Sisal Rug Maintenance
November 23, 2004 10:21 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are thinking of buying a sisal or seagrass rug from Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrell or one of those places. I like the way they look brand new, but am worried about how it would wear. Are they easy to clean? How do you clean it--you can't vacuum it, can you? Will the cat shred it within 24 hours?
posted by bevedog to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
We vacuum our sisal rug no prob. It attracts cat hair (less than an acrylic rug, slightly more than a wool rug) but it vacuums out easily--the one we have is fairly smooth in texture; I think it came from Ikea.

One of our cats likes to claw at it but hasn't even made a visible mark after months of going at it. She's not a real shredder-type, though. YMMV.
posted by bcwinters at 10:40 PM on November 23, 2004

If you are getting a real natural fiber rug (watch out for synthetics called sisal) you will be getting a very durable rug that shouldn't cause you too many headaches. You can have it treated with a protecant that may need to be redone over the years, the frequency depending on the volume of traffic it gets. Or, the carpet may already come pretreated; ask the dealer, who should give you a care guide anyway. You can vacuum as usual, but you can't use a wet cleaner. I've heard good things about this dry rug cleaner. More tips for cleaning are here, though I don't know what "sponges" refer to.

Make sure if you spill something to wipe it up quickly. The stain will sit for a bit on the surface, especially if it's protected, so if you act fast you can avoid watermarking.

Yes, your kitties will think they've died and gone to scratchy heaven. However, if you've got a well-made, tightly woven rug, they shouldn't do too much damage, just enough to give it a bit of character.
posted by melissa may at 10:55 PM on November 23, 2004

Whoops, that should have been more cleaning tips here.
posted by melissa may at 10:58 PM on November 23, 2004

I think that these rugs are popular precisely because of their cleanability (and they are awfully handsome). But please note that they're terribly uncomfy underfoot! If you like going barefoot as often as I do, I don't recommend sticking one of these things in a high-traffic area.
posted by equipoise at 11:08 PM on November 23, 2004

we had one, and it gradually got dirty. i guess we should have taken it to a cleaners. instead, we squashed it into a washing machine and washed it. i don't think that would have been so bad, but instead of drying it flat we then hung it over a line. it ended up with a ridge where the line was, different colours depending on what had been dried in the sun, and funny curved edges. so don't do that.

it lasted as long as any other decent rug, really. longer than you might expect, given the colour. not as long as you might expect, given how solid it was.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:08 AM on November 24, 2004

ps that was a sisal rug. we had fitted seagrass covering on a floor (like carpet) and it lasted really well. barefoot took some getting used to, but is quite acceptable once you get over the surprise (rather like having a firm massage when you're not quite expecting it). not as nice as wood, but a lot more affordable and better than that horrible plastic laminate stuff.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:10 AM on November 24, 2004

We have a seagrass rug (picture here from when we first moved in) and two young kittens with all their claws. They tend to use their claws on it, but to no visible effect. It's held up very well for two years. Easy to vacuum, occasionally having to pick a things out by hand if they get stuck.

I'd echo equipoise's comment that they are rough underfoot, especially in the beginning. However, once you get used to it, it's not so bad (though our entire apartment has wood floors, so everything is rougher on the bare feet than "regular" carpet).
posted by gregchttm at 5:41 AM on November 24, 2004

I have one that's 5 years old now. I love the feel of it on my feet. My cats don't bother it and it's super easy to keep clean. There is one stain on it now but it's really not bad. Otherwise, it looks new.
posted by onhazier at 6:06 AM on November 24, 2004

My former employer had sisal wall-to-wall carpeting. I'd take the stain protection comments here seriously; our carpet wasn't properly protected and would stain quite easily and visibly with plain old water.
posted by LionIndex at 9:17 AM on November 24, 2004

I just wanted to thank you all before this disappears from the front page: your responses have been very helpful. Worth the $5 to get a MeFi account!
posted by bevedog at 2:58 PM on November 24, 2004

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