How to Clean Sisal Rugs

How to Clean Sisal Rugs

Natural fiber floor coverings, like Sisal Rugs, are relatively easy to maintain. This is because dirt does not cling to the hard fibers, but rests loosely in the weave.

Sisal rugs weave thickness and patterns can vary widely, however all are very durable and will last a long time against wear and tear if cared for properly. Follow these easy steps on how to clean sisal rugs:

Keeping Your Sisal Rug Clean

Sisal rugs are durable and resilient in nature, but you can extend the life and appearance of your rug for even longer simply with proper care and cleaning. Learn the best way to clean your sisal rug and keep it looking great for years with these five maintenance secrets. 

1. Vacuum regularly

Frequent vacuuming helps to prevent dirt from piling up and staining your rug. Even if your rug doesn't look dirty, take five minutes each week just to vacuum it and ensure the rug stays clean. If you have a bound sisal rug, be careful not to damage it by vacuuming in the direction of the binding.

2. Do not clean with water

Natural-fiber rugs like sisal do not handle moisture well. To prevent water from damaging your sisal rug, avoid cleaning methods like steam cleaning or shampooing. 

3. Blot away stains and spills

The best way to clean up spills is to blot the spot with a clean cloth. Be sure not to rub when cleaning the spill, as this can cause stains. 

4. Use Sisal Life Cleaner for tough stains

Not all stains can be blotted away. In this case, use Sisal Life Cleaner with a clean cloth to treat the stain and protect your rug from future spills. After applying the cleaner, dry your rug with a hair dryer. 

5. Prevent stains with Sisal Life Protector

While our Sisal Life Cleaner helps remove stains, the Sisal Life Protector prevents them. Have the protector professionally applied or conveniently apply it yourself with the easy-to-use spray bottle. 

wine spill on carpet

How to Spot Clean:

  1. Immediately remove any spills from your rug by pressing firmly with clean, white paper or cloth towels working from the outside of the spill inward to avoid spreading. Continue blotting (blot do not rub) until no moisture transfers to the towel.
  2. For solid spills, scrape up solids with a dull knife or nail file. Then follow step # 1. 
  3. For red wine and tomato sauce, dab with a white cloth dampened with club soda to neutralize the spill and remove any possible stain.
  4. Let dry. Many times the stain disappears. If not, try cleaning with a cloth dampened with mild soap, or use our Sisal Life Cleaner. Dry immediately with a hairdryer or fan.
  5. Host Dry Cleaner Kit Method – you can also use the Host Dry Cleaner to spot clean. Shake HOST Dry Carpet Cleaner onto the spill until covered.
  6. Brush HOST Dry Carpet Cleaner through the Sisal Rugs in all directions: north & south, then east & west.
  7. After brushing, pack the area with another handful of HOST Dry Carpet Cleaner
  8. Wait until the area is completely dry. For wet spills, this may take overnight. HOST Dry Carpet Cleaner will lighten to a pale gold color as it dries. Then vacuum thoroughly
  9. Test a non conspicuous spot with the Host Spot Remover on natural fibers (sisal, jute, seagrass, etc) before applying it. You can also use our Sisal Life Cleaner spot remover.
happy dog on a carpethappy dog on a carpet

How to Clean Pet Accidents Out of Sisal Rugs


  • Blot up as much of the spot as possible by pressing firmly with clean, white paper or cloth towels, working from the outside of the spot inward to avoid spreading.
  • To neutralize odor, mix ¼ cup of white vinegar with ¼ cup of water. Alternately dab a towel dampened in the solution and blot with a dry towel.
  • Then follow procedures in Spot Cleaning.

Feces or Vomit:

  • Scrape up any excess working from the outside of the spot inward to avoid spreading.
  • Then follow procedures for Spot Cleaning.

Overall Cleaning:

It is important to control the amount of moisture during cleaning. NEVER steam clean, wet shampoo or any other method that involves water saturation on a natural fiber rug. It is recommended that a dry cleaning process be used. We have a Host Cleaning Kit for your convenience and it cleans up to a 250 sq. ft. area.

Normal Maintenance:

  1. As mentioned above, regular vacuuming is the best care to keep the appearance of your Sisal Rug fresh. Visible and loose dirt should be vacuumed with a strong suction vacuum. Do not use a beater bar. Vacuum the rug from different directions, making several passes over the area.
  2. Although the need may not be visible, this frequent and regular vacuuming will increase Sisal Rugs life by preventing soil build-up, and will help eliminate stains caused when spilled liquids dissolve soil accumulations.

Under no conditions should the carpet be saturated with excess moisture, or undesirable dimensional changes could result, as well as possible staining from dyes in the underlay. Care should be taken that the Sisal Rugs are vacuumed and clean before applying the moisture, since dirt in the matting might stain if dissolved.

Sisal Rug Cleaning FAQS

How do I vacuum bound rugs?

When vacuuming bound area rugs, take special care with the binding border. Do not let the vacuum sit on top of the binding or catch the corner of the rug as it could damage the binding. Also, we suggest you vacuum in the direction that the binding is sewn so as not to pull up the binding from the rug. Do not use the beater bar when vacuuming. Rugs will not be replaced or repaired due to improper vacuuming or care.

How do I clean the borders of bound rugs?

For routine maintenance of our woven fabric borders (cotton canvas and linen), simply vacuum the edge finish as explained above in Vacuuming Bound Rugs.

If excessive soiling or spills occur on the binding, our Sisal Life Protector as it is applied.

To maintain one of our Premium leather bindings, simply wipe the surface with a damp—not wet—cloth or sponge or a leather cleaner/conditioner.

How do I protect my sisal rug?

We highly recommend that sisal be treated with our Sisal Life Protector. This helps to decrease absorbency and lengthen the time between cleaning. We can professionally apply the protector for you. You can also purchase the Sisal Life Protector in a “do-it-yourself” 22 oz. spray bottle.

Fabric Protector.jpg

What are the advantages of a Sisal rug protector?

Our protector is an acrylic polymer fabric and textile protector, like Scotchguard, but for sisal. Natural fibers and other fabrics treated with this protector will repel water and resist virtually all cold liquid spills and even oily soil. It contains no ozone depleting chemicals.

We highly recommend treating natural fiber rugs with our protector to protect against spills and increase the life of your rug.  Applying Sisal Life Protector will NOT GUARANTEE that your sisal will never stain, but it will reduce the chances should a spill occur.

How do I fix curled rug corners?

When Sisal Rugs are used as an area rug, traffic or shuffling of feet across a corner or edge could cause the edge to curl. It is easy to fix this by dampening the curled area with a small amount of lukewarm water on a paper towel, or placing a damp towel over the area and weighting it down evenly overnight. If severely curled it might be necessary to repeat this process. We also carry Curl Stop which is an anti-curling rug system that keeps corners flat and is safe for all floors.


Responsibility for cleaning and maintenance lies with those performing this work since the manner and conditions of rug cleaning or maintenance, and the cleaning materials used are beyond our control.

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