Types of Rug Fibers
Wool is a versatile fiber that dyes easily to create a limitless range of colors. Because of the natural scales on a wool fiber surface, light is diffused and provides a soft appearance with less shine. Wool is naturally resilient and elastic, thereby enabling it to retain a dense pile through the weight of furniture, traffic and other uses for area rugs. Wool is extremely durable and maintains a good appearance for longer periods. There are different grades of wool with New Zealand wool noted as one of the finest.
Cotton is available in many colors, provides softness and fits well into casual homes.
Nylon is manufactured in an unlimited variety of colors, resists soil and is easily cleaned. The resilient nature of nylon withstands the weight of furniture and heavy traffic. Nylon is very strong, abrasion-resistant and elastic. While nylon can simulate the look and feel of wool, its lustrous quality will create a relatively shiny appearance in area rugs.
OLEFIN / POLYPROPYLENE
Olefin is the predominant machine-woven synthetic fiber. Olefin has a soft wool-like feel, but resists wear and stains while being colorfast, strong and affordable.
Polyester provides softness when constructed into thick, cut pile textures for area rugs and durability in furniture fabrics.
Any of the natural and/or synthetic fibers may be blended. Synthetic fibers such as olefin and nylon are petroleum products, while rayon – a man-made alternative to silk – is synthesized from cellulose found in trees. Animal-derived natural fibers include wool spun from sheep, goats, llama and alpaca. Plants produce natural fibers such as sea grass, jute, flax and cotton.