A Guide to Natural Fibers, Part 2: Seagrass and Coir

Seagrass Mat

Welcome to the second installment in our handy little guide to choosing an area rug made from natural fibers! In part one, we discussed the differences between sisal and jute. Today, we’ll be taking a look at two more fascinating fibers: seagrass and coir.

Seagrass

OK, everybody – you get three guesses. Where do you think seagrass comes from? (Cue the Jeopardy music…) Alright, time’s up! What’s your answer? Yes! That’s right. It’s grown in saltwater marshes.

Wait, what? Not the sea?

Well, yes, if you want to get all technical about it, the saltwater marshes are attached to the sea. They’re found in some of the coastal areas in countries like India and China.

And here’s the thing about using seagrass for an area rug: It embues the rug with magical powers. No, seriously!

The fact that seagrass is grown under water means that it’s practically impervious to stains or any kind of moisture. The entire reed is used, including the outer protective layer of the fiber, so seagrass can’t even be dyed – that’s how stain-resistant this fiber is, you guys! So seagrass rugs are perfect for use in areas where spills and wetness are likely to be issues, like kitchens and bathrooms.

The retention of that strong outer layer also means that seagrass rugs are some of the most durable natural fiber rugs available. They will hold up quite well in high-traffic areas of a house.

Seagrass actually changes color over time. When it’s fresh, it tends more towards a light shade of green, but as it ages, it gradually becomes more khaki in color. In either case, the color is not uniform, but variegated, which helps the seagrass rug appear cleaner longer – which is a pretty awesome bonus, as far as we’re concerned!

Seagrass

Since seagrass is such a friendly fiber, you can wipe up spills easily without worrying about stains or watermarks, and it can also be vacuumed just like any other rug.

Coir

If you thought we were going all tropical using seagrass to make rugs, then just wait till you hear what coir rugs are made of.

You know those brown fibers on a coconut shell? Yep, that’s coir.  But it actually comes in two varieties – brown and white.

Brown coir comes from mature coconut husks, while white coir – or silver, as it’s generally known – comes from immature, green coconuts.

Now, the amazing thing about coir is that it’s super tough, so in its brown form, it’s often used to make bristly doormats, like this one:

Doormat

In its softer silver form, it’s ideal for indoor coir rugs – like this one, which combines coir with jute for a stunning effect:

Coir Rug

Although coir is extremely tough and water resistant on its own, when in a rug with a combination of fibers, like the above, it should be cleaned by vacuuming alone.

So there you have it! Two more fabulous fibers demystified, courtesy of your handy-dandy Rugs USA guide to natural fibers. Don’t miss our next installment in the series, where we’ll be discussing bamboo and hemp.

  • Cassandra Nowell

    would a coir rug be good for the bathroom? wet feet and all?

    • tomrugsusa

      It shouldn’t be exposed to excessive moisture, so bathroom is not ideal.

  • dythinks

    I just bought a couple rugs from you and havent recd yet but want to thank you for t he newsletter. Very helpful. and great information for giving me an idea on other rooms that I have ceramic tile and need “comfy” accent rugs. Thanks again. dy