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Sisal Carpet: What It Is and Why to Buy It

In recent years, the popularity of natural carpet fibers has been on the rise. Many consumers are becoming more concerned about the environment, and the plastics that go into most carpet materials aren’t as friendly on the environment as they’d like.

There are lots of options for natural fibers when it comes to carpet, including wool, jute, seagrass, and coir, but the most popular is sisal (pronounced sigh-suhl). So what is sisal carpet? And is it right for your home?

What Is Sisal Carpet?

Sisal carpet is a renewable material made from the fibers of the agave plant, also known as agave sisalana (hence the name). Agave is a desert plant with long, spiny leaves like a yucca or aloe plant. The durable fibers that support those leaves are extracted and woven into carpets and rugs to make sisal.

Sisal plants grow quickly and with very little water or commercial fertilizers, so they’re an extremely renewable resource for consumers who are concerned about the environmental impact of their carpet choice.

Sisal can be used in virtually any flooring application, from wall to wall carpet to sisal rugs, runners, and even wall coverings. Unlike synthetic fibers, sisal is irregular by nature. Any rugs and carpets made of sisal will include weaving variations that reflect the natural origin of the fibers and give an earthy feel to the room.

Pros of Sisal Carpet

The biggest draw of sisal carpet is its eco-friendliness. Synthetic carpets are made of plastic, which uses petroleum in its manufacturing process and can result in harmful chemicals being released into the environment. Consumers who are worried about the origins of their carpeting may be especially interested in all-natural fibers like sisal.

Sisal fibers are naturally very dense, so they don’t trap dust or allergens. The dense weave of the carpet also makes it extremely durable — perfect for high-traffic areas. Sisal won’t compress over time or display dents from furniture, making it a popular choice for dining rooms with heavy tables and chairs.

Sisal is also neutrally colored, giving it a sophisticated, natural look that goes with anything. From rich brown to light tan and creamy white, sisal will create a beautiful accent to any decor or furniture you choose to decorate with.

Cons of Sisal Carpet

The biggest drawback of sisal carpet is its absorbance. Since it’s made of natural fibers and can’t be treated for stain resistance in the factory, it will absorb water like a sponge, making it extremely susceptible to liquid stains like wine, coffee, juice, and pet stains. If you have a household with small children or young pets, sisal may not be the best choice for you.

Sisal also isn’t particularly soft. The toughness of sisal fibers makes it an extremely durable choice for carpet, but it’s also not nearly as soft as natural wool or synthetic varieties of carpet. If sitting on the floor or playing with infants and toddlers is a priority, you’ll probably want a softer alternative for your home.

Where Should You Use Sisal Carpet?

Sisal carpet is best suited to high-traffic areas like steps, hallways, and entryways. The durable fibers will last for years of heavy foot traffic, and softness isn’t usually a priority in those areas. If you do use sisal in an entryway, make sure to use a suitable doormat as well to keep stains from mud, snow, and moisture out of your carpet.

Sisal is also perfect for areas that see a lot of furniture traffic. Living rooms with big couches and coffee tables, dining rooms with heavy wooden tables and chairs, and offices with desks and rolling chairs are excellent places to incorporate sisal. Since it doesn’t show indentations over time, sisal is a durable option for rooms with large furniture.

Keeping Sisal Clean

Sisal fibers are hard and don’t generate static electricity, so dirt doesn’t stick to it. A quick pass with a vacuum once a week will keep sisal carpet looking clean and fresh. If you do spill liquid on sisal carpet, blot it immediately with a damp cloth and dry by pressing a towel into the affected area. It’s also a good idea to install a thin felt carpet pad underneath sisal to allow air to circulate and keep the fibers dry.

Sisal isn’t right for everyone, but in the right homes, it can be an attractive, environmentally conscious choice. Ask us about our natural fiber options, or schedule a visit today!