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Nylon was invented in 1930 by DuPont as a substitute for silk. There are two known types of nylon, type 6 and type 6,6. Of the two, the type 6,6 is the premium and slightly more durable than type 6. Because nylon is the hardest of all manmade fibers it resists abrasion and wears very well. Most nylons on the market today are pretreated to make them more stain resistant.
Polypropylene is not as durable as nylon however it remains popular due to its strong resistance to stains, soil and mildew. Polypropylene is solution dyed and is the most color fast of all fibers because the color is built into the fiber as it is formed. This particular fiber does not spring back as readily as nylon. This fiber is recommended for low traffic areas because of its ability to compact over time.
Polyester known as “PET” is a fiber that is processed dyed and has great fade resistance. Polyester is very soft and is a great alternative for a luxury feel for a fraction of the cost. Although it may be the least resilient it remains a staple fiber for uses such as family room and kids areas because of its cleanability. Polyester “PTT” known as Sorona is similar to the P.E.T in cleaning, however differs because the PTT molecule has a kink that allows the fiber to be more crush resistant.
Acrylic s a manmade fiber from acrylonitrile which is a clear plastic. Acrylic gained its wide popularity for being less expensive but having the closest feel to wool. It has since declined due to its reputation to wear out quickly and stain readily. Fast forward 50 years…. Acrylic is still being used to make some of the most luxurious products on the market. They have since developed methods of plying two materials together such as acrylic and wool; the wool supports the acrylic making for a more durable product. It still remains a carpet recommended for low traffic area.