How to Clean a Natural Fiber Rug: Sisal, Seagrass, Jute and Bamboo

How to Clean a Natural Fiber Rug: Sisal, Seagrass, Jute and Bamboo

Natural Fiber Rugs 101: Differences in Material

1. Sisal - What do tequila shots and sisal rugs have in common? They're both created from the agave plant! Sisal carpets are constructed with the leaves of a cactus plant known as Agave Sisalana. This plant is found in Central America, Africa and Brazil. The leaves of the cactus plant create a durable fiber, making sisal carpets one of the more durable carpets.

2. Jute - If you're looking for a natural fiber carpet with a soft underfoot, Jute rugs are your best option. Jute rugs are made from plant fibers which make dirt particles easily pass through its surface. The occasional stain will also blend into Jute carpets over time. Try to avoid using a Jute rug in a high traffic area, the material can wear and flatten over time.

3. Seagrass - Seagrass fiber is made up of underwater plant fibers, making it the most water resistant material. Seagrass area rugs can be used in a bathroom, it stays soft to the touch while resisting water. If you do decide to use this material in a bathroom, make sure you check for growth of mold. Since it is an underwater plant fiber it is more susceptive to mold growth.

4. Bamboo - Bamboo rugs are made out of ... you guessed it, Bamboo! These area rugs are very durable and can hold up after years of wear and tear. Bamboo is a sustainable material, growing to maturity in just 2 years. Avoid having a bamboo area rug in direct sunlight, as it can fade over time.

Placement Is Key

If you're looking to purchase an area rug with any of the fibers listed above, make sure you review each fiber's features to make a practical decision on what's best for your space. Practical spaces for these rugs are offices, living rooms and dining rooms. Keep in mind natural fiber carpets typically should not be placed in areas that are damp or where spills are likely to occur. It's inevitable though, liquid spills will happen and we'll show you how to clean it up.


Get that vacuum cleaner out! Regular vacuuming is essential to keep your carpet in its best shape. Bi-weekly vacuuming is recommended to prevent dirt particles from lodging between carpet fibers. For best results, use a vacuum with a strong suction but try not to use the beater bar. The beater brush can scratch the surface of the rug, sometimes causing damage. Use the suction attachment only especially for loose dirt.

Spot Clean

This should be a no-brainer: pay attention to spills and remove them immediately! Whether it's a liquid spill, solid spill or pet stains, accidents will happen. Wet spills act as a magnet to any dirt particles that are in the carpet, causing the dirt to rise to the surface. Immediately blot the spot with an undyed cloth or paper towel, the dirt may cause a dark stain if its neglected. Never rub the spot, rubbing can work the liquid deeper into the fibers, making it more likely to stain.

To remove spots caused by solid substances, remove any remaining material by scraping it with a spoon, dull knife or nail file. Always work from the outside of the spot toward the center. Make sure you avoid over using water when cleaning a natural fiber rug such as sisal or jute.

Types of Spills & Solutions

Follow these carpet cleaning methods below to remove any tough stains from a natural fiber carpet. For everyday cleaning care, use a damp cloth and blot regularly.

Type of Spill: Beer/Liquor/Blood/Coffee/Tea
How To Clean: Detergent, Blot, Vinegar, Blot, Detergent, Blot, Water, Blot

Type of Spill: Butter/Crayon/Ink/Hair Spray/Hand Lotion/Lipstick/Mascara/Oil (Cooking & Furniture)/Paint (Oil Base)/Shoe Polish/Tar
How To Clean: Solvent, Blot, Detergent, Blot, Water, Blot

Type of Spill: Egg/Feces/Food Coloring/Furnisher Polish/Glue (White)/ Ketchup/Mayonnaise
How To Clean: Detergent, Blot, Ammonia, Blot, Detergent, Blot, Water, Blot

Type of Spill: Candy/Chocolate/Fruit Juice/Gravy/Ice Cream/Milk/Soft Drinks/Urine/Wine
How To Clean: Detergent, Blot, Ammonia, Blot, Vinegar, Blot, Detergent, Blot Water, Blot

Type of Spill: Glue (Model) or Nail Polish
How To Clean: Acetone Polish Remover, Blot, Repeat

Type of Spill: Gum or Wax
How To Clean: Freeze with an ice cube, shatter with blunt object, Vacuum, Solvent, Blot (for wax: place paper over wax, iron with warm - not hot - iron to absorb.)

Solvent= Commercial dry cleaning solvent
Detergent= 1 tsp laundry detergent (without bleach) + 1 cup lukewarm water
Vinegar= 1/4 cup white vinegar + 1/4 cup water
Ammonia= 1 tsp clear household ammonia + 1/2 cup water

Deep Cleaning Your Area Rug

Never steam, scrub or use a wet shampoo on an all-natural fiber carpet such as jute or sisal. Avoid full water saturation at all costs - using an excess amount of water can cause the fibers to darken. If your natural fiber carpet is in need of a cleaning, vacuum the area and apply a dry shampoo to the space. A dry shampoo will also help neutralize any odors in the carpet. To dry shampoo your carpet, use baking soda or cornmeal. Sprinkle the baking soda on your area rug, let it sit for an hour and use the brush attachment from your vacuum to clean up it up. For any small stains remaining, use a very small amount of mild dish soap and water to get any unwanted spots out. If you want a full deep clean, we suggest taking your carpet to be professionally cleaned.

Dry Clean Only

If you've tried all the solutions we've provided and still aren't satisfied with how your area rug looks, take it to be professionally cleaned by an expert. Cleaning a natural fiber rug such as sisal or jute can be difficult and if mishandled, it can cause shrinkage, discoloration or staining. Proper maintenance on natural products sometimes calls for Dry Clean Only.

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