From size and placement to style, there is an endless array of things to think about. But one of the first choices you’ll need to make is the type of rug you need. Most homeowners arrive at the same crossroads, having to choose either a natural fibre or synthetic fibre rug. Natural materials are fundamentally different from synthetic materials — the first is sourced from nature, while the latter is from a scientific laboratory. With more and more research outlining the destructive nature of synthetic materials, there is a trend towards greater awareness of what goes into the various items we have in our homes. To help you decide between the two, we are going to go into detail about the pros and cons of each fibre.
Natural fabrics are generally very sustainable and do not impact the environment significantly. They are also static-free as they are very absorbent. Their ability to hold moisture means your hair won’t stand on end and will lessen your chances of getting a nasty shock.
- Cotton – Cotton is one of the cheapest natural fibres to use and is significantly resistant to fading. It is very comfortable at the same time, providing a soft feeling to your furniture. However, cotton is susceptible to stains and easily traps dust and dirt, requiring frequent cleaning.
- Silk – Coming from the silkworm, this is one of the most luxurious and soft fibres available albeit at a very high price. Silk is considered to be one of the most durable fibres available when it comes to rug creation. Most notable of all with regard to silk is that rugs made from this material are highly reflective and exhibit a sheen and lustre that is incomparable. However, silk rugs once stained, will require professional cleaning to ensure the stain is taken out without damaging the rug.
- Wool – Wool is extremely durable and sturdy; a single wool fibre can be bent up to 20,000 times before it breaks. When woven into a rug, this makes it incredibly long-lasting and hard-wearing. Wool is renowned for its outstanding flame resistance due to high moisture and protein content, difficulty to ignite, with low flame spread and heat release properties. However, wool is very hydrophilic, meaning they readily absorb liquids and stain. These stains can then cause odours to be emitted from the rug when wet, requiring professional cleaning.
- Sisal – Sisal rugs are very decorative but not ideal for standing over long periods of time. The most practical uses are in dining rooms and living rooms where you typically aren’t barefoot or laying on it, or in entryways and stairs where there is a lot of foot traffic. It is extremely durable, holds up well over time, and cleans up rather nicely. However, they will need frequent cleaning to keep them looking clean, this can be done with a powerful vacuum.
Right off the bat, the term “synthetic” may be an immediate turn-off to you as a homeowner as it implies that they are “fake.” However, synthetic rugs have their place in homes as they have been specially manufactured to be incredibly durable and easy to clean, making them a cinch to maintain all year long. They are generally much cheaper than natural rugs and can withstand harsher conditions.
- Polyester – Polyester is a great blending fibre that is added to other fibres to confer additional properties such as stain and water resistance. Polyester has the ability to dye well which is why it can have a wide variety of vibrant colour tones and many shade selections to choose from. However, polyester in high traffic areas can begin to wear and matt rather quickly. Once polyester is matted like under the furniture, its fibres stay pressed and do not spring back.
- Olefin or Polypropylene – Olefin is a very versatile carpet fibre. Olefin is very moisture resistant. It will absorb only one-tenth of 1% of its weight in water making it very hard to stain. It has good cleanability and stain release from aqueous stains however, oil stains cannot be removed without professional cleaning. Furthermore, it is a very heat sensitive fibre, dragging a heavy piece of furniture across an olefin carpet can cause permanent marks from the heat generated by friction.
- Nylon – Nylon will stretch up to 33% of its length and still regain its original shape. This is very important in heavy traffic areas where furniture may be dragged across the carpet. It is also very abrasion resistant, even more so than wool. Nylon responds very well to most professional cleaning methods and treatments making it easy to keep for extended periods of time. However, nylon is susceptible to UV damage if kept in areas with high sunlight exposure and due to the dyeing process, it is possible that nylon can have problems with bleaching, fading and urine reactions. Thus, the placement of the rug is very important.
Synthetic and natural fibre rugs both have different looks and designs. Synthetic rugs often use bright colours, abstract designs, and keep a modern feel. Natural fibre rugs are more likely to have a rustic design with deep colours. Wool, cotton, and silk require more work and money. These materials are often hand-woven as well which takes considerably more time than other techniques. It is best to choose a fibre that works best with your usage characteristics and lifestyle so that you can maximise its lifespan.
If you feel that your carpet at home looks worn out and are thinking of replacing it, consider contacting Big Red Carpet Cleaning to help you get your old carpet cleaned and looking much fresher, bringing new life into your old rug. We select the most appropriate method of rug cleaning best suited to your rug – using state-of-the-art technology, cleaning machines, processes, and solutions to restore them.