Debate has raged over rug material choice for a long time now, with the question on everyone’s lips being “what’s the most family friendly material?”. We’ve been asked this question many times over…..and it’s a tricky one, as the answer very much depends on the individuals needs. That’s why we decided it was time to have a little discussion about the pros and cons of wool vs polypropylene to try and help you decide which is the appropriate choice for your home.
Let’s talk Wool
Wool has been used as a floor covering for, well…..ever. It’s origins go waaaay back, some say as far as the 7th Century BC. It’s been woven and knotted into rugs in a variety of styles, colours and patterns across time and is now often blended with other, man made textiles to improve it’s’ durability and texture. As far as being a family friendly option there are a number of reasons that you may decide wool is the right material for your home.
- Natural fibre resilience. This means that the fibres “bounce back” after crushing from foot fall.
- Low flammability. Clearly this is an important factor for homes with open fire places.
- Lanolin. That’s right, the natural oils in wool help to protect the fibres from stains!
- Gorgeous natural texture and feel. Let’s face it, there’s something about a naturally derived textile that you just can’t go past, and it’s always great to know that you aren’t using a chemical derivative to decorate your home.
There are a few cons to wool when you are considering whether this textile is right for your home, though.
- Shedding. All wool rugs shed. That’s how the fibre renews itself, but it can wreak havoc if you have a little one who likes to eat everything they get their hands on (we’ve been there!).
- Gentle vacuum only. You read right! Whilst we all like to get stuck into our carpets and rugs with our super powered vacuums and rotating power heads, with a wool rug (particularly a hand woven one) it’s important to go gently to ensure you don’t stretch or warp the rug, or matt the fibres.
- The price. We know – they’re expensive, but a good wool rug is a timeless piece that you’ll have years of enjoyment from. However, if you have kids who are likely to mush their play-doh in to the pile, you may prefer to save your investing for a few years (we’ve been there too!).
Now let’s talk Polypropylene
Polypropylene has been around since the beginning of the 20th Century and has gained popularity due to the many and varied styles that can be created in a cost effective manner. Let’s look at some of the reasons a polypropylene rug may be the right choice for you.
- Allergies. Unlike wool, polypropylene rugs don’t harbour dust mites etc which can exacerbate allergies.
- Colour fastness. The dyes in polypropylene rugs don’t run or fade, even in bright sunlight.
- Non-shed piles. The fact that polypropylene is non-shed is a big bonus for many families ensuring there are no little piles of rug fibres for little ones to get their hands (and mouths!) on.
- Easy clean. A polypropylene rug is an easy clean option. It’s possible to blot up spills and stains quickly and easily and you can really give them a good solid vacuum to ensure all dust and dirt is picked up.
- Cost effective. A polypropylene rug is a lot cheaper than it’s wool cousin, so in homes who are budget conscious or who know that the wear and tear of family life is going to necessitate a new rug in a few years time, it may be preferable to purchase a polypropylene option until the kids are a bit older.
There are some cons to polypropylene too, though.
- Smell. Yes – a lot of polypropylene rugs do have a “new rug” smell when you first get them – it’s important to let them air out as much as possible, but for some families this may be too much if they are sensitive to it.
- Oil stains. Polypropylene fibres can discolour from skin and hair oils, attracting dirt and creating a grey hue. Once this has occurred it can be difficult to get the rug looking fresh again.
- Fibre crushing. Whilst polypropylene is hard wearing, it doesn’t recover as well as wool from foot traffic and if it’s not rotated regularly will start to show worn patches more swiftly than it’s woollen counterpart.
Having listed out all these pros and cons we’re not sure whether or not we will have made it easier or harder to make a decision with regard to fibre choice. There are so many reasons that each fibre is a great contender for a family home that in the end it will be personal choice and consideration of your own families individual needs that will seal the deal on which is the best option for you.