All About Polypropylene
What is polypropylene?
Polypropylene is a solution-dyed synthetic fiber originally created in Italy in the late 1950s by Giulio Natta and Karl Ziegler. Also known as olefin, polypropylene has become one of the most common synthetic materials used in the manufacturing of textiles for upholstery and clothing, insulating fibers for packaging and houses, and yarns for ropes and rugs.
What are the benefits of a polypropylene rug?
Color & Comfort: Polypropylene is a solution-dyed material, which means that the dyeing takes place simultaneously with the production of the fiber. This process makes polypropylene rugs colorfast and fade resistant, perfect for a wide array of design styles and applications. These rugs come in a variety of colors, from classic neutrals to vibrant hues. Designed to mimic the feel of cotton or wool, polypropylene rugs feel soft and have a comfortable texture.
Durable & Dependable: Polypropylene rugs are high performing synthetic options that hold up in high-traffic areas like households with pets and/ or children or light contract settings. They are easy to maintain and since polypropylene is impervious to moisture, it resists water-based stains. The polypropylene rugs that we sell are flat weaves with loop pile (as opposed to cut or shag pile), a construction that resists crushing and has a sleek, low profile.
Indoor & Outdoor: Polypropylene yarns have weather-resistant properties like resistance to UV damage, fading, mold and mildew. The vivid colors are colorfast and fibers do not absorb water. All this adds up to a rug that is versatile with modern designs that blend seamlessly into interior or exterior spaces. Not all polypropylene rugs can be used outdoors—check the weave’s Specification tab to verify.
Which rug material is right for my lifestyle?
If you need to know how to buy a rug online, which material is right for your lifestyle, or what size rug to purchase, head over to our Rug Buying Guide - Everything You Need to Know.
Is a polypropylene rug ok for outdoor use?
It depends on the backing. Some polypropylene rugs are only for indoor use, while others can live both indoors and outdoors. An indoor polypropylene rug has a backing, like action, felt or latex, to provide the weave extra cushioning and stability. For example, our tiger-eyed Sydney is backed with latex and our sisal-look New York is action backed (a sturdy, woven synthetic backing for carpets), but both are made from polypropylene and for indoor use only.
An outdoor polypropylene rug will either not have a backing or have a backing suitable for outdoor use. The maze-like Cambridge does not have a backing while the diamond-eyed Madrona has an action backing that is suitable for outdoor use. Unbacked polypropylene rugs can be used inside or outside, but we recommend the use of a non-slip rug pad for safety and comfort when used indoors.
How do I clean a polypropylene rug?
Cleaning an outdoor polypropylene rug that has no backing can be as easy as spraying it with a hose. If water does not do the trick, normal household cleaning agents will help lift any stains. For best results over time, outdoor polypropylene rugs should not be left outdoors in the elements for extended periods. Store polypropylene rugs indoors in the winter or during inclement weather to prevent staining and damage.
For indoor polypropylene rugs or carpet, any spill or stain should be mopped or vacuumed up immediately. Since polypropylene does not absorb liquid, any spilled liquids that are not recovered by blotting with clean towels or the cleaning system (i.e. rug cleaning machine) will work their way back up to the surface to evaporate, bringing with it residual dirt, soil or detergents that cause staining. This is commonly referred to as “wick-back.” As a general rule for all rugs and carpet, we suggest weekly vacuuming to lift dust and dirt to prevent wick-back.
Oil-based stains can be challenging to lift from a polypropylene rug because polypropylene is oleophilic, meaning it attracts oily substances. Do not use an oil-based solvent to clean your polypropylene rug. Instead, find a treatment especially formulated for polypropylene and consider applying a carpet protectant when your rug first arrives. All of our weaves come with detailed care guides that are accessible on each weave’s page under the Care tab. For more general care instructions, our Care Guides resource page offers tips for cleaning synthetic as well as natural fiber rugs.
Will a polypropylene rug match my style?
A polypropylene rug is a great match for both lifestyle and design style. Polypropylene is prized for its flexible appearance—polypropylene can be woven into a plush, wool-like carpet or a tight, sisal-look rug. Our polypropylenes are available as broadloom for wall-to-wall carpeting or you can create a custom rug to fit your exact dimensions.
A jumbo bouclé polypropylene carpet like Paddington, with its classic sisal-look in rich colors, brings timeless styling and minimalist texture to modern decors when installed wall-to-wall. A polypropylene runner crafted from Sandpoint adds energy and casual comfort to a beachfront cottage and a polypropylene custom area rug from Tulum or Costa Maya brings jewel-toned inspiration to outdoor dining areas. Polypropylene is also a great material for boat carpet, bringing sophisticated yet sensible floor coverings to boats and yachts.
If a 100% wool rug is outside of your budget, a soft polypropylene-wool blend is a perfect option. Westhampton or Huntington are low profile, soft underfoot, and come in neutral colorways that effortlessly blend with traditional to transitional decors. In addition to soft fibers and neutral colorways, subtle patterns in carpets or rugs are a great avenue for layering visual elements into your look. Newport’s herringbone pattern and the diamond-studded Saybrook bring the feel of wool with well-dressed designs.
the texture of wool & the softness of polypropylene
bring the sisal-look into bedrooms, living rooms and more with a polypropylene carpet or rug
an outdoor polypropylene rug unifies outdoor seating collections