If you feel like your home is inclined to spills and stains, choosing a carpet with the highest quality stain resistance will save you lots of time and stress. If you haven’t began to carpet shop yet, when you do, you will soon find that all carpets profess to be the world’s greatest stain proof carpet ever.
Today let's sort through all of the fluff. But before we begin, let’s make it easy to understand. There are many details that go into what makes a carpet lasting and durable, but when it comes to stain resistance, most of what counts most is the carpet material selected. All carpets have many unique characteristics and claim to be amazing at stain resistance, but It’s up to you to educate yourself to understand which fiber’s have the right advantages to keep the stains off of your carpet.
Hope this helps!
Wool Stain Resistance
Most carpet fibers are coated with a stain-preventing chemical; wool is an exception. Even without any treatment, your best option for stain resistance may be wool. Why you may ask?
Wool is naturally spill resistant...from ketchup to Kool-Aid and it even repels oils. There are many carpet fibers that are good for resisting spills or resisting oils but not both. Sometimes you'll only need protection against one type of stain (liquid or oils), but for those who need overall carpet protection, you may want to consider wool. However, as you know, it is not cheap.
Nylon Stain Resistance
Nylon is the favorite choice for homes and a big part of this is stain resistance. Nylon carpet with a good stain coat sets the bar for resistance against spills and other accidents. And while it may be a bit of a step down from wool at repelling oils, it doesn’t attract oil spills like some of the other carpet materials you may be considering.
The trick with nylon is it varies carpet to carpet because its stain resistance isn’t natural like wool. There are many different brands with great coatings out there, but you still need to be careful which you choose. The coating is what makes nylon carpets. To learn more about which nylon you should choose, learn more about the difference between branded vs unbranded nylon.
Polyester and Olefin Stain Resistance
Olefin and Polyester are two different types of carpet, but similar enough to put in the same category when referring to stain resistance. Both are oil-based carpet materials. Oil-based carpets do an great job at repelling spills, but the downside is, they attract oils. So why would someone choose to settle and purchase a carpet that would attract oils? Reason being...polyester and olefin are both modestly priced.
Next question is what rooms are good choices for an olefin or polyester? Preferably somewhere there’s no oil around, but you still want stain resistance. Oil can be tracked in the home either from the bottom of your shoes or from your skin. So any room that people have their shoes off and won’t be laying on the carpet would be a great choice for polyester and olefin—in many homes, a great example would be the living room or dining room.
Smartstrand aka triexta (the newcomer)
Smartstrand may be one of your best carpet fiber choices against stains. The great thing about Smarstrand is that its extreme stain resistance is built into the strand. This means you won’t have to worry about the carpets “stain protector” wearing off or if the quality is good enough in the first place.
What else makes a difference?
As already stated, carpet fiber is 90% of what makes carpets stain resistance. So is there anything else you need to be concerned about? Not much, but here is some additional tips you might want to keep in mind when making your carpet purchase:
First, some carpet styles provide unique stain challenges. One example of this is *Berber carpet. Many times spills won't soak into Berber fibers but what they will do is roll down into the backing of the carpet. This seems advantageous at the time of the spill, but when getting your Berber carpet cleaned, the tight weave causes it to dry slowly and some of these stains may wick up and appear at the carpets surface when it dries. That can be a professional carpet cleaner’s nightmare...when the carpet appears dirtier after cleaning then before.
A second thing to look for is the carpet stain warranty. Manufactures understand that warranties are easily void and you should understand this as well. There may be a 10-year stain warranty on a particular carpet, but not because they believe it will last 10 years, but because more than likely the warranty will become invalid before the 10 years are up.
To sum it all up!
The advantage of choosing a carpet with stain resistance is you need only to focus on one thing: the carpet material. Where it gets complex is determining the type of stains your carpet is most susceptible to, and how much you want to spend? Your best bet is to choose a brand name nylon with a good reputation, you’ll pay for it, but you'll be glad you did. If that's not in the cards, there are much less expensive options available in unbranded nylons, polyester, and olefin, and as long as you understand the drawbacks, they too can be great options.
Let's also keep in mind, stain resistance isn’t the only way to keep your carpet looking new. A proactive and family approach to avoiding and acting fast when spills and stains occur will help along with regular professional cleaning from a reputable source.
What is Berber Carpet?