Sisal vs. Jute

NF185A from Natural Fiber Sisal .25 by Safavieh

Natural fiber rugs make for a stylish and environmentally-friendly addition to any home. The green style offers a host of advantages including price. Natural fiber rugs won’t break the budget and are available in neutral, earthy tones that complement the color scheme of any room.

Their addition also injects both warmth and texture into a living space. Sisal and jute are two of the most popular natural rug fibers on the market, but which is better? Is sisal the best choice or is it jute? Let’s find out.


Natural Karina Rug from Kona Sisal by NuLoom

Sisal comes from the plant Agave sisalana. It’s native to southern Mexico but is grown in many countries. Today, Tanzania is one of the globe’s top producers of this plant that’s used to make twine, rope, macramé, dart boards and more. Of course, sisal is also used to fashion rugs. Sisal rugs have quickly become a favorite, offering consumers a natural fiber rug that’s versatile and looks good.

Sisal began finding its way into homes in the 80s and took-off, making sisal rugs more than a design trend. Sisal can work in so many different ways from a casual dining room to a dressed up living room. Sisal is even used in conjunction with other natural rug materials like wool to craft a softer rug that boasts the appeal of both wool and sisal.


NF876B from Natural Fiber by Safavieh

Jute is a vegetable fiber that’s traditionally used to make burlap in the United States. Today, jute is utilized to make furniture coverings, curtains, bags and area rugs. The material is often used for making packaging for agricultural goods as well.

Rugs are a popular use for jute. Like sisal, jute entered the interior design world back in the day as a trend along with other natural rug fibers and found a permanent home. India is the largest jute producer in the world while Bangladesh is second. Jute rugs offer consumers a budget-friendly price tag and multipurpose style while being completely biodegradable.


NF185A from Natural Fiber Sisal .25 by Safavieh

As natural fiber rugs, sisal and jute boast a lot of positives. First and foremost is the price tag. Since sisal and jute are natural fibers, they’re non-toxic and are a great pick for people with allergies and asthma as well as pet-owners and parents. As a green material, sisal and jute are both biodegradable and will not end up taking up space in a landfill for eternity.

Sisal and jute are relatively low maintenance. Weekly vacuuming is recommended to help prevent the buildup of dirt as with any other area rug. While sisal and jute are durable and work in high traffic areas, sisal is the sturdier of the pair. Sisal and jute are natural de-humidifiers for the home as well since the fibers are naturally absorbent. This characteristic can help to keep the home cool during the heat of the summer.


Hand Woven Hailey Jute from Natura Jute by NuLoom

Sisal and jute have a lot of pros, but the often-used natural fibers do have a couple of disadvantages. Since sisal and jute are absorbent fibers, neither is a good pick for high moisture areas like the bathroom or laundry room. Sisal and jute rugs should not be washed or steam cleaned because the fiber absorbs moisture and is prone to mold and mildew.

While sisal and jute rugs can be used indoors or outdoors, the fiber should only be used outside in covered areas like an enclosed or covered porch. Otherwise when the forecast is for rain, sisal and jute rugs should be pulled inside. The other main drawback to choosing a sisal or jute rug is the softness. Neither fiber is well known for its warm, fuzzy feel though sisal/wool combos and jute/chenille blends are often used to counteract the fiber’s rough touch.

Since sisal and jute rugs have many similarities, choosing one over the other will likely come down to style and durability. Sisal is definitely the more durable of the pair. So if you want a natural fiber rug that will hold up well under tough traffic, go with sisal.

While sisal and jute come in an array of neutral, earthy tones, sisal holds dye well and is often available in a wider variety of colors and patterns. Sisal and jute are also used in conjunction with other natural fibers like cotton and wool to balance the roughness, giving more design choices. With so many stylish options on the market for both sisal and jute, it is relatively easy to find the ideal one for your space.

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