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How To Clean Sisal Rugs (Step-By-Step Guide)

sisal rug on the floor

Sisal rugs are popular because they bring an organic and natural aesthetic to your home. Not only that, but they are also durable and versatile and are a timeless design that will look great in your home for years. The Earthy tones and natural textures can enrich any design style, whether it is modern or minimalist.

Despite its durability, accidents happen, and cleaning your sisal rug needs to be done with care. Cleaning your sisal rug may seem like a pain, so we have put together a step-by-step guide to help you out, along with maintenance tips to keep your rug looking great.

Topics discussed in this article:

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Before You Start

Sisal is a durable material that isn’t as difficult to clean as you might assume. The dirt does not adhere to the stiff fibers but sits loosely on the weave. However, before you begin cleaning your sisal rug, it’s essential to remember that sisal is a highly absorbent fiber.

First and foremost, when cleaning a sisal rug made of natural fibers, never steam clean, wet shampoo, or use any other method that involves water saturation. The only recommended option for successfully cleaning sisal is to use a dry carpet cleaning compound and vacuum to reduce the risk of damage.

Spills usually happen accidentally, and you must know how to clean them up without damaging your rug. We will provide you with a step-by-step guide to clean spills and dry clean your sisal rug.


Step-by-Step Guide for Cleaning Spills and Stains on a Sisal Rug

Spills and stains require immediate help. Some spills will require water and detergent, but if your rug came with specific instructions, it’s best to follow them.

What You Will Need:

  • Bucket of water
  • White Vinegar
  • Mild soap
  • Dry Cloth
  • Paper towel
  • Hairdryer
Steps to Follow:
  1. Any spot-removal treatment should be tested in an inconspicuous area of your rug first.
  2. If any solid material spills on your rug, start by scooping it up with a spoon and work from the outside of the spill and move inward.
  3. Blot up as much of the spill as possible with a dry cloth or paper towel.
  4. Mix a small amount of mild soap with water in a bucket, or combine one part white vinegar and one part water.
  5. Wet the cloth with the cleaning solution and blot the stain. To avoid spreading the stain, don’t use too much cleaning solution. To avoid reapplying the dirt, flip the cloth over.
  6. Do not rub! Rubbing can work the liquid deeper into the rug fibers and spread the soiled area. Allow the cleaning solution to work on the spot for a few minutes.
  7. Using a hairdryer, quickly dry the rug.

How to Dry Clean Your Sisal Rug

When cleaning natural fabrics, dry cleaning is the best option. This method can be done using baking soda and doesn’t require any water.

What You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum cleaner
Steps to Follow:
  1. Sprinkle your baking soda over your rug and leave it for about an hour to absorb all the dirt.
  2. After an hour, shake the rug so that all the baking soda falls off.
  3. Attach the upholstery brush to your vacuum cleaner and remove the powder.
sisal rug surface
Image By: STK_08, Shutterstock

How to Treat Mold and Mildew on Your Sisal Rug

If your sisal rug has been exposed to moisture, spills, and changing humidity levels, it may have created an ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow.

What You Will Need:

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Dry cloth
Steps to Follow:
  1. In a spray bottle, thoroughly combine one part liquid chlorine bleach and six parts water.
  2. Spray a small amount of the mixture in a rug corner to see how it works but avoid the binding. If the solution bleaches your rug, dilute it and re-test it until it is safe to use.
  3. Spritz the solution lightly on the moldy area and work it down into the weave with a soft brush to reach all of the mold growth.
  4. After 5–10 minutes, rub the affected area with a clean, dry cloth. If necessary, repeat the process.
  5. When you’re finished, ensure the rug dries completely within 5–6 hours, using a hair dryer on the damp spot if necessary.

How to Clean the Binding of Your Sisal Rug

To clean the binding of your sisal rug, vacuum the edge as you usually would. You can use a mild solution to clean the area if the binding has soiled spots.

What You Will Need:

  • Liquid soap
  • Warm water
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean Cloth
  • Hairdryer
Steps to Follow:
  1. Combine a few drops of your detergent with a quart of warm water in a spray bottle.
  2. Test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area first.
  3. Without saturating the area, spray the cleaning solution on the soiled area.
  4. Blot the area with a clean cloth.
  5. Allow the binding to dry, or use a hairdryer to dry the area faster.
  6. Keep your rug bindings in good condition by wiping them with a damp cloth or sponge.
sisal rug
Image By: ranimiro, Shutterstock

How to Maintain Your Sisal Rug

Sisal rugs are made from natural fibers and must be properly cared for and maintained to avoid damage and mold growth.

Here are some tips to help you care for your sisal rug:
  • Because sisal rugs are naturally absorbent, keep your rug in a dry area with low humidity.
  • Your sisal rug should never be steam cleaned or wet shampooed; this can cause discoloration, shrinkage, and staining.
  • Place a coarse doormat at your front door to help remove most of the dirt so it doesn’t come off on your sisal rug.
  • Shake your rug outside regularly to remove dirt that has accumulated.
  • If you cannot take your rug outside to remove dirt, you can vacuum it once or twice a week.
  • Rugs with natural fibers can often sprout. Remove the sprouts with scissors and avoid pulling them.

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Proper maintenance is the best way to prevent damage to your rug, but accidents occur, and if you end up with a spill, you should try to deal with it as soon as possible. Sisal rugs are very absorbent, and wet washing them should be avoided unless you need to remove a stain, in which case you should dry the area with a hairdryer once it is clean. It’s best to check the label or instructions of your sisal rug to determine the best way to clean it.

Featured Image Credit: Vissawes, Shutterstock


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