How to Clean a Sisal Rug – Without Harmful Chemicals

Natural Area Rugs Blog Staff

Natural Area Rugs Blog Staff

Sisal rugs are a natural fiber rug made from the leaves of the agave sisalana plant. They are durable and have a unique texture that makes them ideal for high traffic areas. But, because they are made from a natural fiber, they can be tricky to clean. Here are some tips on how to clean a sisal rug without harmful chemicals.

cleaning a sisal rug

Natural Area Rugs Blog is supported by our users. We sometimes earn a small commission when you click through the affiliate links on our website.

Sisal Fiber Characteristics

Sisal is a type of agave plant that is native to Mexico and Central America. The leaves of the sisal plant are used to create a sturdy, natural fiber that has a number of unique characteristics.

For one, sisal is one of the strongest natural fibers available. It’s often used in ropes and twines because it can withstand a lot of wear and tear.

Sisal is also a very absorbent fiber, making it ideal for use in mats and rugs. It has a high capacity for moisture, which means it can help to keep your floors clean and dry.

Finally, sisal is a very eco-friendly fiber. It’s biodegradable and doesn’t require any harsh chemicals to process.

General Maintenance Cleaning

One of the most important things to remember when cleaning a sisal rug is to vacuum it regularly. This will help to remove any dirt or debris that could potentially damage the fibers. Additionally, it’s a good idea to spot clean any spills or stains as soon as possible.

A regular cleaning schedule for a sisal rug should also include a deep cleaning every so often (depending on usage). This can be done by vacuuming with a brush attachment and then shampooing the area rug with a mild detergent. Be sure to rinse the sisal rug well and allow it to dry completely before using it again.

Spot Cleaning Sisal Rugs

What do you do when a spill happens? Here’s a quick guide to spot cleaning your sisal rug.
First, blot the spill with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel to remove as much of the liquid as possible.

Then, mix a solution of one part water to one part vinegar. Using a clean cloth, sponge the spill with the vinegar solution. Rinse the area with clean water and blot dry. Club soda is an option here as well. 

For Tough Stains

If the spill is particularly stubborn, or if it created a tough stain, you may need to use a mild detergent (or mild soap). Make a solution of one part detergent to four parts water. Sponge the spill with the detergent solution, then rinse and blot dry.

Dry Cleaning Sisal Rugs

Dry cleaning your sisal rug is a great way to keep it looking its best and to remove tougher stains.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your dry cleaning experience:

  • Before you bring your rug in for dry cleaning, vacuum it thoroughly. This will help remove any dust or dirt that could potentially damage the fibers during the cleaning process.

  • When you drop off your rug for dry cleaning, be sure to let the professionals know if there are any areas that are particularly soiled or stained. This way, they can treat those areas with extra care.

  • Once your rug has been dry cleaned, be sure to take it out of the plastic bag and allow it to air out for a few hours.

What About Sisal Rugs With Borders?

Take special care when vacuuming on a sisal rug that has a binding border.

Don’t let the vacuum sit on top of the binding, or catch the corner of the rug. This could damage the binding.

When vacuuming, it’s important to vacuum in the direction of the seam. Do not use the beater bar when vacuuming.

It’s important to remember, that often times rugs cannot be replaced or repaired because they are improperly vacuumed or properly cared for by the owner of the rug. 

What About Synthetic Sisal Rugs?

Synthetic sisal rugs are made to appear like natural sisal rugs, not just on the outside but also inside.

Synthetic fibers such as polypropylene or nylon are very durable. The cleaning routine for synthetic fiber rugs is easier than that of 100% sisal fiber rugs.

Sisal is naturally water and moisture-averse, but synthetic sisal can be washed and rinsed with water or a mild cleaning solution.

Protecting Your Sisal Rug

We recommend treating sisal with a Sisal Protector. This helps decrease absorbency and lengthen the time between cleanings.

A product we often recommend to our readers is Sisal Guard. 

Sisal Guard protects your fibers by penetrating them and creating an invisible layer of protection.

Seeking Professional Rug Cleaning Help

If your sisal rug is starting to look a bit worse for wear, it might be time to seek professional help.

While sisal rugs are generally quite tough and durable, they can still benefit from a good cleaning every now and again.

Professional rug cleaners will have the knowledge and equipment to clean your sisal rug properly, without damaging it. They can also give you advice on how to best care for your rug in the future.

More Articles