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We often get asked our opinion on what are the most durable rug materials. Depending on what you need to protect your rug from—dirty shoes? high footfall? an active toddler? a rambunctious dog? a tipped-over bowl of spaghetti?—different materials may offer you the durability and longevity you need for your living rooms, dining rooms, corridors, entryways. Here is a handy list to guide you through the process:
Wool is—drum roll, please—gorgeous, natural, plush, hypoallergenic, purifying, bacteria-resistant, soil-resistant, flame-retardant, eco-friendly, biodegradable, sustainable, versatile, and, of course, extremely durable! Wool rugs can withstand high-traffic areas and still look good even if they are not actually that clean. How can this be? A thin coat of lanolin and the microscopic scales on each individual fibre makes it so that dirt and moisture are whisked away, giving wool its natural stain resistance. It can absorb three times its weight and still not feel damp underfoot, so if a glass of water tips over at a dinner party, you’ll be none the wiser. Most importantly, well-made wool rugs retain their original beauty and are naturally resilient to everyday wear and tear, giving you a great bang for your buck.
Though it may have none of the naturalness that wool offers, oftentimes polypropylene may be the right choice for your living space. Polypropylene is stain-resistant, fade-resistant (making it the number one choice for outdoor rugs), and mildew-resistant. As it is non-absorbent, it is perfect for areas with high moisture (i.e. by the pool) or where spills are likely to happen (i.e. in the dining room or kitchen). You could even wash it with a bleach solution without discolouring it. These rugs are very easy to clean with light vacuuming and the occasional spot clean (the only chink in its armour is oil—an oil stain will not go away). Polypropylene rugs are very low maintenance and extremely affordable given that they are all machine-manufactured with synthetic fibres. Functionality is paired with comfort: they come in attractive patterns and colours, are soft underfoot, and can mimic the look and feel of natural fibres. Because they don’t have quite the same “bounce” as wool rugs, polypropylene rugs may not withstand heavy footfall quite as well, but given their other great qualities, they are an affordable, attractive choice for fast-fashion-friendly, durable rugs.
Flatweave rugs, made usually with either wool, linen, silk, and especially cotton, are woven on a loom and therefore do not have a tufted pile. The slimness of these rugs make them lightweight, reversible, and extremely easy to clean—even in the washing machine. Dust and dirt don’t accumulate as they would in a shag or high-pile rug. Best of all, they won’t shed. They are durable enough to withstand high-traffic areas like dining rooms and kitchens, though a rug pad is necessary to prevent slippage. For bedrooms, living rooms, and playrooms, a cushioned rug pad will add the comfort that rugs are traditionally known for.
Sisal (pronounced “SIGH-sul”) is a hardwearing, durable material that is highly suitable for high-traffic areas such as hallways and entryways. Sisal comes from agave plant (indeed, the same agave you see among the sweeteners at the grocery store). It is wood-like to the touch which has the added benefit of offering a nice earthy texture to your space. Sisal is also ideal for allergy-sufferers. It offers superior durability when it comes to dry dirt: just brush it right off!
Jute is an equally sustainable and eco-friendly choice for those who are both fashion- and environmentally-conscious. Jute is a robust plant fibre with a slightly more pliable, softer finish than sisal, making it easier to transform into circular, braided pieces. Given its rich earthy tones, it offers a naturally rustic look that suits almost every type of home décor. Like sisal, it gives a great boho feel to any living space when layered with another more sassy rug, but it is also a great material to have in corridors or other high-traffic areas.
There is a caveat: jute and sisal should never get wet or be wet-washed, making them less ideal for kitchen and dining areas where spills are more likely to happen.
Which rugs have had the greatest success in terms of longevity in your home? Let us know in the comments below!