Sisal is a natural fiber made from a tropical plant, specifically, Agave Sisalana. When harvested and processed, the sisal fibers from these plants can be up to three feet long.
Cleaning Sisal rugs is very easy coupled with the fact that they are very versatile, which means you can place them in the dining room, living room, bedroom, and even the hallway. But like every other rug, your cleaning approach matters, so here are tips for cleaning sisal rugs.
How To Clean Sisal Rugs
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There are two types of sisal rugs, there is a synthetic fiber, which sometimes contains nylon or wool-blend materials; then there is a natural fiber, that is made of plant products such as seagrass, paper, or coconut fibers. Care and maintenance for the two types of sisal rugs are the same.
If you want your sisal rug to look good for as long as possible, you need to clean it regularly. One way you can do that is by vacuuming frequently.
You want to make use of a suction-only vacuum such as a hand vacuum or the upholstery attachment for your vacuum hose to get deep into the fibers of your sisal rug.
You want to take out the beater bar of your vacuum before using it as it could damage the fibers. All you need is a strong suction setting to help pull out any embedded dirt and debris that has settled in the fibers and on the underlay.
You want to set a weekly vacuuming routine so that dirt and debris do not have the chance to become embedded in your rug fibers. Regular vacuuming helps to prevent dirt buildup and helps to maintain your rug good looks.
You can also make use of a carpet beater to beat the rug and remove finer dirt and dust. All you need to do is hang the rug over a clothesline or railing, then use the carpet/rug beater to beat the dust out of the rug.
Firmly but gently hit areas of the rug with the beater, working your way from top to bottom, and repeating the same thing on the other side of the rug. You can substitute the rug beater with a tennis racket, and it is a good alternative to vacuuming.
Giving it a Good Shake
Just taking your rug out and giving it a good firm shake once in a while is enough to keep the rug in good shape. Take the rug outdoors to an area you don’t mind getting dirty like the yard or garage.
Then raise one end in your hands above your head and bring your arms down quickly to shake the rug. This will help to remove any large debris. However, if you have a large rug, this might not be possible, and you will have to stick with vacuuming.
Following some maintenance routine will help to keep your sisal rug in good shape
Maintaining the Humidity
Frequent humidity fluctuations can cause discoloration and reduce the strength of a sisal rug. If you live in a humid region or notice a frequent fluctuation in humidity in the area where you keep the rug, try purchasing a dehumidifier or a humidifier
If you live in a region that experiences drier times than humid periods, you will need a dehumidifier, while the humidifier is better for those who live in a region that is typically more humid but also experiences dry periods.
In place of a humidifier, you can make use of a spray bottle filled with water and apply the water to the air and let the mist settle on the fibers, moisturizing the rug.
Keeping Sunlight Consistent
While the ray of sunlight entering your home could be refreshed, it is disastrous for sisal rugs. This is because sisal is a natural fiber and can be bleached by the sun. You want to make sure your sisal rug doesn’t sit in the sun for too long, and there’s an even sun exposure throughout the rug.
If sunlight only reaches one end of the rug, it can lead to bleaching of that area, and that can cause discoloration across the rug.
You can put sun discoloration to good use if you have water discoloration. All you need to do is place the rug in the sun for some hours, and the sun will bleach out the discolored areas.
Using A Fabric Protectant
There is a fabric protectant made especially for natural fiber rugs like sisal; applying such a product will help to keep the rug looking better, and also make it difficult for spills and stains to get into the rug fibers. You can find a fabric protector online or at a home improvement store.
However, the effectiveness of your fabric protectant tends to reduce over time due to use and wear, but you can always reapply it once you notice that your rug is getting dirty faster and becoming harder to clean.
Spot cleaning your sisal rug
For this, you will need;
- A bucket
- Dish soap
- White vinegar
- A cloth
For liquid spills, the first thing you want to do is blot out the fluids using a clean cloth; you want to keep blotting until no liquid is transferred into the cloth.
You want to do this in a dabbing motion and not a rubbing motion; you also want to make use of a white cloth or paper towel to avoid transferring color to your rug.
For solid spills, you want to scoop up as much as you can using a putty knife, then repeat the same blotting process with the towels.
Once that is done, add some water to a bucket and add a small amount of dish soap. You can also make use of a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar.
Use another clean cloth or towel, and soak it into this mixture, then wring it out thoroughly so that it is slightly damp before using it to dab on the stain. You want to make sure you do not over-saturate the rug with water as sisal will shrink and become discolored when overly wet.
You can also apply the solution using a spray bottle so that you gently mist the area and avoid risking too much moisture.
Using a separate cloth or sponge and some lukewarm water, get the cloth slightly damp. Blot any remaining discoloration out of the area and make sure you remove all of the cleaning solutions.
Using a hairdryer, blow-dry the wet area till its dry to the touch, then allow it to air dry properly.
If you want to clean your rug without using water, then this is another cleaning method. This cleaning method also helps to eliminate odor. For this, you will need;
- Baking soda
- A vacuum
Apply the baking soda generously over the rug and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
Next, take the rug outside and give it a good shake or use the upholstery brush on a vacuum hose to remove the baking soda.
Deep cleaning sisal rugs
Deep cleaning has to do with washing your sisal rug, but you have to keep in mind that even plain water can stain sisal, and washing it will likely darken the fibers, so you want to do this with utmost caution. You will need;
- A vacuum
- Washing soap
- A garden hose
First, you want to give your rug a good shake to remove as much dirt and debris as possible.
Then using a vacuum with the upholstery attachment or vacuum hose, remove the remaining dirt. You want to try and get as much dirt as possible out, as they could further stain your rug when wet.
Next, apply some of the washing soap to the dirtiest area of the carpet; you want to be mindful of the amount of soap you make use of, as the more soap you use, the more water you will need to rinse out the rug.
Using the garden hose or outside faucet, thoroughly rinse out the rug. If you see any tough stain, you can go in with a sponge and some soap to scrub out the stain.
Once the rug is clean and thoroughly rinsed through, allow it dry in direct sunlight. The sun will help to bleach the fibers back to their original color; this may take several hours or days.
Read: How to clean a jute rug
Before cleaning your sisal rug, you want to make sure you check the label to find out the best way to clean it. This is because each company has its own way of handling and taking care of their rug fibers and will have specific cleaning recommendations for your particular rug.
If you ever decide to use water in cleaning your sisal rug, you have to keep in mind that it can leave stain marks that may be difficult to remove. You also want to avoid placing your sisal rugs in high traffic.
Because sisal rugs are made of natural materials, they have an outdoorsy look to them. Also, Because sisal is such an inexpensive raw material to produce, sisal rugs are very affordable. Not only are these rugs cost-effective, but they will last longer than other rugs at the same price point.
Cleaning sisal rugs are also quite easy to do, so you get all the package anyone would look for in a rug with sisal rugs.