Handmade natural fiber rugs are artwork on your floors and can be used to craft stellar-looking spaces and exquisite decor. Like any rug, those made from natural fibers are prone to wear and tear with everyday use, but with a little care, they will grace the space for years.
Different fibers require different care; in order to keep your natural fiber rug’s luxurious luster, color, and shape, you must first understand the type of care that it requires.
Caring for Sisal Rugs
Coarse and tightly woven natural fiber rugs like those made of sisal are a good choice for areas that receive heavy foot traffic. Sisal rugs are great for hallways because of their sturdiness and can be a good choice for pet owners due to the resilience of the weave. Sisal rugs have minimal shedding, remaining tidy and easy to clean with a beater-less vacuum.
They do, however, easily absorb liquids and stains can be difficult to remove. In the case of liquid spills, they must be tended to quickly. Start by blotting (not rubbing) the wet area with dry paper towels. Depending on the depth of the stain, a 1:1 mix of laundry detergent soap (or white vinegar) and water should also do the trick. For further stain removal, consult a professional.
Prolonged direct sun exposure can cause sisal rugs to fade. To maintain color fastnesses, keep your sisal rugs away from direct sunlight and rotate them every few weeks to ensure even wear.
Caring for Jute Rugs
Jute rugs have a relaxed look and a soft touch, making them a good choice for a variety of interior spaces. Their fibers do, however, shed often, so frequent vacuuming without a beater bar is recommended. Like sisal, jute rugs are highly absorbent, but also camouflage dirt and small stains quite well due to their rustic-looking yarns. This can make them a great option for spaces that frequent kids and pets.
Jute rugs are prone to fading if kept in direct sun for prolonged periods. Avoid placing your jute rug in direct sunlight whenever possible and rotate them often. If the weave is reversible, also flip the rug every few weeks to maintain even wear.
As with sisal rugs, blot out water spills with paper napkins and use a mild detergent/water combination for spot cleaning. For colored stains, dab them with a white cloth dipped in club soda to soak in the color and help remove the stain. For further stain removal, consult a professional.
Caring for Hemp Rugs
Hemp rugs are quite similar to jute rugs. Hemp fibers are sturdier than jute fibers, but they too are prone to shedding. Hemp fibers are coarse in the beginning but become softer over time. If you are thinking of investing in a hemp rug, you should be prepared to care for it regularly if you want to keep it in good shape.
As with other natural fiber rugs, hemp rugs fade if kept in direct sunlight for long periods of time and should be rotated every few weeks if kept near a window. They are usually reversible and should be flipped every few weeks to avoid uneven wear.
The method for cleaning spills and stains on hemp rugs is the same as that for jute and sisal rugs.
Caring for Wool Rugs
Made with the most popular of rug fibers, wool rugs, often become heirloom pieces that are passed down generations, and with good reason. Wool rugs are the most durable of the natural rugs, and if maintained well, they can be used for many years.
In the beginning, wool rugs shed a lot as the weave and fibers settle. This is quite common and is often called the settling-in period of the rug. Shorter pile rugs are more prone to shedding than longer pile rugs. The first 3 to 6 months require regular vacuuming every few days, which can become less frequent later on. The rug should be vacuumed only in one direction with a bristle-less brush.
If you come across any loose yarns, clip them instead of pulling them out. Spot clean spills or stains on the rug with mild detergents that have been patch-tested on a previously.
Caring for Cotton and Linen Rugs
Cotton and linen are similar natural fibers, although linen takes much longer to turn into yarn. Rugs made from cotton and linen are soft and have a luxurious feel to them. To maintain cotton or linen rugs, vacuum them with a bristle-less attachment.
Smaller area rugs can even be washed in a washing machine. Spot cleaning can be done for minor stains, but darker and bigger stains do require professional intervention. If you see any loose yarns in these rugs, take care not to pull them out, as this can affect the weave and damage the rug.
In a nutshell, there are some thumb rules for most natural fiber rugs: do not rub, always dab; usually a mild soap-water mix will help remove stains; red stains (like those of wine or ketchup) can be blotted with club soda; regular vacuuming will remove daily dirt and elongate the life of the rug. Using a rug pad is recommended for all rugs to help them maintain their shape and texture.