Soft floors are primarily carpet, rugs and mats made of either natural or synthetic fibers. Cotton and jute fibers are natural and have been in use for generations across many different societies. Today these two common products are considered more exotic than the mundane synthetic options available on the commercial market. Cotton and jute both have cellulose which the fibrous part that gives it body and strength. Both tend to shrink when wet so it is important that steps be taken to limit moisture and to control the drying process. 

 

Caution should be taken in cleaning “Haitian cotton” rugs and couches. This fabric can easily be damaged by a well-meaning worker trying to spot the fibers and ending up with browning and possible damage. Both can stain easily and the fibers can be damaged and colored by the misuse of cleaning products. 

 

Jute mats can be quite durable but moisture must be avoided since it can become a medium for mold and mildew growth. The “wood/fibrous” characteristics of jute make it attractive for not only matting but carpet backing as well. The original process of curing of jute (soaking in brine waste from chamber pots) means that although it may seem clean when dry, it can activate a host of contaminants when exposed to moisture. Many manufacturers are replacing jute with synthetics that are resistant to moisture and resist mold and mildew growth. 

 

Workers should be trained in how to deal with natural fibers since they are easily damaged when following best practices for most synthetic products. Both cotton and jute are viewed in a different light today due to trends towards sustainability and natural fibers. 

 

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…

 

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.