Natural vs. Synthetic: Different Types of Carpet Fibers Explained

Carpet is an extremely popular kind of flooring, but not all carpets are created equal. There are many different materials out there, all of which have different advantages and price tags.

This article will discuss the different types of carpet fibers you can choose from and will introduce the pros and cons of each material.

Natural vs Synthetic carpets


What Are Synthetic Carpets Made Out Of?

Synthetic carpet makes up 97% of the carpet market. It is hugely popular and this is because synthetic carpet fibers are generally stronger, more resistant to stains, and last longer than natural fiber.

Synthetic carpets are machine-made from a variety of chemical compounds, including polyester, nylon, and polypropylene.

What Kinds Of Synthetic Carpet Are There?

There is a wide variety of synthetic carpet fibers available, but the four most popular kinds are nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and triexta. Let’s look at each of these in more detail:


Nylon is a high-performance carpet that is durable, doesn’t stain, and is resistant to crushing and mildew. Carpet made of nylon can be recycled.


Polyester carpet is more affordable than nylon, which means it sacrifices some durability for price. That said, polyester is still a robust carpet that is naturally stain-resistant.


Polypropylene carpet is a popular choice for low-traffic, indoor areas because it is naturally mildew and moisture resistant. Because polypropylene is susceptible to crushing, you should purchase it in a Berber carpet style, and only use it in low-traffic areas.


Triexta is a newer, hybrid carpet that is made by combining sustainable materials, like corn sugars, with polyester. In terms of durability, it rests between nylon and polyester.


Pros and Cons of Synthetic Carpet

Synthetic carpet has a number of powerful advantages:

  • Easy to clean. Unlike natural fibers, synthetic carpet fibers can stand up to rigorous spot scrubbing and steam cleaning, and most stains can be removed with off-the-shelf cleaning products.
  • Stain resistance. It takes a lot of punishment to make a permanent stain on synthetic carpet.
  • Budget friendly. Generally, synthetic carpet costs less than natural carpet.

Synthetic carpet also has its share of disadvantages:

  • Synthetic carpet isn’t environmentally friendly, as the manufacturing process produces a lot of toxins and the materials aren’t biodegradable.
  • Polyester is prone to shedding, piling, and matting in high-traffic areas.
  • Polypropylene is not very durable, which can result in it getting crushed over time. It is also susceptible to abrasion.

As for durability, it all depends on which kind of synthetic carpet you use. For example, nylon is a very strong carpet that will last for years under heavy use, while olefin should only be used in low-traffic rooms.


What Are Natural Carpets Made Out Of?

Natural carpet fibers are curated from materials that grow naturally in the world. The most popular natural fiber is wool and the majority of other natural fibers come from plant sources. For example: seagrass, coconut husks, and other resilient plants.

Natural Carpet vs Synthetic Carpet

While natural carpets only occupy a small percentage of the carpet market, they can still make an excellent addition to your home — especially if you are looking for environmentally friendly flooring.


What Kinds Of Natural Carpets Are Available?

If you want a natural wall-to-wall carpet, then your main option will be wool. Wool dominates the natural carpet market and is the main option when looking for broadloom carpet.

Most other natural carpet fibers are used in smaller rugs or area rugs because they aren’t durable enough to be processed into broadloom.

These other natural fibers include:

  • Cotton
  • Sisal
  • Seagrass
  • Coir
  • Silk
  • Jute


Pros and Cons of Natural Carpet

Natural carpet has some powerful advantages:

  • Eco-friendliness. Natural carpet is more environmentally friendly than synthetic options. This is because natural fibers are usually made from sustainable resources which are biodegradable, and don’t produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — VOCs can pose a health risk to some people.
  • Wool-specific advantages. Wool is heat resistant and doesn’t melt. It is resistant to compacting and crushing, naturally repels dirt and mold, and is incredibly comfortable to walk on.

Of course, natural carpet also has its share of disadvantages:

  • Prone to staining. Natural fibers are more difficult to clean than synthetics and have a greater chance of becoming permanently stained if don’t immediately clean up a spill.
  • Difficult to clean. Natural carpet needs special cleaning products and semi-regular cleaning by professional carpet cleaners who are experts in your specific kind of natural carpet.
  • Costs more. Because natural carpet is more labor intensive to produce, it generally costs more than synthetic carpet.

When it comes to durability, it all depends on which kind of natural carpet you choose. For example, wool is wonderfully durable and can hold up against years of foot traffic, but cotton breaks down under heavy use.


Which Kind Of Carpet Is Best For Your Home?

If you need to carpet an area with heavy foot traffic, then it would probably be good to go with a robust synthetic or natural wool carpet. But, if there are children present, then synthetic would be better, as it is stain resistant and generally stronger than natural fibers.

If you need an area rug, then you may want to consider some of the natural carpet options, as these add a lot of character to a space and are also environmentally friendly.
As you can see, it all depends on the purpose of the room and what your budget is.


What Other Flooring Options Are There?

If you’re still not sure if carpet is the best choice for your home, then you may want to consider wood, tile, or laminate flooring.

Here at Remnant King, we offer many different flooring options. If you have any questions contact us today!

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