Carpet Buyers Fiber Guide – Which Fiber is Right for Your Home

When you’re beginning to look at carpet, there is no best choice. It’s all about finding the right carpet for you. A big factor is going to be the type of fiber. So what are the different fiber types? I will include a simple breakdown of the most common fibers used in carpet, and how they each effects a carpets performance. When choosing a carpet it is important to take into considerations the area it will be installed, and what kinds of wear it is the most likely to see.

There are three main fiber types seen in carpet. The highest end is generally considered to be wool, though there are some drawbacks to wool carpet, its look and feel can’t be duplicated. Wool is eco-friendly, warm, resilient, and stain resistant. Nylon is a great fiber for many of the same reasons, and its resilience and durability can’t be beat. Nylon carpet will hold up well in high traffic areas, and look great for a long time. Polyester can be separated into a couple categories, there is the polyester carpet from the days of yore, which is known for its short life, but the polyester seen in carpets today is a much better quality. Today’s polyester’s soft hand is a wonderful quality sought after by many carpet buyers. Also in the polyester category, but not quite a polyester, is the Mohawk patented fiber Sonora, which claims many of the benefits of nylon, but with the hand and stain resistance of polyester.


Wool carpets, aren’t seen nearly as often as polyester or nylon. One of the biggest reasons for this is the price. Wool is expensive. There are benefits that may offset the expense though for anyone looking into wool though, wool helps air quality, is non-allergenic, and is all natural. It ages well and can even develop a beautiful patina as time passes, adding character that is unseen in other carpets. Wool is flame resistant without additional treatment, reducing the chemicals one is exposed to in the home. It can help regulate humidity, as well as act as additional insulation for your home reducing the need to heat and cool a home.

There are some downsides to wool of course. The price is certainly a major one. Another is that as an all-natural staple fiber, wool is more susceptible to fading in direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided. On wool carpets without a moth-proofing treatment, regular vacuuming, and use of cedar to repel moths is a good idea as well. Stain removal is not difficult, but wool carpet manufacturers will usually provide a list of how to clean particular spills, as wool is sensitive to some chemical treatments that nylon and polyester are not. Overall wool is a beautiful, smart, yet pricey option. The downsides are few, but it’s probably not the best option for a budget conscious family, or for rooms with constant sunlight exposure.


Generally Nylon is considered the best choice for durability, and appearance retention. It is the most commonly used fiber for carpet, and because of that has a wide variety of style availability. Nylon is not as soft as polyester in general, but depending on the how it is manufactured, it can be very soft.   Nylon has a wide price range as well, making it an option for most budgets. The colorfastness and stain resistance varies slightly but is overall very good. Nylon is the most durable carpet one can put in their home. Lifetime warranties are common for Nylon carpet, as well as 15 to 20-year soil, stain, and texture retention warranties. Nylon yarn retains its shape extremely well and is not known to mat and crush over time, like a polyester is likely to do.

Though nylon is not as stain resistant or soft as a polyester, with different treatments such as Stainmaster, it can perform just as well in those areas. The fiber naturally holds up against matting and crushing extremely well. It is however more expensive than polyester. Nylon is perfect just about anywhere in a home, but the budget-conscious may want to steer toward polyester in low traffic areas of the home that may not need as much resistance to matting and crushing.


Soft, colorful, stain resistant, fade resistant, and at a fantastic price point. Families, and people looking at stain resistance, and price above durability, should look at polyester. Polyester can also be made of post-consumer goods, which makes it a good eco-conscious decision.  Polyester may be the best choice for a customer who likes to change around styles more frequently, polyester is available at prices that would not be nearly so big of a deal to replace after seven to ten years. It is also a great option for customers with pets, as polyester is naturally stain resistant, which makes pet messes much easier to clean.

Polyester is not known for its durability but is much better with new technology. Factors such as higher density and yarn twist per inch can help to prevent matting and crushing, and may increase the life of the carpet. Soiling is another factor that is better than polyester was in the past. However, oil stains or soiling is still worse for polyester, because it is a petroleum (oil) based polymer it attracts like substances such as oil. So grease and polyester carpet together should be avoided. Regular cleaning and vacuuming will help maintain the appearance of a polyester carpet over time.

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