The Complete Guide To Natural Fiber Rugs

beautiful farmhouse styled space with layered jute rug

Natural fiber rugs have been a favorite choice of designers decades. Their earthy tones and natural texture lends a relaxed cozy vibe. Their higher than average durability make them a practical choice too. 

If you’re like me, you’ve fallen in love with these natural fiber area rugs. However, if you’re like me – I had no clue there were so many different options when choosing a natural fiber rug. The most common types of rugs made from these eco-friendly fibers are jute, sisal and seagrass.

Before deciding which of these type of rug will best suite you, let’s answer some questions first. Where are you going to place this rug? What’s the foot traffic? What is more important to you – durability or comfort? 

This Complete Guide to Natural Fiber Rugs Includes:

Determine Your Needs

When shopping for your natural fiber rug – you will need to keep traffic patterns, placement, usage, color, size and feel. What is your style? Do you have pets and need to think about stain resistance? Shopping for a high foot traffic area?

High Traffic – these include hallways, foyer, entryways, living/family rooms

Medium Traffic – these are spaces that do not receive daily foot traffic – home offices and dining rooms and master bedrooms

Low Traffic – spaces that get the least wear and tear such as guest rooms and formal living rooms

 

What is a Natural Fiber Rug?

Natural fiber rugs are woven from fibers extracted from plants. They are eco-friendly, biodegradable, durable and of course – stylish! The come in a variety of neutral shades that surely will go with any home.

Natural fiber rugs come in three common forms – jute, sisal, and seagrass. Each have their own uniqueness in texture, pattern and durability. 

Let’s review all the details, so you can choose the right rug for your home.

 

Jute Rugs

Jute is produced from the outer skin of the ‘Corchorus capsularis’ plant – called the ribbon. These fibers are second only to cotton in affordability.

Due to the processing of the fibers, jute rugs are soft, unlike their sisal and seagrass relatives. Jute rugs are perfect for people who love to be barefoot, pets and children. 

close up of natural fiber jute rug

Jute fibers are naturally a golden brown color but come in various shades of neutral tones from browns to off-whites. They are often earthy and natural in tone, but can also be dyed to any color. This makes jute rugs a perfect option for most decor – from modern farmhouse to contemporary. 

rolled natural fiber rugs

These rugs work well in bedroom, family rooms and bathrooms. They are provide great texture and are so darn affordable! Be careful with these guys though, they are prone to unraveling and are not as durable. 

  • Soft
  • Thick & Chunky Texture
  • Super Affordable!
  • Unravels Easily
  • Not Very Durable

Cleaning Tips – These rugs will require regular vacuuming.  If spills occur, you must blot quickly. Be cautious applying other treatments, even water will stain. You may want to treat this rug before use to help prevent staining.

I highly recommend this fabric protector to extend the life of your jute natural fiber rug. 

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Sisal Rugs

Made form sisalana, or agave, these plants are found in Mexico, Africa and Brazil. Sisal rugs are known for their durability. 

Sisal fibers are often used to make rope or twine, they are rough to the touch. Due to this rough texture, sisal rugs are perfect for high traffic areas such as hallways, family rooms, ad entryways.

These fibers come in a range of neutral tones but can also be dyed, like jute fibers. 

 

sisal fiber rug pattern

Sisal can be installed as carpeting or used as area rugs – however as an area rugs they need to be bordered so they do not unravel. Often you will find them with a boarder and a latex backing to help with their longevity.

  • Very durable
  • Thin – Great for Layering
  • Stain Easily
  • Rough/Course Texture
  • Can be Slippery if Wet

Cleaning Tips – Due to the sisal fibers nature to absorb, stains can be tricky to remove. Frequent vacuuming for maintenance and if spills occur – blot quickly! To help reduce the absorbent quality of these fibers, make sure to treat it with a fabric protector before use.

I highly recommend this fabric protector to extend the life of your sisal natural fiber rug. You can also use Sisal Guard which is known for these natural fibers specifically.

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Seagrass Rugs

Seagrass is grown in saltwater marshes and has a natural sheen to it. It is often a greenish tint that fades to a khaki color.

Looking for both durable, soft and with loads of texture? Look no further, seagrass fibers will be your best match. Seagrass is non-porous and water resistant which makes it a long lasting material.

Since seagrass is resistant to water, it make a great rug for kitchens and bathrooms. Despite being water resistant, seagrass rugs should not be used for outdoor spaces. They will mold and mildew.

seagrass pattern rug close up

These rugs come backed with latex and bound with a cotton or leather border. They often stay put, but may still need a carpet pad to protect hardwood surfaces. 

They are also known to “stick” to the flooring they’re laid upon, so I recommend using a thin non-slip pad to prevent any damage.

  •  Edo-friendly choice
  • Water Resistant
  • Durable
  • Softer than Sisal
  • Limited Colors – due to it not taking dye well
  • Typically more Expensive

Cleaning Tips – Like all natural fiber rugs, you need to blot all stains quickly. Remove debris with a knife or nail file. Use this spray carpet cleaner sparingly and blow dry immediately. 

You can also use dry carpet cleaning solution to handle tough stains that are not removed by above methods. I recommend trying HOST Dry Cleaning Carpet Cleaner.

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Use a Protector

Make sure you protect your investment and apply a fabric protector to your new rug. This will decrease repel spills and stains as well as lengthen the time between cleanings. This is something I didn’t do even know about in the past – and with pets, it would have saved me a lot of time and money!

My favorite natural fiber protector is Sisal Guard, which is effective at penetrating the dense fibers of these style of rugs. Although they call it sisal guard, it is safe for use on all natural fiber rugs. If that one isn’t up to par, I also recommend Forcefield fabric spray for all fabrics. Forcefield fabric spray repels both water based and oil based spills. It can also be used for upholstered surfaces in your home and even in your car!

beautiful dining space with a natural fiber jute rug

Now you know the three most common types of natural fiber rugs. When choosing a rug, it’s good to make sure you’re purchase is worthwhile. Learning the proper ways to clean and how to care for it will help you protect your investment.

I didn’t answer your question? Here’s a little F&Q section that might help! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a carpet pad?

Although many natural fiber rugs come with an attached latex backing, I do recommend using a carpet pad – especially if you have hardwood floors! This is the carpet rug pad I recommend for use if you have hardwood floors. It too is made of natural fibers and will protect your flooring from the backing of the area rug. 

What's the advantage of natural rugs over synthetic?

They are many advantage to natural fiber rugs over their synthetic counterparts. Some advantages are as follows: they are eco-friendly, more durable and low maintenance

Natural fiber rugs are more dense so dirt doesn’t often stick to them like synthetic fibers.

Where is the best place to buy natural fiber rugs?

I highly recommend looking into One Kings Lane, Overstock, Wayfare, Kohls for some great natural fiber rug options. They often have holiday sales and coupon codes that can be applied to help minimize cost of larger area rugs. 

Do not fear ordering rugs offline. Check out their return policy and make sure if you are unsatisfied you can return it at no cost to you.

I will personally boast for Overstock.com’s customer service. They sent me a rug that was incorrect in size on accident. Within a day I had a new rug shipped to me and had removed the incorrect item with minimal effort on my part. I spoke to a pleasant representative on the phone for 5 minutes to correct the error. I have purchased all my area rugs from them since.

Can I use a carpet cleaning machine on natural fiber rugs?

You always want to control the moisture when cleaning natural fiber rugs. This means do not use a steam cleaner, or wet carpet cleaning machine on natural fiber rugs. 

 

How do I vacuum natural fiber rugs?

You should vacuum your natural fiber rugs with a high-suction vacuum only. This means do not use the rollers when using your vacuum. The rollers will damage the fibers of the rug and cause it to wear quickly, looking dull and damaged. 

For best results, make sure to vacuum in multiple directions to remove any deep down dirt. Mind resting over the borders of sisal rugs, you can damage them causing your rug to begin to unravel. 

How do you treat pet stains on jute, sisal and seagrass?

Like most pet stains, you want to blot up urine or remove fecal matter immediately. The longer it sits the more likely it will stain. This is true for most flooring surfaces.

Using a sponge or brush, treat the area gently with mild carpet shampoo or detergent. Make sure you’re using a cleaner safe for natural fibers. I recommend this pet specific carpet cleaner because of it is eco-friendly, great at neutralizing pet odors, and it’s great results.

 

jute rug in a farmhouse room

Natural fiber rugs can really add texture, warmth and function to your home. Not only are they eco-friendly, they have great durability. 

I really hope this Complete Guide to Natural Fiber Rugs has informed you and even helped solve some of your questions. These natural tone rugs really do compliment a variety of decor styles, you really cannot go wrong!

Have you decided against Natural Fibers? Let me recommend some other affordable farmhouse style rugs – many that will compliment anyone home decor.

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