How to Clean Sisal Carpets

Updated February 21, 2017

Sisal is a fibre that is made from the agave sisialana plant. This plant is grown primarily in Central America, where the leaves are stripped into their base fibres. This fibre is very durable and strong, and is ideal for making carpets, rugs and other materials. However, sisal is also sensitive to moisture, so cleaning can be tricky.

Blot any liquid spilt onto the sisal carpet immediately with a clean, dry cloth. Be careful not to rub the liquid into the fabric. Apply force straight down and hold until the cloth is saturated or the spill is cleaned. Use another dry cloth if the first becomes too wet.

Clean liquids that may potentially stain the carpet using a solution of half vinegar and half water. Soak a clean cloth in the solution and use it to blot the spill on the rug. Blot with a clean, dry cloth after to soak up any residual moisture.

Scrape away dried materials using a wooden knife. Because sisal is so sensitive to moisture, never apply water or any other liquid unless absolutely necessary. A wooden knife can be used to remove most superficial debris.

Use a carpet cleaning powder designed specifically for sisal. A variety of these powders are available at carpet supply stores and home improvement stores. Instructions and uses vary from manufacturer to manufacturer so always use the directions provided.

Vacuum the sisal carpet to remove deep dirt and debris. The dirt can damage the sisal fibres over time and eventually cause fraying and other damage. The sisal carpet should be vacuumed at least once a week to extend the life of the carpet and keep it as clean as possible.


Dishwashing detergent can be used in place of vinegar to create the cleaning solution.


Water and moisture causes sisal to shrink and become distorted. Avoid contacting the sisal carpet with any kind of moisture, except while cleaning a potentially worse spill.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth
  • Vinegar
  • Wooden knife
  • Sisal cleaning powder
  • Vacuum
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About the Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including