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  • Writer's pictureBal Arisi

Hmmm… Sisal, Jute, or Sea Grass Rug?

There are many natural fiber rug choices it can be confusing which one to buy, or to buy one at all. Any day of the week you can go on popular home decor recommendation sites like Houzz and see posts from disillusioned customers who bought a beautiful natural fiber rug, only to be sending it to the curb in just a few years. So really do your research before purchasing.

What is a Natural Fiber Rug?

When you hear the term natural fiber in the context of rug material, it almost always is referring to fibers, such as jute, sisal or sea grass. These are all cellulosic, which is essentially plant-based. Wool, silk, and cotton are also natural fibers, but are not grouped into the natural fiber category though can be used in conjunction with the cellulosic fibers to create a blend.

Rugs made completely or in part of natural cellulosic fiber have their challenges. One of which is cleaning!

Because they are usually a chucky weave, dirt gets trapped in the crevices more so than in a softer open pile rug. The fiber itself is much coarser, making it less comfortable under bare feet, hence you tend to leave shoes on when walking over it. This equals dirt and noticeable high traffic areas.

If you use the room that the natural fiber rug is in, you will notice that the rug needs to be cleaned professionally more often than any other rug. Typically, these rugs should be professionally cleaned outside of your home.

Natural Fiber Rug Challenges

Owning a natural fiber rug comes with its set of challenges. Below we explain what you may experience.

Spotting Problems

All cellulosic fiber rugs have a tendency to leave brown spots when they get wet. When you spill water or have to do some type of spot cleaning on these rugs, you will find 99% of the time you’ll end up with a brown spot. This condition is called cellulosic browning. Think of an old newspaper or a newspaper left outside. Cellulosic materials in the paper turn brown and become brittle. When cellulosic browning occurs in natural fiber rugs it is caused by slow drying time and/or residue from a high pH spotting product. Sometimes certain spot cleaning products will even cause a color loss. This can only be fixed by dye repair.


Well, there isn’t a real long-term lifespan for these rugs. Typically, these rugs ugly-out way sooner than their wool, silk or even nylon counterparts. These are what the cleaning industry refer to as throw away rugs. Unfortunately, these rugs are typically sent to landfills within a couple years of purchase. And it is a shame because though they are inexpensive rugs to manufacture, they can often have a big price tag on the market.

· You may have a better success ratio with a natural fiber rug if:

· You do not have pets or kiddos at home.

· You keep it in a room that is used infrequently.

· You do not walk on it with shoes.

· You do not eat or drink on it.

· You vacuum frequently.

· You do not try to clean it yourself with a DIY machine or spot cleaning products.

Best to have these rugs professionally cleaned outside of your home where drying conditions are controlled, and the PH level of products used is monitored.

Call Bal Arisi for all your area rug cleaning and repair needs.

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