The word sisool might look a little odd until you discover that it refers to a carpet made from sisal mixed with wool, combining the best of both of these natural, sustainable fibres.
Blended Wool Carpet
In our article on wool flooring we touched on the blending of wool in carpet making and sisool is one of the more recent fibres that’s been tried as the second partner in that blend. Wool is well known for its softness underfoot and resistance to staining but it is often blended with 20% plastic to make it more durable. The search is on for natural alternatives to that plastic.
Sisal is a natural yarn woven from a plant that originated in the Americas but is now farmed around the world. It is very strong and hard wearing and as an added bonus is naturally anti-static. As sisal is farmed with very low levels of pesticides it also makes it an excellent fibre to use in situations where you are trying to reduce the toxins being released into the home. The downside of sisal as a carpet material is that it is quite rough to the touch.
Strength Of Two Sustainable Fibres
It wasn’t long before the idea came up of blending sisal with wool to produce a carpet with the strength of sisal and the softness of wool, and sisool is the result.
The blends vary depending on the weave and the use that the carpet is to be put to, with 50/50 being common for the larger weaves and 62% wool, 38% sisal begin used for denser more hard-wearing weaves. Sometimes jute, another hard-wearing natural fibre, also known as hessian, is also introduced into the mix.
Although both wool and sisal can be dyed successfully the sisool carpets on the market are mainly naturally coloured and weave the sisal into the wool so that the contrasts between the two fibres are apparent. This is as opposed to blending the two fibres at the spinning stage and then weaving carpets with the resultant yarn.
Weaves And Textures
Using different grades of weaving can produce different textures. Coarser weaves result in a fluffier carpet that’s softer to the touch and at home in bedrooms and lounges. A finer weaves produce a flatter, more even texture that’s more suitable to utilitarian areas, and there about three additional grades of weave in between those two extremes.
This makes sisool carpet a more flexible natural alternative than some of the other natural materials on the market. The strength of the blend means that it is rated for use in both light and heavy domestic use. Sisool can also be used on stairs and is resistant to the damage of that modern home carpet curse, the computer chair castor.
Watch Out For Moisture
One warning if you are considering sisal as a carpet material, and that is to avoid moisture. Sisal is very absorbent so the sisal content of a sisool carpet will make it swell, then rot if it isn’t fully dried out. So avoid its use in damp rooms like bathrooms, and tackle large spills quickly, mopping up with absorbent towels or paper and then drying out with a hair dryer.
But this is only a worry with extreme spills or soaking, don’t let it put you off sisool as a hardwearing and sustainable flooring material.