Take a stroll through your favorite home decor store and you’re bound to come across a selection of jute rugs. Some of the earliest forms of these rugs date back to the third millennium BC! Needless to say, there are several reasons why jute rugs have prevailed throughout history.
While the design and manufacturing process of jute rugs has changed quite a bit, the benefits they have to offer remain. But, exactly what is jute rug?
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Jute Rugs Explained
As the name would suggest, jute rugs contain jute. This unique plant fiber grows throughout Southeast Asian countries. The fibers inside the stem are used to make textiles.
However, jute fibers are quite versatile. While most people aren’t aware of jute’s benefits, many use it. Besides rugs, manufacturers use jute for ropes, twine, burlap, and more.
In fact, jute is the second most important vegetable fiber in the world. It only comes second to cotton. Though, it does have some notable advantages over cotton.
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The biggest is its growth cycle. Jute is easy to grow and has a high yield per acre of crop. Unlike cotton, it doesn’t need a ton of pesticides either.
How the Jute Plant Becomes a Rug
As we mentioned earlier, the fibers within the stem are the important parts of the jute plant. To get those fibers, the plant has to go through some unique processing. It all starts after harvesting.
Before anything is made, the plants are submerged in water for up to 30 days. This process, called retting, causes the outer layer to dissolve away. Then, workers scrape and beat the remaining bits and pieces of the plant away.
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Eventually, only the strong fibers remain. To prepare them for manufacturing, workers will wash and dry the fibers.
The cleaned jute fibers arrive at the next manufacturing facility in their raw state. Jute is often referred to as the “gold fiber.” It’s not hard to see why.
Despite the bright green color of the plant, jute fibers have a yellow tint that shines in the sun. Works will use several techniques to create jute yarn and rope. Most often, the fibers are spun like normal yarn.
However, the fibers may go through and extra process. It may be softened, dyed, or blended with other materials to achieve a specific look.
At this point, the jute yarn can be woven into rugs, baskets, and a slew of other textiles. This process can be done by hand or by machinery. Either way, the finished product looks great and is a welcome addition to any home.
The Benefits of Jute Rugs
Jute rugs have been around for a long time. But, they’re experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Not only do they look great, but they offer several benefits.
If you’re on the hunt for sustainable materials, jute is one of the best on the market. Jute is a natural material that’s easy to grow. Plus, it benefits the planet.
The plant absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen at a higher rate than trees. Also, the root system improves soil quality. This can benefit future crops in the area.
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In terms of sustainability, jute rugs are top-notch. The plant reaches maturity in only 4 to 6 months. In most cases, there’s no need to use chemical fertilizers or pesticides either.
As a result, the finished rug is much safer. There’s no need to worry about the slow release of VOCs.
Finally, the material is biodegradable. Synthetic rugs can take hundreds of years to degrade in a landfill. Jute rugs don’t take as long and can benefit the earth as they degrade.
Just because jute rugs have natural materials doesn’t mean that they don’t look good. The natural jute fibers can take in dye like any other organic fiber. It does well with natural dyes, which make things safer in the long run.
Though, chemical dyes work, too. Some manufacturers will also weave rugs with other fibers to produce a unique look.
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Many people prefer raw jute that’s not dyed. The natural hue of the jute offers a neutral base. It works well in most spaces and can complement many different types of decor.
There are also a few different types of jute fibers available. White jute, Tossa jute, and Messa jute can be combined to create unique patterns and color blends.
The coolest thing about jute rugs is that they have many different types of weaves. The weave pattern creates a distinct texture. Instead of high piles, the tight braids provide a durable walking surface that feels great on the feet.
Jute rugs aren’t as plush as shag rugs. But, they’re comfortable nonetheless. Manufacturers use various weaves to produce specific results.
For example, standard flatw eaves are the most durable. They perform best in high-traffic areas of the home. Hand-knotted weaves are a bit softer and can be used in bedrooms or living rooms.
What is Jute Rug Maintenance
Cleaning a jute rug is not difficult. You don’t need to use any heavy-duty cleaners or equipment. All you need is a vacuum cleaner.
You can use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to pick up any dirt that’s hidden in the weaves. Make sure to avoid vacuuming over stitches, as this could affect longevity. If you vacuum regularly, your jute rug can last for several years.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Jute Rugs?
No material is perfect. Jute rugs are a versatile floor covering, but there are some disadvantages that you should be wary of.
Can Feel “Scratchy”
Natural fibers tend to feel stiffer than other options. Jute fibers are no different. While they can be softened, not every manufacturer does this.
100-percent jute fiber rugs can feel scratchy to the touch. They’re not something that you want your baby to be crawling around on. However, there are some rugs out there that have other fabrics to improve comfort.
Another issue that you’re sure to encounter is shedding. Shedding can occur with any natural fiber rug. The material can break apart, leaving tiny little pieces of fiber everywhere.
This usually happens on the underside of the rug. You can keep shedding to a minimum by vacuuming the rug regularly.
Jute rugs can be very durable. But, they’re not indestructible. The types of issues you’ll face will depend on where you place the rug.
They do fine in areas that receive regular traffic. These include living rooms and bedrooms. With that said, the rugs won’t hold up in very high traffic areas.
Placing them in a heavily used hallway or office corridor is not a good idea. The regular wear and tear can cause the material to separate and fall apart.
Susceptible to Mold
The biggest drawback of jute rugs is the effect that moisture has on it. Remember, jute is a natural fiber. So, it can absorb moisture and hold onto it.
Using the rug in a high-humidity area, such as the bathroom, is risky. The rug could develop mold and degrade in quality over time. Jute needs to be dry at all times to avoid damage.
Are Jute Rugs the Same as Sisal Rugs?
It’s easy to mistake jute and sisal. Both options are natural and used to make woven rugs. But, they’re two different materials.
Sisal comes from the agave plant. Like jute, the fibers are spun into yarn to make textiles. The biggest difference between sisal and jute is durability.
Jute rugs aren’t as tough as sisal rugs. Sisal is a tough material that can hold up well to a lot of wear and tear. As a result, it’s commonly used in high-traffic areas like hallways and foyers.
But, jute is more comfortable. So, it’s best suited for rooms that need softer textiles.
All in all, jute rugs are an excellent accessory for any home. They’re not as flashy as modern synthetic rugs. But, they offer an old-world charm that no modern rug can match.
Jute rugs have been around for nearly all of recorded history because of the comfort they offer. They can make your space look more welcoming and cozy. All while offering some protection to your floors underneath.