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The fiber used in a carpet will determine its wear ability. The more you know about fiber the easier it will be to choose the right carpet for you. A quality carpet is marked by firm, dense pile. To check a carpet's density bend a corner of the carpet and see how much backing shows. The more that shows the less dense the carpet. Now let's look at the different types of fiber:

  1. Nylon
  2. Polyester
  3. Polypropylene
  4. Wool
  1. Acrylic
  2. Cotton
  3. Rayon
  4. Blends





Nylon is the strongest, most durable and widely used fiber. The soft texture holds its color and resists most stains. Nylon is easy to clean, durable, and resilient. Nylon is easy to die making it available in many brilliant colors.


Polyester is less expensive than nylon. It offers exceptional softness and color clarity, and is naturally stain and fade resistant.

Olefin (Polypropylene)

This strong fiber is most commonly used for indoor/outdoor carpet because of its resistance to moisture and mildew. It is a colorfast fiber, resistant to fading. Olefin is used to create a durable carpet that is easily cleaned and available at a lower price than other fibers. Olefin is naturally fade, stain, and moisture resistant. It will not fade in color because the pigment is actually "built in" to the olefin fiber, not dyed.


Wool is a luxurious natural fiber. This is the fiber originally used in carpet manufacture. Wool carpets do not offer the same durability and resilience as nylon, however they age gracefully. Wool is not easily dyed, nor is it exceptionally stain resistant. Wool is also the most expensive carpet fiber and represents less than 1% of all carpet sales.


This fiber is usually used in scatter rugs. It is a synthetic fiber that feels like wool but is available at a lower cost. Acrylic is resistant to moisture and mildew, and is easily cleaned. This fiber is available in many Berber-textured styles


This fiber is used only in area rugs. It absorbs moisture making it difficult to clean. Cotton carpets are suitable only for low traffic areas because the fibers flatten easily.


Rayon is rarely used in carpets except for inexpensive scatter rugs


Blends are available through certain combinations of the fiber types described above. These blends make carpets such as Wear-Dated Traffic Control Fiber System. These blended carpets are known for durability and excellent stain resistance.


Carpet - Fiber Know How  -  Style & Texture - Color - Getting to the Bottom (Padding) - Care and Maintenance - Carpet Companies - Home


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Last modified: 07/02/01.