, synthetic sisal can be washed and rinsed with water or a mild cleaning solution. This type of rug is perfect for wall-to-wall carpeting and high traffic areas.
To properly clean and maintain a synthetic sisal rug, it should be vacuumed regularly, much like any other type of rug. Vacuuming contributes to the longevity and appearance of the rug and prevents dirt, surface soil, and debris from settling into the rug. For further deep cleaning, synthetic sisal rug and carpet manufacturers recommend either a dry cleaning method, hot water extraction, or full submersion – depending on the material used, the rug’s construction, and the type of soiling. In some cases, synthetic sisal can simply be topically cleaned, although dry soil removal using compressed air is always preferable to vacuuming.
Synthetic sisal rugs are mold, mildew and stain resistant, but are not stain proof. (No material is completely stain-proof!) Spills should be taken care of according to manufacturer’s instructions, but in general, cleaning is very simple. It is always a good idea to take care of stains quickly before they set. Although synthetic rugs are more forgiving than natural fibers, it is still a good idea to blot spills with a clean white towel or rag right away. The solid matter needs to be scraped off prior to cleaning. The stain can then be sprayed with a manufacturer suggested cleaning solution and blotted again. If the stain remains, the process may be repeated. Rinsing can be accomplished by blotting the area using a clean white towel dampened by warm water.
When a synthetic sisal rug or carpet has no manufacturer cleaning instructions, it is possible to try just warm soapy water to try and get the stain out. Prior to undertaking such an endeavor, it is highly recommended to test the solution on a small, unnoticeable area to make sure neither the dye nor the fabric is adversely affected.
As always, if you ever have questions about spot and spill removal, check out our guide or give us a call!
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Contact Pettyjohn’s today to answer any questions you may have.