While the environmental consciousness is more common today is beneficial to our plant, some of the materials may not be the best at cleaning. Understanding the pros and the cons together can help you figure out which rug type is best for your home. Many eco-friendly fibers need a certain lifestyle around them; some can handle the activity of kids and pets while some are probably best away from them.
Wool is probably the best choice to go with, as it’s eco-friendly and pretty durable. It’s also the easiest to biodegrade, mostly in warm and moist conditions. Wool is the most durable of the fibers, but can be stain easier due to the creases and divots in the fiber. The deeper the spill gets into the creases, the more likely it is to stain the fiber.
Sisal is a coarse and scratchy plant material that doesn’t trap allergens. It also can’t build up static electricity, because of the lack of friction. This material absorbs sound well and comes in neutral colors to go with different styled furniture’s and décor. Although there are benefits to this fiber, you shouldn’t use these types of rugs outdoors in in heavy traffic areas or in areas where the rug could have spills or accidents. These rugs may be eco-friendly, but they do not clean up very well and are prone to water marks and holding onto moisture.
Jute is made from an Indian stalk, harvested and processed into the fiber we see in most area rugs today. The problem with it is almost the same as sisal, it’s easy to stain and destroy. These fibers are more likely to absorb water like a sponge and eventually dry rot. It’s important that if anything spills or leaks on these rugs to try and blot immediately. The quicker you extract the water within the rug, the more likely you won’t deal with a dry rot issue.
Look for tags that say untreated, minimally treated or organic. Most fibers, even the three above, can be treated with pesticides to help prevent bugs or pests eating at them during harvest. Wool is treated for lice and ticks as well, with chemicals that can even harm the sheep itself or the farmer.
The key to keeping you rugs free of toxins after looking into the fibers used, it’s important to maintain the fibers by vacuuming frequently, preferably with the beater bar turned off to avoid damage to the fibers, and by having a semi-annual or annual professional cleaning depending on the amount of use the rug gets.