There are so many different ways to enhance your home with area rugs. Along with the limitless combination of colors, textures, and patterns they can offer, they serve as functional and versatile elements that can transform any living space. The comfort and welcoming aesthetic they add to a room is something you don’t quite get with a bare hardwood floor or carpet.
Although appearance is among the most important factors when choosing the best area rug for your home , there are many variables to consider: fiber makeup, rug construction, backing, colorfastness, and more. If you’re looking to find the most sustainable rugs for your household, you’ve come to the right blog!
Manmade Synthetic rugs
Rugs made up of non-cellulosic fibers like nylon, acrylic, olefin, and polyester are great choices because of their superior cleanability and durability. They are not damaged by water like other synthetics such as rayon and acetate. They also tend to hide soil well. For a heavily used area in your home, you might consider a nylon rug, as it is typically more resilient (resistant to crushing and matting) than other synthetic fibers. If you are a pet lover, manmade synthetics are considered the best rugs for dogs due to their durability and cleanability.
It’s no secret that wool area rugs have remained such a popular choice for centuries. The material offers a great variety of textures and color combinations, while exhibiting outstanding resiliency. Wool rugs are also known for their soil-hiding properties and cleanability, meaning that when cared for properly, these rugs can last a lifetime! If a lifetime is too long, no need to worry, as wool is 100% biodegradable so you can toss out your old rug stress-free.
Silk area rugs have long been known for their soft and lustrous look, adding a sort of elegance to a space. When dry, silk rugs possess good resiliency; when wet, silk is slightly weaker and mechanical cleaning must be done with caution. All in all, silk generally cleans well.
Cotton & Linen Rugs
Natural fibers like cotton and linen typically don’t make the best area rugs. These fibers have no resiliency and tend to crush and mat. They do not have any soil-hiding properties. On the plus side, they are stronger when wet, so they can generally be cleaned using both wet and dry-cleaning methods. We would recommend utilizing these as upholstery fabrics or window coverings instead.
Rayon, despite its popularity among area rugs, is up to 80% weaker when wet and has very poor resiliency. It shrinks and rings easily with moisture and does not exhibit strong soil-hiding properties. Generally, these rugs should be dry cleaned. Any water-based cleaners must be used sparingly and with great caution to avoid damaging the fibers. If you can foresee any rug stains in the future, you may want to stay away from rayon since it can be easily ruined!
Image from rugchick.com
The construction method of rugs we buy is one of the most overlooked aspects of how sustainable rugs might be. As is the case with many things, hand-made products tend to be high quality and durable. Hand-knotted and flat-woven rug constructions are known to produce long-lasting area rugs. To learn more about rug construction, click here.
The backing of your area rug is another factor that often flies under the radar. There are two main types of rug backings: a latex (rubber) or a softer woven backing. In just about any case, the woven backing is the better option. Latex backings can scratch your hardwood flooring, cause your rugs to buckle or ripple, and can even cause yellowing in your area rug. While latex backings prevent slipping by holding a rug in place, the same effect can be had by a non-slip rug pad. In addition to reducing slipping, area rug pads protect hardwood floors while adding an extra level of comfort to your rugs.
When shopping for area rugs that contain a combination of fibers, assume that the maintenance required will be governed by the weakest fiber. This means that, unfortunately, a 60% wool/40% rayon area rug is likely to have the same issues as a 100% rayon rug.
Colorfastness, or the resistance to change in color, should be kept in mind when choosing the right rug. Silk area rugs are prone to both fading and bleeding issues, while solution dyed synthetics are the least prone to such issues. Natural lighting of a room might help you decide on a fiber type.
The amount of foot traffic you expect in a space should also be considered in selecting the best area rug. Keep in mind that although some area rugs would look amazing in your home, they might not be the best option for longevity. If you can’t help but get that rayon rug that caught your eye, it would be wise to place it in a much less conspicuous area than your family room that will see daily heavy traffic.
How Fiber-Seal Can Help!
No matter which area rug is right for you, the good news is that Fiber-Seal can protect, clean and maintain them all! We are also here to answer any questions you may have about the best area rug to fit your needs. With over 50 years in business, we know our fabrics and how to best care for them. Contact your local service center for more information!