What Is Sisal Carpet?
Sisal carpet is a product made from the sisal plant which is part of the agave plant family. Traditionally the sisal plant is produced to make twine and other rope products. Sisal is a very tough fiber which is in some ways similar to hemp. We call sisal carpet “dartboard carpet” because not only is it made into floor coverings, many dartboards are made from the plant. The sisal plant is harvested in the tropics and is fabricated into everything from paper and rope, to mattresses, cat scratching posts, sandals, cloth, and other items.
Sisal carpet has a nice woven appearance. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for sisal due to the many beautiful patterns and styles it offers. Rather than placing a boring mono-color cut pile in a game room, it might be fun to try an extravagant multicolored sisal carpet or rug. Choosing sisal as a floor covering gives you an added bit of flexibility when it comes to styling a room to make it look truly unique.
Properly maintaining a sisal carpet or rug can be a chore. It is fairly easily stained and sensitive to moisture. Installing a house wide sisal in a home right on the beach may not be the best idea due to its tendency to absorb moisture. You might also want to consider keeping it away from doorways leading outside if you live in an area prone to heavy rain or snow. While some humidity is ok, directly saturating sisal with water is not recommended.
Sisal while being a very tough, durable product, does tend to mat down in areas of high traffic. A hall-way for instance may not be a suitable location. Sisal does however tend to naturally resist the build up of static electricity unlike nylon, which makes it a good product for areas that may host sensitive electrical equipment. Placing a sisal rug underneath your computer desk is a great way to liven up the room and decrease the chances of a static discharge ruining something in your computer (editor's note: please check with the equipment's manufacturer before placing a floor covering underneath any type of electrical equipment). Some products advertised as being sisal are actually made from synthetic material or are a hybrid which may not hold the same anti-static properties.
Unfortunately sisal does tend to stain easily. Be very careful when using spot removers due to the possibility of making the stain worse. Some stain removers while successfully removing the stain, can discolor the material itself leading to a bleaching effect. We recommend having a professional dry clean the carpet. If you do decide to use a commercial spot cleaner, be sure to test the product on a small inconspicuous area first to make certain it won't discolor your carpet. There are some dry cleaning powders you can use yourself if you don't want to hire a professional.
If you do spill something be sure to gently blot the liquid up. If cleaning a sisal rug, blot from the bottom as well. If it's something thick like peanut butter, use a credit card or other item with a non-sharp straight edge to gently scrape away at the substance. Once you've blotted up as much of the substance as possible, have a professional dry clean the area. Using water to clean the area can in some cases cause the sisal to shrink. As always, check with the carpet or rug's manufacturer to find the safest way to clean your particular product.
Be sure to use a rug pad when placing sisal on any hard surface. This is to prevent slippage and to protect the surface below. Wood surfaces can easily be scratched if a sisal rug is placed without a proper padding. Rug pads are made from latex and other material and can be found at any rug store.
Sisal is a durable, high quality material that if used in the right locations, can add a sophisticated, unique appearance to your home. Just be sure to keep it away from areas likely to receive stains and moisture.