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Home / Inspiration / Your guide to polypropylene and stain-resistant carpets

Your guide to polypropylene and stain-resistant carpets

Busy family homes need resilient, easy-to-clean furnishings – especially with little ones running about and pets with muddy paws. So, when it comes to choosing new carpets, it’s a good idea to consider whether you’d prefer carpets made of natural fibres like wool which offer longevity but can stain or fade, or stain-resistant carpets made with synthetic fibres.

Wool vs polypropylene carpet

How stain-resistant a carpet is depends on how absorbent its fibres are. Natural fibres such as wool are highly absorbent, which means wool carpets are both prone to staining and tricky to clean, as products containing bleach can cause the colour to fade. On the other hand, carpets made from synthetic fibres such as polypropylene are stain-resistant as they don’t absorb moisture in the same way as wool. What’s more, the colour is an intrinsic part of the manufacturing process so cannot be easily removed using cleaning products.

victoria carpets easicare ultimate expressions

What is polypropylene carpet?

Polypropylene is a hard-wearing yarn used to make carpets that are affordable, resistant to staining, and most importantly of all, soft and luxurious underfoot. Made from oil-based polymers, polypropylene behaves a little like plastic, meaning that everyday spillages like food and drink can be mopped up easily using a spot cleaner, with no danger of damaging the carpet or its colour. It’s even safe to use cleaning products containing bleach.

A popular choice for modern families, there are few polypropylene carpet disadvantages  but please do see our table below for a full list of pros and cons of the carpet types mentioned.

Polypropylene carpets from Higherground

Sensation Original Carpet

The Sensation Original range from Cormar Carpets has led the trend for thick, luxurious carpets with a silk-like finish, and this range remains a bestseller due to its sumptuous feel and elegant colour options.

cormar carpets sensation feeling
Sensation Feeling

Sensation Feeling offers the same softness, stain resistance and attractive colourways but with a lighter pile weight – which is particularly suitable for high-traffic areas.

Sensation Heathers Carpet

If you’d like a touch more visual interest, consider a carpet from the Sensation Heathers range. The two-fold Luxelle yarn used to make the Heathers range creates a subtle tonal effect.

Ultimate Expressions Carpet

And if you’re looking for something that feels even more opulent, our Ultimate Expressions range offers supreme comfort, with extra depth added by the luxury-grade underlay.

First Impressions Carpet

If you’d like your easy-to-clean carpet to look exactly like natural wool, Victoria’s First Impressions has a de-lustred yarn with a matt finish, rather than a glossy effect.

cormar apollo plus
Apollo Plus carpet

All our polypropylene carpets are stain-resistant but the Apollo Plus range is a particularly popular choice for busy households, as it can be cleaned with products containing bleach and comes with a 10-year stain and wear warranty.

Nylon carpets

If your preference is for a synthetic fibre carpet, an alternative to polypropylene is nylon. There are two types of nylon carpet: solution-dyed nylon, where the colour is added to the nylon right at the start of the production process, making it integral to the yarn itself and meaning it can’t be altered much by cleaning. Solution-dyed nylon carpets look similar in appearance to polypropylene carpets but are more resistant to pile distortion – they’ll keep the ‘bounce’ that makes deep-pile carpets so pleasurable to walk on for longer and won’t be so easily flattened by furniture and foot traffic.

The second type of nylon carpet has the colour added after the yarn is made, which makes this type less stain-resistant but allows the manufacturer to tailor their colour offering according to demand. In this category of nylon carpets, you’ll find 6.6 Nylon – the finest man-made yarn on the market.

If you’re looking for a luxurious, super-soft carpet with a silky finish, explore our Wall Street and Symphony ranges by Elements London, or Cannes, Chablis, Cabernet which form part of our broader Campeone Collection by ITC. All of these are made using 6.6 nylon, which replicates the exquisite texture of silk but without the premium price tag.

SmartStrand carpets

If eco-friendly credentials are a priority, you’ll love our range of SmartStrand carpets. Created in 2005, a key component of SmartStrand yarn is natural starch. The manufacturing process for SmartStrand requires 30% less energy and produces 63% less CO2 than other synthetic fibres, reducing its impact on the environment. But it’s not just the greener choice – it’s also the only man-made carpet that is resistant to crushing and matting and has an in-built lifetime stain protection called ‘Nanoloc’ that means SmartStrand carpets can be cleaned with just water.

Here at Higherground, we’ve been fitting SmartStrand carpets since they first became available. For beautifully soft, easy-to-clean carpets, try the Celeste range or Bohome collection. For a shorter, more velvety pile, you’ll want to look at the Dream and Patina ranges.

Carpet protection

If you prefer the natural quality of wool carpets, we can safeguard your investment against stains with Intec, an innovative solution that forms a barrier to stop water and stains being absorbed into the fibres. Originally developed for commercial use in hotels and aircraft, it’s the best stain protection on the market, and will help keep your wool carpets looking newer for longer. We can also provide James Starter Kits, an ingenious spot-cleaning product that can remove almost any stain imaginable.

Whichever carpet you choose, remember to be careful when using spot-cleaning products – it’s best to be gentle and avoid rubbing vigorously, as this can damage the pile. When cleaning wool, we recommend using a piece of scrap carpet to test first, or if you don’t have a spare scrap, try the product in an area that won’t be noticed such as behind a door or a piece of furniture.

Your at-a-glance guide to carpet materials

We’ve looked at how easy the carpets are to clean, how durable they are and prices so you can weigh up polypropylene carpets’ pros and cons as well as Nylon, SmartStand and Wool.

Expert help and advice from Higherground

You can order samples of all our carpets so you can take a closer look at your options before you buy. Or better yet, come to our showroom in Camberley, Surrey. Our carpet showroom is laid out to make browsing simple with areas for each carpet type. You can ask for assistance from our team of experts, and can browse our extensive range of flooring options including rugs, wood flooring and Luxury Vinyl Tiles, which are laid out in their own departments.  

If you can’t make it to our showroom, simply get in touch via phone or via the contact form, and we’d be delighted to help you.