Fibers used in a rug will help determine the feel and performance. The basic types are 1. Natural fibers and 2. Synthetics (human-made). Natural fibers most common include wool, linen, cotton and silk. All known to be absorbent fibers. There are two groups of natural fibers: protein fibers which come from animals and cellulosic fibers that come from plants.
- A protein fiber and most pre-dominant fiber from the fleece of sheep. Distinctive color variations include bright whites, grays, soot black and butterscotch brown. Most durable rug option sought after for its strength, crush resistance, comfort and cleanability. Wool is known to hide soil well. It is also naturally flame retardant. Due to processing costs, cleaning procedures and necessary preparations it can be a more expensive fiber. However, prices still range dramatically and can be less expensive than another fiber or upwards in the five-figure cost range.
- Be aware that wool has some chemical sensitivities to excessive alkaline with extended exposure and chlorine bleach.
- Cotton is a natural cellulosic fiber from the seed pod of the cotton plant. Organic cotton is growing in popularity.
- Cotton fiber takes very well to dyes which allows it to be a fiber used often to achieve vibrant color. It is a strong fiber that increases in strength when wet. Also known to be static and heat resistant. Cotton is a flammable fiber so it is not best suited for use in entry and exit areas.
- Naturally made from the cellulose fibers that grow inside of tall flax plant stalks. It is a strong fiber that dries faster than cotton.
- Linen also becomes suppler and softer to the touch with use.
- Silk is a very expensive protein fiber. Made from the cocoons of silk worms. It has a higher tensile strength and is yet lightweight and stretchable. However, still a more delicate fiber and best used in areas with less foot traffic.
- Silk is naturally flame resistant.
- Bamboo silk is a natural cellulose fiber made from the bamboo stalk.
- It is a sustainable material and renewable resource as bamboo is easily grown and an alternative to traditional silk. Bamboo silk is a breathable fiber, durable and yet soft.