Natural fibre rugs have long been favourite for homeowners, designers, decorators and everyone interested in interior. Weather it is the exquisite look, the warmth and the vibe they bring into a place or any other of their many pros, everybody finds something to fall in love within these extraordinary floor coverings. But what exactly “natural fibre” means and how to preserve a natural fibre rug from the marks of time and every-day life? You can find answers to these questions in the paragraphs below:


What Is a Natural Fibre?

Fibres are considered “natural” when they are produced by plants or animals. Chemistry and technology have their share in the natural fibre manufacturing now, but only to optimise the process and improve the quality of the end product. The origins of these fibres lay in nature, they are not artificially synthesised or created by humans.
Some of these materials have been known and used by people for centuries. Rug making for example – a craft based оn and supplied with mostly natural fibres, has a history that can be followed to ancient times. Some countries have even made traditions in that field and are famous with their rugs all around the globe. Sometimes the weaving techniques are so complicated and the designs – so astonishing, that we can speak of the rugs more as an art than just household items. However, not every natural fibre is suitable to make a rug of it.


Most Popular Natural Fibre for Rugs


Jute characterises with a cosy and warm look, softness and an original tan colour. A rug made of jute adds a neutral, natural element to the area where it is placed, and because of this it blends in well with almost every decor type and style. To the advantages of jute we can add durability, low maintenance and price, as well as the fact that they are pet- and eco-friendly, and many more. The nice softness of the jute fibres prised by the fans of this material however reflects on the durability. Rugs made of jute are suitable for medium and low traffic areas, but not a very good choice for high traffic spaces. Jute rugs are not suitable for outdoors and humid areas as well. The fibres are very absorbent and water can ruin a beautiful jute rug pretty quickly. Rugs of this type will probably not last for centuries -the material breaks with time and sometimes leaves fibres behind, but such small disadvantages can be easily ignored. What’s more – when the life of your jute rug goes to its natural end, you can simply compost it in benefit of you garden or house plants.


To properly describe sisal we need to mention its distinctive colour. A beautiful mix of creamy white, beige and tan, that such like the shade of jute, could easily match different interior styles. Moreover, sisal fibres hold dyes well, which means that a sisal rug could be used as the accent of colour in a room or a perfect addition to the general colour palette of the place. Sisal is particularly durable, easy to maintain, a natural sound insulator as well as static-free and non-toxic material, hence perfect for people with allergies and asthma. It is not so soft and comfortable underfoot as jute, but just as absorbent. Unfortunately sisal is very prone to staining, making deep cleaning a little tricky. Sisal rugs could also become a bit slippery in time, so be careful if such used for stairs.


Because it is grown in water, seagrass has some specific qualities that other natural fibres like jute and sisal don’t. Rugs made of seagrass stand out with their strength and durability, furthermore fibres are basically non-absorbent and cannot be easily stained. Here we have a perfect option for high-traffic areas and frequently used rooms such as the entryway, hallways, living or game rooms.
Less soft than jute but smoother than sisal, seagrass is also inexpensive, what makes it a good choice when looking for balance between convenience and price. But what differs seagrass rugs from the others, is mainly their specific colour scheme. Fibres are distinctly green when fresh, however as time passes, they mellow to a more khaki colour. Somehow this combination of different shades of green makes rugs look cleaner and even though the colour is not neutral, it is very well liked by designers and homeowners.


The colour of hemp in its natural state can be described as coppery brown or beige with a copper hue. However, fibres can be dyed (not in a very rich colour, because hemp is not very colourfast) and woven into sophisticated patterns. Naturally durable and incredibly strong, hemp makes for highly hard-wearing rugs. And while its texture can be coarse, it softens with time and use. Similarly to other natural fibre rugs, hemp rugs are affordable, stylish and easy to maintain.


Two things – looks and feel. Wool rugs feel soft and warm and immediately make any room cosier. Extremely colourfast, the fibres can be dyed in rich and vibrant tones and sustain the original colour over years of wear. Strong, elastic, resilient and durable – high-quality wool rugs could withstand even the heaviest traffic and still maintain their beautiful looks. Among the other qualities of wool you can benefit from are – static-free, hypoallergenic, fire resistant, excellent in hiding dirt. But with the pros there are also some cons. Wool and respectively wool rugs are very sensitive to chemicals and stains. Just a single spill can stain a wool rug for the rest of its life. Chemicals like bleach could make even bigger damage, as they simply dissolve wool fibres. One more thing, unfortunately not in favour of wool rugs, is their price. They are very expensive compared to the other natural fibres. However, in most cases such looks, feel and quality deserve every dollar.


Cotton is a very popular fibre not only for carpeting and rugs, but for clothes, sheets and other textiles. It commonly grows all over the world, which makes production and processing easier and cheaper. As a material for rugs it is strong, not as durable as wool, but enough to make it suitable for areas with medium to high traffic. Cotton has great dye acceptance, so there can be found rugs made of cotton in sharp and vivid colours. Fibres are static and heat resistant, as well as absorbent. In this case, absorbance is both an advantage and disadvantage – it helps fibres to dye beautifully, but at the same time slows drying time and makes cotton carpeting prone to stains.

Not so popular as the listed above, but still used for the production of rugs, are other natural fibres such as angora, alpaca, silk, mohair, rattan, bamboo, coir, etc. Some of them are more suitable for clothes or furniture, but when comes to cleaning a rug made of any of these materials, they share the qualities and specifics of the other natural fibres.


Cleaning for Natural Fibre Rugs


  • Regular Vacuuming:

Proper regular care is the key when it’s about cleaning natural fibre rugs. Vacuum once in a week or fortnightly to remove dust and dirt particles – this is the easiest way to keep your carpeting pieces in best shape. It’s also recommended not to use a beater bar, as in most cases of natural fibre rugs it could be damaging.

Tip: Dirt is not a big problem if handled the right way, but continual exposure to sunlight may cause fading in jute rugs. Fortunately, most pieces are initially designed reversible, so you can turn them over once marks of time become noticeable.

  • No Steam Cleaning or Hot Water Extraction:

With a few exceptions, all natural fibres are highly absorbent, and that’s why cleaning them with steam or hot water is not a very good idea. Huge amounts of water combined with high temperature could not only cause shrinkage and discoloration, but completely ruin a rug in no time. Dry cleaning is the advisable method for deep cleaning of natural fibre rugs, no matter the type of the fibre.

Tip: When combined with other fibres cotton and wool could be cleaned with an extraction machine. However, to avoid damages, perform steam cleaning/HWE only if these methods are stated safe by the manufacturer.

  • Emergency Help for Spills and Stains: 

The biggest thing in emergency situations is to act quickly and blot up any spills and stains with a clean rag or paper towel. Do not rub or scrub, these actions will only spread the stains and work them deeper into the rug.

Tip: Seagrass rugs are an exception, as their reed-like fibres don’t absorb stains easily. Still, if you leave the spill with no treatment for days, it will eventually soak into the fibres and stain the rug.

  • Be Careful with Cleaning Products:

Natural fibres are sensitive to chemicals, so if you need to use products for stain removal or deep cleaning, search for specialised cleaning solutions (precisely for the type of rug you have) and follow strictly the manufacturers’ recommendations.

Tip: Never use bleach on wool rugs. Bleach practically dissolve wool fibres and the damage will be severe, even to complete destruction, within very short period of time.

  • Professional Cleaning:

If you are not sure what is the most appropriate method for cleaning your natural fibre rugs, or do not have the proper equipment and cleaning products, just trust the professionals and opt for expert rug cleaning.

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