Thursday, June 18, 2009

How to Clean a Sisal Rug

Sisal rugs, derived from Agave Sisalana plant fibers in Central America, get stained, soiled and stepped on just like any other rug. Cleaning a sisal rug is easier than it looks—or sounds! (Sisal is pronounced see-szal or sai-szal.) Just bear in mind the following tips, and you too can have a sparkling clean yet ruggedly natural sisal rug.

Sisal is harvested and stripped for their durable fibers, thus making an extremely flexible, strong rug. But while your rug may be hearty, it can still be affected by external forces. When it comes to cleaning, clean your rug with care to avoid surface damage and uneven coloring. Don’t clean your rug with an excess amount of liquid; sisal rugs tend to shrink when this happens. Keep your rug away from moisture or areas high in humidity. The wetness can distort your area rug, warping it into a shadow of its former self. Instead, keep your rug in its current shape by lying it down in a dry place, preferably an area where spills are less likely to occur. If you spill on your area rug, clean it as quickly as possible by blotting it with a dry cloth and without rubbing the liquid into the fiber. Say you spill something that could stain—clean your sisal rug with a mild soap and water solution. Alternatively, you could a half vinegar half water solution, or try spot cleaning with a cleaning product recommended by your rug’s manufacturer. Dip the cloth in the soapy substance and blot the rug, but keep in mind to blot it dry afterwards. And remember to use a small amount at a time so your rug doesn’t absorb the liquid. Repeat on the underside of the rug if you need to.

Clean off dry materials like dirt by scraping them off with a blunt edge, like a wooden knife. Special cleaning powders for sisal rugs are useful as well. Remember to vacuum your rug regularly so you pick up accrued dirt and such right away. Vacuuming frequently also prolongs the life of the rug because dirt embedded into the rug can destroy the rug fibers. Even all the durability of a sisal rug can’t save itself from poor maintenance. If you’re truly concerned that your rug is looking less than perfect, many manufacturers suggest dry cleaning. Check with the manufacturer first, and be sure not to wet-shampoo or steam clean your rug! Again, all that excess wetness will pucker your rug into something unrecognizable. Sisal rug are tough, robust, and versatile—but only if you let them be. Spot clean when necessary and keep your sisal rug dry, and you’ll be enjoying it for years to come.

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