A dirty little secret about polyester carpet

You have been out shopping for carpet and have run into two carpet fibers: nylon and polyester.

You feel both of the carpets and “poly” carpet just feels better. It is thicker and more luxurious. And you certainly get more carpet for the money. So naturally you are skeptical and you ask the sales person about it. He (or she) assures you that the carpet will wear just fine.

So you ask, “what about staining”. He proudly shows you the back of the sample and the “Lifetime” stain warranty that comes with this carpet. You are sold! There is no way this carpet won’t be perfect for your room. Let’s take care of the paper work and schedule the installation.

There’s just one problem. You haven’t asked the right question and the salesperson isn’t going to volunteer that information—if they even know it.

So here’s the dirty little secret. There is a difference between staining and soiling. In your mind, you asked the correct question—“what about staining”.

What you really want to know by asking that question is “how is my carpet going to look in five years?” Is it going to be clean? Is it going to show dirty wear patterns. And so the question that you thought to ask was the stain question.

But that wasn’t the correct question because there is a difference between staining and soiling. Polyester is very “stain” resistant. They make it from recycled plastics. Have you ever seen the inside of a pop bottle stain?

The real question is soiling and polyester isn’t very good at that. Ask most carpet cleaners. When they try to clean soil patterns out of polyester they can never really make them look new again. You see traffic patterns much quicker in a polyester carpet than you would in a comparable nylon carpet. The soiling combined with matting is more apparent and develops quicker.

There are many good things about polyester carpet. It is soft, luxurious, and stain resistant. But it isn’t resistant to soiling and traffic patterns. So if you have a high traffic area—especially one that comes in from outside—you may want to consider nylon carpet.

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