Sisal rugs are the number one, go-to natural rug in our assortment. Whether we are contacted by designers, commercial businesses or homeowners, natural sisal is the weave they select most of the time. It is never too late to learn more about the sisal rug you already own or the one you are about to buy. Tightly woven or chunky weaves, neutral or bold colors, with or without backing—every sisal has its place. Your purchase should bring joy for years to come, so finding the ideal location and placement is key.
Why Does the Design World Love Sisal Rugs?
Interior designers look for certain characteristics in a product before they recommend it to their clients. Beauty, versatility, durability, timelessness and customization are at the top of their list. As natural sisal rugs embody all of these qualities, they become the first choice in flooring. The appeal of sisal lies in its earthy colors and arresting textures. Natural colors—ranging from satiated brown, golden luster to sand-colored tan—form a superb color palette. These neutral tones enrich any design style, whether it is traditional, modern or minimalist.
Versatility in texture and pattern is another feature of sisal rugs. Imagine a tight-woven or heavy bouclé, a classic basket weave or herringbone versus a more playful geometric pattern. The right texture and pattern will add interest to the overall theme. These ample options build the canvas for designers to start their creative process. The base layer is used to set the tone of the room—elegant, calm, fresh, warm—while not distracting from the accent rug’s audacious statement. Natural sisal rugs and wall-to-wall carpet established themselves as the preferred, timeless foundation for layering. Sisal is the most durable among all natural flooring fibers. And as a final perk, it can be cut into any shape a space asks for.
Are Sisal Rugs Good for Outdoor Use?
Our simple answer, “No, as sisal does not hold up very well to wet conditions.” It is the question we get asked the most over the phone or via email: “Can sisal be used for outdoor rugs?” And with sisal, 99% of our customers mean natural sisal. Sisal is a natural plant fiber; although, it is strong and durable, it stains easily—even spilled water may cause warping and leaves a stain. Our team of experts will direct you instead to our stylish synthetic sisal weaves. Synthetic sisal mimics the look of natural sisal but is highly resistant to moisture and easy to clean. Reserve your natural sisal for indoors in residential and light commercial settings.
Are Sisal Rugs Comfortable to Walk on?
Sisal rugs are made from the long leaves of the agave plant, resulting in a strong but stiff fiber that can feel coarse on your bare feet. If you follow flooring trends, you’ll notice that natural sisal rugs remain a constant and timeless feature. Designers, hotels and commercial spaces alike are looking for flooring that is soft underfoot with a texture that bounces back from impressions and is antistatic. As natural sisal can feel rough, our sales team recommends our popular sisal-wool blends. Adding inherently resilient wool to your area rug brings out depth, sophistication and warmth. Jute rugs are also a great alternative, being one of the softest natural fibers, but less durable than sisal. When your kids and pets congregate onto your living room rug, you know it’s because it feels soft and insulating; plus, you can relax as sisal-wool blends or jute are a non-toxic choice.
Are Sisal Rugs Pet Friendly?
There is no perfect rug for our four-legged friends, but some weave materials fair better than others. Tightly woven, durable and easy to clean are keywords you want to be looking for. Natural sisal fairs well in all categories but stain resistance. If you are sold on natural sisal, consider using a darker color that hides dirt or if your pet sheds a lot, choose a color similar to its fur. Another way to distract from dirt and hair are patterns or bold textures. For chewers, avoid fringes and loose threads. Ask our sales experts for tightly woven sisals.
If you just want the natural look of sisal without having to worry about stains, browse our curated selection of synthetic sisals, which are soft and easy to clean. Even better, choose one of our outdoor sisals without backing to avoid any pet odor from lingering. A tear and scratch resistant synthetic sisal might not only make your pooch or his feline companion happy, but also save you money and time taking care of your investment.
Are Sisal Rugs Good for High-Traffic Areas?
Natural sisal rugs, known for their durability, work excellent in high-traffic areas that are less prone to spills and dirt. But if you need a stain-resistant, low-maintenance area rug for your entryway, hotel lobby or shared office space, our team of experts will familiarize you with three materials: our SisalPLUS for heavy-duty, commercial spaces; synthetic sisal for residential designs; and nylon for commercial projects or anything that goes outdoors.
The SisalPLUS family incorporates the most stain-resistant, 100% natural sisal weaves on the market. Each individual yarn has been coated with stain-resistant and fire-retardant fluorocarbon. Beyond that, the coating also increases the UV stability as well as alcohol, oil and water repellency of the weave. This Bluesign® approved treatment makes our safe and sustainable SisalPLUS ideal for active, high-traffic spaces such as hotels, resorts, store designs and residential homes with kids and/ or pets.
Synthetic sisal imitates the sisal look while keeping care efforts to a minimum. You get the best of two worlds— resilience and aesthetics. Most of our contract-grade weaves are made from 100% nylon and meet commercial fire code requirements. Nylon is part of the synthetic polymer family. It outcompetes any material on the flooring market when it comes to cleanability, abrasion and UV resistance. Nylon fibers bounce back to hide traffic patterns. As both materials are surprisingly soft underfoot, the ultimate application should guide your decision.
What Are the Best Alternatives to Sisal Rugs?
To suggest the smartest alternative to a sisal rug, our customer service team will ask you for the needs of your space and your lifestyle. Choosing the right rug is all about location: low, medium to high traffic; kids and/ or pets; high versus low maintenance. Most of our rug inquiries fall into one of three categories:
1. Customer Likes Natural Sisal Look but Shies Away from High Maintenance
In this scenario, we recommend our synthetic sisal weaves, which mimic the look of natural sisal without you having to worry about spills. They are surprisingly soft to the touch and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. The key is to act quickly if an accident occurs and follow our synthetic care guide.
2. Client Desires Natural, Non-Toxic Rug that Adds Warmth and Comfort to the Space
Natural sisal can feel scratchy, so it would not be our first choice. Jute and wool rugs on the other hand are two materials that caress your bare feet while walking on them. Wool is considered more durable than jute as its fibers bounce back and hide traffic patterns. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to wool, check out our sisal-wool blend rugs. They are a marriage between resilient strength and natural softness. We offer a wide variety of soothing colors and stunning textures in a budget-friendly range.
3. Buyer Needs Rug that Holds Up to High Traffic while Being Easy to Care for
This eliminates all of the natural weaves—sisal, seagrass, jute, coir and wool—as they all require medium to high maintenance. Our durable rugs that are also easy to care for are the aforementioned synthetic sisals as well as our contract-grade weaves. The latter ones wear exceptionally well and resist stains, moisture, bacteria and mildew. They are the prime choice for residential areas, such as hallways or dining areas as well as hospitality projects, universities and retail stores.
How to Care for Sisal Rugs?
Many websites will tell you that natural sisal is easy to clean, which does not mean that it is easy to maintain. These sources often only refer to dirt removal and less to treating stains and spills. If you want detailed cleaning and care instructions, take a look at our care guides from natural, wool to synthetic weave care as well as our comprehensive spot removal chart.
Some quick tips included in our care guide for natural fiber rugs: It is true that big dirt particles usually rest loosely on top of sisal’s hard fibers, but finer ones will lodge between the fibers and need to be vacuumed regularly using strong suction or a brush attachment. When it comes to spills and spots, know that natural fiber rugs are inherently absorbent. Please do not place your sisal rugs in damp environments or where spills are likely to occur such as kids’ and dining spaces or bathrooms. Should a spill occur, even if it is only water, attend to it immediately. Scoop up any solids. Then, blot the spill gently with white paper towel. Do not rub. Work from the outside towards the center of the spill. We put together a detailed spot removal and stain treatment chart for you, listing cleaning tips for most culprits from blood to wine.
Are Sisal Rugs Durable?
Sisal fibers, produced from the robust agave plant, are one of the most durable natural fibers used in the carpeting industry. Yet, a rug’s life expectancy is not only derived from its wear-and-tear properties. Its performance in high moisture environments and probability to stain easily are equally important longevity factors.
How does sisal’s durability compare to other natural fibers? Seagrass joins sisal as a high-traffic weave but is especially susceptible to mold and mildew growth. Coir, another strong plant fiber, performs well in commercial settings. Its stiff fibers feel rough to walk on and coir only comes in limited styles and colors. Jute rugs congregate at the bottom of the resiliency table. Their soft fibers tend to shed and wear off easily. Thus, the longevity of a sisal rug is unbeatable by any other natural fiber rug. A final tip from our sales experts: choose a rug with inherent color variation and a dark-color binding to hide dirt to some extent.
Are Sisal Rugs Soft?
Customers often report that sisal rugs are scratchy and feel rough to walk on. That is true for brand-new rugs made from 100% natural sisal. Sisal fibers are inherently stiff but durable. There are several work-arounds if you desire the sisal look without compromising softness. If you like natural sisal, check out our chunky weaves such as Munich or Berlin. They feel softer underfoot than tight-woven sisal rugs and will smooth over time. Plus, add a thick rug pad for extra cushioning. Another option is to blend sisal with wool—one of the softest natural fibers on the market. We offer a wide array of beautiful sisal-wool blends in fresh colors and unique patterns. They introduce warmth and dimension to any space. If you aim for the sisal look, browse our selection of synthetic sisals. These weaves showcase the aesthetics of sisal while being amazingly soft, durable and easy to clean.
Do Sisal Rugs Shed?
All plant fibers shed to some degree whereas natural sisal fairs much better in the shedding category than jute. Another way to say this: the more durable a natural fiber rug, the less it sheds. Sisal is tough. It is often used for ropes because it withstands some serious wear and tear. To avoid shedding, choose tightly woven sisal rugs such as Astute or Madrid, and take care of them the proper way. The trick is to regularly vacuum your rug, going with the grain, to dislocate any fine dirt particles that may contribute to abrasion. Vacuums with strong suction are preferred, but turn off that beater bar. This will take care of the fuzz and increase your rug’s life-time immensely.
Often customers mistake sprouting for shedding. For the uninitiated, sprouting looks like a pulled thread. But if you talk to our dedicated sales team, they will inform you that sprouting is a common process that may occur in all natural fiber rugs. “To sprout” means that the fibers of a yarn separate or loosen. This happens with regular maintenance and general wear and tear and is not a defect. Simply trim the sprout at pile height with a sharp scissor and do not pull. This routine maintenance will not hurt or affect the integrity of your rug. For more details, consult our cleaning tips for natural fibers or contact our customer consultants should you have further questions.
Are Sisal Rugs Good for Allergies?
It all depends on how vicious your allergies are. If your allergies are less severe, we suggest a tightly woven natural sisal rug on top of beautiful hardwood floors. It enriches the ambiance while still keeping allergens to a minimum. Allergies are caused either by aggravating antigens—typically proteins such as pet dander, dust mites and mold—or by air pollutants. Chemically treated surfaces emit toxins into the air over time. All our natural sisal rugs are untreated with the exception of our stain-resistant sisal series. Sisal is a renewable resource. It is grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers and biodegrades over time. Selecting a tightly woven natural sisal ensures that allergens don’t penetrate deeply into the fibers.
Choosing the right material for your rug is just one side of the allergy equation. Proper cleaning is as important. Luckily, natural sisal sheds less than other natural fibers such as wool or jute. Vacuum one to two times a week with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. Those filters remove 99.97% of airborne particles when maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Also get yourself some of these hip Hygge slippers. Put them in a simple felt or wicker basket next to your front door. Your guests will want to take off their street shoes for sure.
What If You Are Allergic to Wool?
Sometimes we receive rug inquiries from customers who are allergic to natural materials such as wool. In these rare cases our team of experts suggests our low VOC SynSisal®. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature, for example benzene, ethylene glycol, carbolic acid and 4-phenylcyclohexene (4-PCH). Our SynSisal® is your alternative green choice with low VOC contribution. Plus, it is made from 100% recycled nylon. With our SynSisal®, you are a good steward of the earth.
What If You Have Severe Allergies?
Let’s face it, then it might be best to get rid of all your carpeting in your home—natural or synthetic. Stick to a smooth hardwood floor or natural stone tiles that don’t trap allergens at all.
Is Sisal Carpet Good for Stairs?
The prime stair runner must be durable, hard-wearing, tight/ flat-woven and non-slippery—a natural sisal rug fulfills all of these requirements and more. Why would people add a runner to their stairs in the first place? Sometimes it is just to hide an old, unappealing staircase or to avoid having to repaint it for the dozenth time. More often though, they want to protect their beautiful stairs from being beaten up. Many families carpet their stairs to soften the steps of their children while at the same time, muffling them. For others, it is simply a design choice to emphasize a particular style or infuse radiance into an otherwise chilly atmosphere. Sisal rugs are perfect for all these purposes. We have a wide selection of 100% natural sisals in flatweave construction that are safe to use in your home.
When Is Sisal Not Good for Stairs?
There are three scenarios for which our sales professionals will not recommend a natural sisal rug for your stairs: if you set your eyes on a chunky sisal weave; for usage in humid environments; and if you worry about stains.
As discussed before, chunky weaves are not the right application for staircases. In the other two cases, we guide clients towards our stain-resistant sisal and synthetic sisal collections. Stain-resistant sisal weaves are unique. We especially developed them for extra heavy-contract use. Check out our chic Orcas and Lopez weaves, which are sought after for hospitality projects and by store design clients. The other stain-worry-free alternatives are our easy-to-clean synthetic sisals. The most sustainable product among them is our regenerable SynSisal® collection made from 100% recycled nylon with low VOC contribution—ECONYL®—in contract-grade and StayClean technology. SynSisal® mimics the traditional look of natural sisal in structure and color. Stain-resistant and synthetic sisals are also our recommendations for families with kids and pets.
Final Tips for Successful Completion of Your Stair Runner Project:
Don’t save money on the wrong line items! Whatever your ultimate weave choice for your stair runner is going to be, we highly recommend the use of a thin rug pad for extra cushioning. Plus, it helps with noise absorption. Aside from that, hiring a professional installer will ensure that your stair runner not just looks great but also lasts a long time. If you need more detail and inspiration, pay a virtual visit to our stair runners resource page for everything you need to know about stair runners.
In the end, know that a natural sisal rug brings warmth, depth and authentic beauty into your space. Whether your project is a residence, boutique hotel, office or retail space, natural sisal has a purpose in any of these applications. We hope this blog post assists you in finding the optimal location for your sisal rug. If you have any additional questions, please contact our knowledgeable sales team. We are here for you.