Like hemp or flax linen, jute comes from plant stalks. It offers considerable strength and durability when made into a rug. When woven together, jute fibers have an elegant appearance, and the matted texture serves as a foil to man-made or smooth surfaces in the room.

Jute rugs
credit: Mrs.KLF
Jute rugs add a natural depth and texture to home decor.

The Pros

As an organic material, jute lends any room a natural vibe. Jute offers twice the resilience of cotton, and the fibers feel softer underfoot than those of other plant-based rugs. The jute plant grows rapidly, so jute material qualifies as an eco-friendly, renewable resource. The non-flammable surface does not produce static and works well in medium-traffic spaces such as home offices, bedrooms, and living and dining rooms. Manufacturers can dye the biodegradable fibers a variety of colors, but most jute rugs come in their natural beige hue. Dirt passes through the surface, and most stains blend with the material over time. As an abundant resource, jute rugs carry a lower price tag than most other floor coverings.

The Cons

Jute does have a few drawbacks. With heavy use, jute can break down, so manufacturers do not recommend using the material in high-traffic areas. Although most stains blend with the rug, some discolorations require special treatment. Like other plant-based materials, jute is absorbent and doesn't react well to water. If you get it wet, it may shrink or degrade, so dry cleaning is best. Because water damages the surface and creates mildew, do not use jute rugs outside or in humid areas.

How to Care for Jute

To prevent dirt from accumulating, thoroughly vacuum your rug on a weekly basis with your vacuum's beater bar turned off. Do not use a steam cleaner. Blot liquid spills with a clean white rag and dampen a cloth with club soda to clean wine and tomato-based stains. Dry damp spots with a hairdryer. Retailers offer protective sprays that can help reduce the porosity of jute rugs and repel liquid spills.

Tips for Long Wear

Because jute has natural color variations, dirt and pet fur seem less obvious. When wear and tear becomes evident, turn the rug over ‒ most manufacturers design jute rugs to be reversible. Sunlight can fade the material, so angle your window blinds up to direct light away from the rug. To ensure an even wear pattern, rotate the rug annually. When your jute rug finally wears out, simply compost the material.