Properties of Rug Materials:

November 17, 2020 4 min read

One of the main tellers of a rug's quality and performance is the material the rug is made from. Yet, what does the buyer actually know about the rug material's performance? 

In this article, we go through what the most popular materials used in rug manufacturing, such as wool, cotton, silk, jute, sisal, seagrass, polyester, viscose, nylon, and polypropylene. 

Then, we explain what the use of that material in your rug means to you in terms of cost, durability, cleanliness, texture and best uses.  

 

WOOL 

Wool can be described as soft and durable. It has a soft pile that springs back when compressed, making the piles extra durable and soft. Moreover, the natural properties of wool repel water, dust and dirt making them one of the longest lasting materials in rug manufacturing.

However, wool rugs are not perfect and have their drawbacks: 1) they don't do well in humid areas, & 2) they can be a high ticket item. 

  • Cost: High
  • Durability: High
  • Cleaning: Spot Only 
  • Texture: Soft 
  • Best for: High traffic Areas - living rooms, dining rooms 

COTTON

Cotton is easily classified as one of the most comfortable and durable materials, and as such, is also a great alternative for a wool rugs. The benefits of cotton made rugs include their “breathability”, light and durable nature, ability to withstand heat, and cleanliness-- & by that, we mean they are super easy to clean, even in the washer! 

It is not all sunshine, however. For instance, cotton doesn't always wear well under a long period of time, and has an ability to shrink if not treated after being stained. 

Overall, if you are looking for comfortable, easy to clean, affordable rug, and do not mind having to replace it in a couple of years, then a cotton rug is the one for you! 

  • Cost: Low
  • Durability: Medium
  • Cleaning: Washable
  • Texture: Soft
  • Best for: Kitchen, Children's room, casual places 



SILK 


Silk is its own class due to its "luxurious material" status due to its shiny look, and smooth, soft texture. Because of its soft and silky texture, silk does not attract a lot of dirt, although it is recommended to have it cleaned by a professional.

To elongate the life of silk rug, protect it from high heat and too much exposure to sunlight. 

  • Cost: High
  • Durability: Low
  • Cleaning: Pro Clean Only
  • Texture: Soft 
  • Best for: Bedrooms, low traffic areas 

JUTE

Because Jute comes from the stem of the plant, it has both the quality of firmness, and the softness known in wool rugs. The chemical free process gives an authentic, natural feel to the home.

Jute rugs are as durable as cotton made rugs,  and can absorb moisture well, which would mean a higher level of maintenance is needed.

  • Cost: Low
  • Durability: Medium
  • Cleaning: Pro Clean Only  
  • Texture: Firm; soft
  • Best for: Living Room, low to medium traffic areas 

 

SISAL 

Sisal has a higher durability than jute and does not require the same level of professional cleaning since the material comes from the tough fibers of the plant. Sisal fibers can be coarse, which makes them less comfortable for the feet. Moreover, they also absorb water, however they are easier to clean than jute rugs, making them ideal for high traffic areas. 

  • Cost: Low
  • Durability: High
  • Cleaning: Washable 
  • Texture: Firm
  • Best for: Kitchen, Dining room, high traffic areas 

SEAGRASS

An all-natural and eco-friendly, seagrass rugs are highly durable. Because seagrass is a plant found underwater, it is highly water resistant making it easier to clean.

Fresh seagrass appears to have a light sage green and eventually  become tan as time goes by. Seagrass does not dye well so the color options are limited. 

  • Cost: High
  • Durability: High
  • Cleaning: Washable 
  • Texture: Soft
  • Best for: Living rooms, dining rooms, hallways, high traffic areas 


POLYESTER 

Polyester fiber rugs are extremely storm and durable, resistant to most chemicals, mildew and shrinking. Polyester rugs require little maintenance as they are easy to clean and quick to dry. Because polyester is a man made material, it can be highly flammable so avoid placing it too close to a fireplace. 

  • Cost: Medium
  • Durability: High
  • Cleaning: Washable 
  • Texture: Soft
  • Best for: Living rooms, dining rooms, hallways, high traffic areas 

VISCOSE 

This soft and glossy material is the man made version of silk. Its smooth and silky texture makes it one of the softer materials that can be easily placed in a highly valued area. Viscos are extremely fragile and prone to shedding and shrinkage, especially around water making it even more of a reason to keep it in intimate spaces. 


  • Cost: Medium
  • Durability: Medium
  • Cleaning: Prop Clean Only 
  • Texture: Soft
  • Best for: Bedrooms, Guest Rooms, Low traffic areas 

 





NYLON

Nylon fibers are strong, elastic and resistant to dirt making them easy to clean. Nylon rugs are firm and flat that won't attract dirt making them durable to handle damage from kids and pets. Not only are nylon rugs firm, but they also provide a smooth, soft touch that can boost the appearance of any space so you don't have to sacrifice appearance for strength. One of the drawbacks with nylon rugs include fade in color and flammable. 


  • Cost: High
  • Durability: High
  • Cleaning: Washable
  • Texture: Firm
  • Best for: Living rooms, dining rooms, hallways, high traffic areas 

POLYPROPYLENE 

An alternative choice for wool is polypropylene. These rugs are extremely durable, water - resistant, easy to clean, and soft all like a wool rug, just without the price. They tend to have  a lower pile height than wool and tend to have bold colors and patterns to fit any home decor trend. A unique feature of this material is its ability to be placed both indoors  and outdoors with high-moisture and frequent spills occur. .  



  • Cost: Low
  • Durability: High
  • Cleaning: Washable
  • Texture: Soft
  • Best for: kids bedrooms, patio, basement, living rooms, high traffic areas 





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