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Cleaning Natural Fibre Carpeting

Deciding on how to clean natural fibre carpeting is not an easy task. It would be a mistake to believe that a shampoo is good enough to clean any carpet, but things are not so simple. In general, cleaning methods vary with the multitude type carpets available today and choosing the correct method is not only a challenge but a factor in assuring the carpet’s longevity.

The carpet cleaning industry is filled with specialized methods. An experienced professional can help in navigating through the maze of cleaning choices. Using the wrong cleaning agent, the wrong machine, or applying chemicals that are not eco-friendly or not safe to people can result in worsening a carpet’s condition or causing irreversible damage. In the case of cleaning natural fibre carpeting, the cleaning choices vary depending on the type of fabric; special care needs to be taken.

The reasons people buy natural fibre carpeting range from wanting to give the home a warm décor to creating an environment that follows the green way of life. Natural fibres come from animal and vegetable sources. Each type fibre is processed for carpet manufacturing according to their individual characteristics.

Natural animal fibres include alpaca, camel hair, cashmere, llama, silk and wool

Cleaning methods for each carpet type differ. Keeping the carpets clean from dust is the most essential thing to do and that’s why regular vacuuming is the first best step. Rugs and mats can be aerated and dusted outside. Avoiding this simple house chore will help dirt settle deep into the carpet making a cleanup job even harder to do. Animal fibre carpets do not tolerate water very well; however, when something gets spilled on them, something gets stuck in the fibres, or there is a stain, you can attempt to blot out the spill as much as you can with a clean cloth or paper towel, but under no circumstances use a cleaning agent that is not recommended for the particular fibre. Often times the investment made in purchasing an animal fibre carpet is just too high, so when in doubt don’t risk it, call a professional carpet cleaner.

Vegetable fibres include cotton, hemp, jute, and sisal

Cotton fiber carpeting is soft. Cleaning a carpet made of 100% cotton can be easy. Vacuuming to remove loose soil is the first step. A cotton carpet can be steamed cleaned, and if the carpet is small enough, it can even be put in the washing machine. Let it dry outside. It is important to blot out any spill immediately; a stain left to dry will be very hard to remove. Should the cotton fibre get matted, simply brush it.

Hemp fibre carpeting is another environmentally friendly product. It is mostly grown without herbicides and pesticides. Hemp is associated with marijuana but it not the same. Hemp has been used for centuries for carpets and rugs. Hemp is used along with other fibres and combined with linen and cotton. Hemp carpeting is used because it posses unparallel insulating qualities due to its hollow fibers. Hemp is also resistant to bacteria.

It is relatively easy to clean a hemp carpet. Hemp is sturdy and can be wet, however, hot water must not be used. A hemp carpet can be washed with a water hose and left outside to dry. If necessary to remove a stain a mild soap solution and water can be used. For a stronger soapy mix use a little vinegar in the solution. It is best to use a small brush to scrub a spot clean. Once the stain is gone, rinse with clean water.

Jute fibre carpeting is common. This natural fibre is not expensive and contains a textile and wood blend. Jute has been around for centuries and its uses many including draperies, furniture covers and all sorts of carpets and rugs. Yarn used in some jute carpets can be fine enough to make them look like silk. Jute is also a very eco-friendly fibre.

Jute carpeting are often blended with other fibres, including cotton and wool. People like jute carpets because they offer good acoustic insulation and are hypo-allergenic.

Cleaning a jute carpet can be a little difficult, it requires special treatment. Jute is a stiff fibre that can wrinkle easy and become brittle. Jute has a tendency to shed. In the process of making the yarn, jute is treated with special oils and natural enzymes to improve its wear ability and resist mildew and bacteria. It is for this reasons hot water or steam cleaning should never be used on a jute carpet, it will damage its quality, shrink the carpet and cause color fading.

Sisal fibre carpeting has also been used for centuries. It has erroneously been labeled sisal hemp. Sisal comes from Mexico’s Agave plant but it is grown in other parts of the world including Africa. Sisal carpets often times are a blend with other fibres such as cotton and wool. In the factory, the tough sisal fibre is specially treated to soften the yarn used in carpet making and to seal it. Cleaning a sisal carpet takes some special considerations. Due to its inherent qualities, namely resisting static and not attracting dust, vacuuming is the only thing required. However, a professional carpet cleaner should be called whenever a serious condition exists such as staining or spot removals. Sisal carpeting does not tolerate water well, soaking a sisal carpet is definitely not recommended. A professional carpet cleaner employs a dry cleaning method to effectively treat a sisal carpet.

When necessary a new stain can be taken care of simply by blotting the spot with an absorbent clean cloth or paper towels. Continue dabbing until the stain is gone trying at the same time to prevent the spill getting embedded deeper into the carpet.  Do not use cleaning agents that are dangerous or will harm the environment and people. Residual chemicals left on the carpet can exacerbate allergies, not only of people but pets as well. If cleaning efforts are not successful, calling a professional carpet cleaner will be necessary. To safeguard the natural qualities of sisal carpeting, cleaning agents should carry green certifications that are specifically meant for sisal fibres.


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