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Materials Matter

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Choosing the right color and design for a rug to fit your home is difficult enough, add in the complication of choosing what the rug should be made of and most people get overwhelmed.

Not to worry! We can help. We'll briefly go over some of the most common materials rugs are made from and discuss their pluses, minuses and how best to clean them.

Wool

Wool:

  • High quality natural animal-based fiber (from sheep or goats)
  • Durable
  • Naturally stain resistant
  • Naturally fire retardant
  • Great for most locations in the house, NOT for outdoor use
  • More costly than cotton or sisal
  • For spills: Spot clean with cool water and a clean white cloth. Blot - do NOT rub - rubbing will change the texture of wool. If stain does not lift out with just water - use 1/2 teaspoon of clear dish soap in 1 pint of warm water. Be sure to thoroughly rinse after using soap - soap left on the fibers will attract dirt and make the spot look dirty.
  • For more extensive issues have professionally cleaned

 

Cotton:

  • Natural plant based fiber
  • Relatively inexpensive - readily renewable
  • Light weight and soft
  • Absorbent - can soil easily
  • Ideal for low traffic & "no-shoe" areas (bedrooms/bathrooms), NOT for outdoor use
  • Spot clean with water, a clean white cloth and small amount of clear dish soap
  • Small cotton flat weaves can be washed in the washing machine (although this is not recommended)

 

Sisal:

- Natural plant fiber

- Relatively inexpensive - readily renewable

- Environmentally friendly

- Absorbant - soils easily (liquids, including water can cause stains)

- Offers beautiful texture

- Can be rough or prickly - will soften with wear

- Ideal for areas with low spill potential - NOT for outdoor use

- Clean spills with a damp white cloth, blot do NOT rub (rubbing can cause changes in texture). Can use "Host" dry extraction powder.

 

Jute:

  • Natural grass fiber
  • Fairly inexpensive - readily renewable
  • Absorbent - soils easily - liquids (including water) can create stains
  • Softest of the grass fibers
  • Offers a beautiful texture
  • Ideal for areas with low spill potential - NOT for outdoor use
  • Clean spills with a damp white cloth, blot do NOT rub (rubbing can cause changes in texture). Can use "Host" dry extraction powder.

 

Seagrass: 

  • Made from a hardy tropical reed
  • Has a pleasant hay-like aroma that will mostly dissipate over time
  • Fairly inexpensive - readily renewable
  • Less absorptive than other grass fibers - but will still absorb liquids
  • Ideal for low spill areas - NOT for outdoor use
  • Clean spills with a damp white cloth, blot do NOT rub (rubbing can cause changes in texture). Can use "Host" dry extraction powder

 

Silk:

 

  • A natural fiber produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons
  • One of the strongest natural fibers - loses up to 20% of it's strength when wet
  • Absorbant - can soil easily
  • Is extremely soft and lustrous
  • Ideal for "barefoot areas" with low spill potential - NOT for outdoor use
  • When soiled it is best to use a professional cleaner. However there are times when a quick response is needed - in that case gently blot soiled area using a clean white cloth or paper towel to absorb liquid from spills - Air dry (avoid heat drying) - Do NOT scrub

 

 

- A natural material made from flax

- Known to be the strongest natural material - is stronger when wet

- Readily renewable material

- Absorbent - dries quickly - soils easily

- Spot clean spills with a damp white cloth use 1/2 teaspoon of clear dish soap in 1 pint of warm water. Thoroughly rinse out soap - soap residue will attract dirt and make the spot look dirty.

- Known to be tolerable for those with allergies and/or skin conditions

- NOT for outdoor use

Viscose

Viscose: 

  • A synthetic fiber made from wood cellulose - Bamboo silk is a specific type of viscose made exclusively from bamboo cellulose (also called synthetic silk or art silk)
  • Some resources say the performance of bamboo silk is greater than that of typical viscose
  • Absorbant - soils easily
  • Both soft and lustrous like real silk
  • Less expensive than real silk but with similar qualities
  • Ideal for "barefoot areas" with low spill potential - NOT for outdoor use
  • When soiled it is best to use a professional cleaner. However there are times when a quick response is needed - in that case gently blot soiled area using a clean white cloth or paper towel to absorb liquid from spills - Air dry (avoid heat drying) - Do NOT scrub
  • For more information about cleaning viscose visit the Kalaty Rug Care Guide.

 

Nylon

 

Nylon:

  • A generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers
  • Durable
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to clean -spot clean with water and a clean white cloth or use household carpet cleaner (spot test first)

Polypropylene:

  • Commonly referred to as olefin
  • A synthetic fiber made from a thermoplastic polymer
  • Non-absorbant - water proof
  • Easy to clean - resistant to many chemical solvents - use household carpet cleaner (spot test first)
  • Fairly durable
  • Inexpensive
  • Ideal for outdoor use - although UV sun rays degrade fibers over time

PET (polyethylene terephthalate):

  • A synthetic fiber in the polyester family made from a thermoplastic polymer
  • Recycled #1 plastic - rugs can be made with up to 100% recycled post-consumer PET
  • More expensive then poly or nylon but as post-consumer waste becomes more abundant PET becomes less expensive
  • Can be considered environmentally friendly
  • Non-absorbant
  • Ok for use outdoors - best on covered porches etc.

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