What is Sisal?

Agave sisalana, better know as sisal, is a green plant with long, sword-shaped leaves. Sisal is indigenous to Mexico, but today it grows in parts of the world as diverse as Morocco, Hawaii, Thailand and Nepal. Sisal’s fibers are used to make dozens of products including cloth, carpet, rope, twine, paper and dartboards. The word “sisal” can refer to either the plant or its fibers.

The Sisal Plant

The leaves of a sisal plant can grow to over 6.5 feet tall. During the course of a 10 year lifespan, a single plant can produce up to 250 commercially viable leaves, each of which contains about 1,000 fibers. Fibers are extracted from sisal through the process of decortication, which involves beating the leaves against a spinning wheel. The fibers must then be thoroughly dried before being sorted.

Sisal Rugs and Carpet

One of the most popular commercial uses for sisal is the production of rugs and carpet.
Sisal doesn’t attract static electricity nor dust; therefore, sisal carpets require very little maintenance. Unless properly treated with a fiber sealer, sisal fiber expands when exposed to water, so sisal rugs and carpet are not ideal in high-spill areas or near doors where they might be exposed to rain and snow. Dry cleaning powder should always be used for spot removal.

Other Sisal Products

Commercial use of sisal dates back thousands of years ago to ancient Aztec and Mayan societies, which made primitive papers and fabrics from the plant. By the 1800s, sisal was being cultivated in the Caribbean and Florida as well as several African counties like Tanzania and Kenya. Presently, Brazil is the world’s top sisal producer.

A number of qualities make sisal a versatile fiber: It is strong, durable and stretchy. Sisal fiber also easily absorbs dyestuff and is resistance to saltwater deterioration. Unsurprisingly, sisal has long been the fiber of choice for making ropes and other general cordage. Sisal can be found in spa products, slippers, geotextiles, cat scratching posts, mattresses and disc buffers. Aside from its many practical uses, the sisal plant can also be distilled into a liquor that resembles tequila.

What is Seagrass?

You may have seen seagrass rugs in stores or in the homes of friends who enjoy the look of natural decor. These rugs are made from the fibers of a group of marine plants known as seagrasses that possess desirable qualities for flooring, furniture and other decorative items.

An Introduction to Seagrass

Seagrass” is a general term used to describe a family of plants known as angiosperms that thrive in shallow coastal waters. In addition to grass-like stems, seagrass also has roots and produces flowers as part of its reproductive cycle. These characteristics make it more similar to land grass than seaweed. Continue reading

What is Jute?

Jute is a natural plant fiber produced mainly in India. It is most often used to make twine or rope, which is then woven or blended into different products, such as floor coverings, fabrics and clothing. Jute is extremely durable, affordable and eco-friendly, making it an ideal material for a variety of products.

Jute Production

The plant from which jute is made grows well in extremely rainy conditions. It is inexpensive to grow because it flourishes in wet weather and is resistant to pests and disease. The production of jute is second only to that of cotton, and jute is much easier and cheaper to grow because it does not necessitate excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Continue reading

What is a Sisal rug?

Although popular in today’s environmentally sensitive environment, sisal rugs have been around for centuries. Sisal rugs are created to provide the utmost durability and an attractive appearance to your home décor. Sisal rugs are neutral enough to complement any design scheme, whether your home is modern chic or traditionally classic.

What is Sisal?

A member of the agave family, sisal is thought to be native to Mexico but is now grown in many other areas. The ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations used sisal to create paper and rudimentary fabrics. The plant is now farmed in many countries specifically for the production of sisal fiber, with Brazil being the prime producer. Continue reading

What is a Seagrass rug?

Not to be confused with seaweed, seagrass grows in shallow marine environments. Seagrass often develops in large patches and resembles underwater fields. Seagrasses help make up highly complex ecosystems but can be harvested for use making furniture and rugs. After being harvested, the reeds grow back rapidly, making seagrass an environmentally conscious option for your home décor.

Uses for Seagrass

China’s paddy fields, which are regularly flooded, provide an ideal environment for growing seagrass. This region of Asia is renowned for its production of high-quality seagrass fiber. Continue reading