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  • Writer's picturecraig roderick

Know your types of carpet fibers!

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

The main appeal of carpet as a flooring material is its ability to provide a cushiony, warm surface underfoot. Two characteristics of carpet are primary considerations when choosing a carpet: the type of natural or synthetic fiber used in the construction, and the pile—how the loops of fiber are attached to the carpet backing. These characteristics determine the comfort of the carpet, how it feels underfoot, and its wear characteristics.

There are many types of fiber used in carpet, but the most common are nylon, polyester, polypropylene, acrylic, and wool. Carpets are made by looping the fiber yarns through the backing material in a manner similar to how a button is sewed onto a shirt. These loops of fiber can then be left either intact, or cut at various angles and lengths. How the fiber loops are treated is known as the carpet pile.

Here are the common carpet fibers and pile options to consider.

Nylon is very soft, durable, and resistant to stains and abrasion. It is the most popular of carpet fibers by a large measure—by some estimates, about two-thirds of all synthetic carpets are made of nylon.1 It has good resistance to wear, mold, mildew, and rot, and it is easy to dye and holds its color well. It is usually affordably priced—less expensive than wool but more expensive than other synthetics. These carpets, if cared for well, can last 12 to 15 years, making it the most durable of the synthetic fibers.

Polypropylene is another popular carpet fiber, used in commercial applications and in growing numbers of residential settings, and is almost as soft as nylon. Also known as olefin, polypropylene fibers are similar to natural wool and are often used as a synthetic wool substitute. This fiber is highly stain-resistant but is prone to soiling and holding onto oils which in turn, collect dirt. It is, however, relatively easy to clean—bleach can even be used in some cases. Polypropylene is not as resilient as nylon, so is therefore commonly used for loop-style carpets, such as Berbers. The cost of polypropylene is slightly less than most nylon carpets, but more than polyester and acrylic.

Berber is more difficult to clean once soiled. The loops are tight and under agitation do

not separate to release dirt.

Polyester is prized for its ability to hold vibrant, fade-resistant colors. Because it is man-made, the fiber is also more hypoallergenic than some others. One type of polyester carpet, known as polyester/PET, is made from recycled plastic bottles, making it eco-friendly. Its main drawback is that polyester is prone to flattening under weight, making it a bad choice for high-traffic areas. It can also be prone to oil stains, which are very hard to remove from polyester fiber.

Acrylic Sometimes marketed as "synthetic wool" because it offers the feel and appearance of wool at a fraction of the price, acrylic has good resistance to static electricity, moisture, mildew, fading, and staining. But it is not a very durable material, and it doesn't hold up well in high-traffic areas. It is sometimes blended with wool. Acrylics can sometimes turn brown if stained with certain alkaline chemicals, such as those found in cleaning products.

Wool, a natural, luxurious, long-lasting material, is the softest carpet fiber you can find. Unfortunately, low-grade wool is more susceptible to staining, while high-grade wool is extremely expensive. Some manufacturers combine wool with synthetic fibers to create a carpet with the benefits of both. Wool/acrylic blends are especially common.

Pure wool carpet is made with no chemicals or additives, which makes it an excellent choice for those with allergies or sensitivities to chemicals. But as a natural material, wool can be prone to damage from mold and mildew, which feed on organic substances. Wool is therefore not a good choice for areas where high humidity and moisture are an issue.

No matter the fiber that makes up your carpet, EcoZyme enzymes are the safest method to clean and restore your carpets. The only interaction is the enzymes with the soil properties.

The encapsulation properties of our products ensures that soil substrates do not recombine with your carpet fibers!

If you are in need of carpet cleaning services in Springboro, OH and the surrounding areas contact us!

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