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Natural vs Synthetic Rug Fibers
August 19, 2019 — No Comments

Natural VS Synthetic Rugs: What’s the Difference?

There’s a lot to consider when looking for the right rug, from size to color to patterns, but it’s also important to think about what the rug is actually made of. Choosing between natural and synthetic fibers can have a huge impact on how the rug looks and feels, not to mention the price range and upkeep. Not an expert on polypropylene vs. wool? Don’t sweat it—today we’re giving you the rundown on what you need to know when choosing your rug’s material.


“Pros” of Natural Fibers

Natural fiber rugs such as wool, jute, and cotton, are a great pick for many people. We have tons more info on different fibers, but here is a quick overview. All natural fibers are renewable resources, meaning that we don’t have to worry that we’re going to run out. For instance, wool comes from sheep, sheep need to be sheared, so as long as we have sheep, we will have wool. Other natural fibers, like jute and cotton, come from plants. Again, as long as we’re good to the environment and follow responsible farming practices, we will have these fibers. There are many other pros that we could list, like wool is naturally stain resistant, but we’ll get more in depth on that later.

“Cons” of Natural Fibers That Synthetic May Solve

Many natural fiber rugs can get expensive, especially if you’re looking for a large area rug. Choosing a synthetic version can save a lot of money if you want a big bedroom rug. Another big problem? Allergies! Many people have allergies to fibers such as wool, so finding a similar style rug in a synthetic fiber is essential.


“Pros” of Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic fibers such as viscose, polypropylene (aka olefin), and rayon, are often a great option as well. These fibers are made to mimic many of our beloved natural fibers. Viscose, for instance, mimics the look and feel of silk at a fraction of the price, so artificial materials are great for large area rugs. Regardless of what room or style you’re going for, there are synthetic options for everything from outdoor rugs, traditional area rugs, modern bedroom rugs, and more!

“Cons” of Synthetic  Fibers That Natural Materials May Solve

Although synthetic rugs seem like the perfect fiber alternatives, nothing is perfect. Except for those that are made from recycled materials, many are not very eco-friendly, and most show their wear and tear much faster than natural fibers. Another issue for some synthetic fibers is that they stain easily, so keep that in mind for your living room rug! Of course, different synthetic materials act differently, but it’s important to keep these in mind.

Which Is Right For You?

Now that we have explained the pros and cons of some of the top fibers in rugs, the last thing we need to do is help you figure out which is best for you! Below is a little checklist of questions to ask yourself before making your decision.


  • Where will this rug live?


    • If you want an outdoor rug, then synthetic is what you want
    • If you’re looking for a living room rug or for a food-dropping splash zone, you might want to stay away from certain fibers like silk, jute/sisal, and certain types of viscose. All of which stain easily (some even with water!).
    • If it’s in a high traffic area, you might want to look towards a wool rug or wool alternative, like Olefin, that can stand up to wear and tear


  • Do you or any of your family members have allergies to any of the rug fibers?


    • This might seem like a no-brainer, but we had to add it in. If you are allergic to wool, don’t get a wool rug!


  • What is your price range?


    • Although you can find wool rugs for low price points, it might be worth switching to a wool alternative. Cheap wool rugs are often made with shorter wool pieces, which makes them more prone to shedding. We’re talking years into owning your rug and the rug still sheds everywhere. Olefin can be a very cost-effective option and it won’t shed the way a cheap wool rug might.


Contact Us For More Info!

There is so much to learn about rug fibers and we really only touched the very tip of the iceberg here. For more information, definitely check out our Rug Fiber Page. And if you have concerns about which fiber to choose simply let us know! We know a lot and can help you find the perfect rug (and rug fiber) for every room in your house.


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The Authors: Kate Roth