Rug Materials: Synthetic Fiber Vs. Natural Fiber

As mentioned in our previous blog, when selecting a rug, there are a wide variety of options when it comes to choosing a material. But how do you know which is one is right for you? While we gave a couple of guidelines to get you started in our last blog, today we will be going a bit more in-depth on the differences, both pros and cons, of synthetic fiber and natural fiber rugs to help you make the best decision for you and your home.


Synthetic Fibers Rugs

As the name suggests, synthetic fiber rugs are made from fibers that are synthetic. These fibers are created by machines. They are not fibers that exist in a natural environment, they have to be made. While that may make them seem unauthentic, that isn’t the case. There are plenty of great synthetic rugs out there, and one might just be the perfect addition to your home.

Modern multi color area rug in living room space.
The Harlow Collection is made of heatset polypropylene and shrink polyester.

Pros

One of the greatest things about synthetic fiber rugs are the fact that they are extremely low maintenance. They hold up better against mold and mildew in comparison to their natural fiber counterparts, and are in general, easier to clean. They need much less upkeep in comparison to natural fiber rugs. So if you are someone who lives in a house that might have a few more spills, or you just don’t think you’ll have the time to maintain a rug, a synthetic fiber rug will probably be the choice for you. Synthetic rugs also hold up much better outdoors, since they won’t fade from sunlight. So keep that in mind if you might need something for outside your home rather then in.


Cons

Of course, just like anything else in the world, synthetic fiber rugs come with a few cons to keep in mind before you purchase one. One of those being that they can be more susceptible to friction damage. If for example, you were to drag something heavy across the rug, it could cause the rug to wear in a way that cannot be fixed. Obviously, this can be avoided, but it something that needs to be kept in mind when owning a synthetic rug. Also, while they are usually much easier to clean than natural fiber rugs, if an oil-stain were to occur on a synthetic fiber rug, it needs to be tended to sooner rather than later. Oil-stains can be a problem to clean for synthetic rugs if left there too long. That being said, while synthetic rugs might not be perfect, they still are a good choice for many homes.

Unique pattern modern black and ivory area rug in beautiful living room space.
The Jazz collection's rugs are made of polyester and shrink polyester.

Examples

So now you might be wondering, what materials are synthetic rugs made out of? Three of the more common synthetic materials include polypropylene, polyester, and nylon. While these materials might not match up perfectly to their natural fiber counterparts in terms of quality, they do come close, and can easily be mistaken for the real deal to the average person. Keep all these pros and cons in mind if you end up selecting a synthetic rug for your next purchase.


Natural Fiber Rugs

Natural fiber rugs, come from the world naturally. This means that they can be found from either plants or animals. They are taken from the natural environment and processed into a natural fiber rug. With that being the case, natural fiber rugs have some completely different qualities compared to synthetic fiber rugs. They also have their own list of both pros and cons.

Ivory handmade wool area rug in bedroom space.
The Darcy collection is made of wool, a common natural fiber for rugs.

Pros

One of the biggest positives for natural fiber rugs are the comfort level they can add to your home. They tend to hold in allergens better, which means less sneezing if you are allergy prone. They also tend to feel better on the feet courtesy of the fibers they are created with. If you aren’t a fan of static electricity, you might prefer a natural rug as well. They are also much more echo-friendly in comparison to synthetic fibers. Natural fibers are created using sustainable resources, while synthetic fibers aren’t. So if your ecofootprint is something you want to keep in mind when purchasing a rug, a natural fiber might be the better choice for you.


Cons

Since natural fiber rugs are more of the “real deal” they tend to come with a higher cost than synthetic rugs. So if you are on a budget, it may be better to go in a different direction. Natural fiber rugs can be difficult to maintain. Some tend to shed, some are harder to clean, most don’t enjoy moisture. If you are concerned about constant upkeep, a natural rug might not be in your best interest. If you think you would be able to handle it however, a natural rug should be a good fit for you and your home. Just like synthetic fiber rugs, natural ones are not perfect. But, if you can handle the cons that they have, a natural rug can be the perfect addition to whatever room you are trying to add a little more flare to.

Ivory wool and cotton geometric pattern area rug in living room space.
The Cleveland collection is made of wool and cotton, a combination of two popular natural fibers.

Examples

There are plenty of different natural fibers used to make natural fiber rugs. These materials include wool, cotton, jute, and sisal. These fibers require more work to procure, which is why the tend to be a bit more expensive than synthetic fiber rugs. That being said, if you want something that seems higher in quality, and is a bit more ecofriendly, you may want to dive in to the natural fiber rug selection of your preferred rug dealer.


Conclusion

In conclusion, both synthetic fiber rugs and natural fiber rugs have different pros that make them a reasonable purchase for everyone. That being said, they both come with their own cons as well. Not every rug material is the same, and neither is every home they are going to end up in. Using these lists of pros and cons, assess which rug material would be the better option for your home, and go from there. We hope this post helps you in your next rug purchase.

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