Wool Rugs Wool Rugs
Written By : RugKnots  |  

Wool typically feels softer and more luxurious than polypropylene carpet. Wool Rugs are flame resistant, while the chemicals in synthetic rugs might make them highly flammable.

Synthetic rugs are cheaper, but the quality is lower, and they can be harmful to the environment. Yes and no! The different types of synthetic materials are petroleum derivatives and treated with harsh chemicals during manufacturing. So… yes, synthetic materials have different chemical properties and compounds.

Polypropylene outdoor rugs are made with UV Stabilized fibers for the outdoors. They have small differences in texture and color, but for the most part, the average person cannot tell the difference between synthetic materials.

What Is Polypropylene Rug?

“Synthetics like polypropylene rugs (also known as olefin), nylon, acrylic, or polyester is made using man-made fibers.” polypropylene rugs materials are made from petroleum in a lab and sent to factories to be machine woven into rugs.

What Is Wool Rug?

Braided wool rugs are handwoven and use natural wool with hundreds of knots to create intricate patterns and designs. RugKnots also has the best collection of wool shag rugs that are far better than any other kind!

Here Are 10 Tips On How To Choose Between Wool Rugs And Polypropylene Rugs:

Tip 1: Check the Texture

Wool rugs have a natural texture, and polypropylene is smoother. Polypropylene has more of an artificial feel to it than wool does, which also feels much softer on your feet. Wool can be really thick or thin depending on the kind you purchase, while synthetic materials are usually uniform in thickness.

Tip 2: Check the Color

Wool rugs are available in a huge range of colors, while synthetic materials usually come in only just one or two shades. Wool also blends better with other types of furniture than polypropylene does, and it is easier to match different tones when you buy wool rugs instead of synthetic rugs.

Tip 3: Choose the Material According To Your Lifestyle

If you have children or pets, wool is a better option because it doesn’t show dirt. It will also hide stains and the fur from your pet much more easily than polypropylene does. Wool rugs are more expensive to purchase, but they last longer than synthetic materials. So, if you’re looking for the best types of rug material that lasts, then go with wool.

Tip 4: Compare the Prices

A wool rug can cost more than $1000, but it is usually worth every penny because you won’t need to replace it for a long time. Polypropylene rugs are cheaper, and they will work just fine if you don’t want to spend that much money on your floors. Compare the prices of both options before making your decision. If you want to save money, go with the polypropylene rug.

Tip 5: Consider Easy To Clean Option

If you have children or pets, it’s important to know that you cannot wash a wool rug in your washing machine because it will shrink and be ruined. If this is an issue for you, then buy a synthetic carpet. Always go for easy-to-clean options before purchasing anything. Polypropylene rugs are easier to clean, and you can wash them in your washing machine.

Tip 6: Choose What Feels Good To You and Your Family

The best way to make up your mind is by simply feeling the wool rug or polypropylene rug in person. Make sure that it feels right for you and your family before purchasing one of these rugs. If all other factors are equal, go with the rug that feels right to you. Your family will also appreciate the carpet that you chose.

Tip 7: Consider the Traffic Before Choosing

If it’s a high-traffic area, then don’t worry about having a wool rug because it won’t last long when there is so much foot traffic going back and forth over it. You’ll be wasting your time and investment on a rug that will need to be replaced soon. For high-traffic areas, a polypropylene rug is the way to go because it’s more durable and long-lasting.

Tip 8: Consider the Temperature Of Where You Live

If it’s a cooler climate, then polypropylene is your best choice because wool rugs can’t tolerate extreme cold as well as they do in warmer climates. However, if it’s very hot outside, then a wool rug would be a better choice because it can provide more comfort in these conditions.

Tip 9: Check for Life-Wear

When you’re looking for a rug, make sure that the material is durable enough so it doesn’t wear and tear too quickly. 100% wool rugs are going to be more expensive than polypropylene because they last longer. But if you need something inexpensive, then consider getting one made of synthetic fibers like acrylics, nylon, or polypropylene. Rugs should be a one-time investment, something other than what you need to replace every year or two. So, choose your rug wisely.

Tip 10: Know the Flooring

If your carpet is new and in good condition, then wool rugs are a great option for avoiding potential hazards like slipping on an uneven surface. However, if the carpet is old or damaged, with loose threads that can snag on a rug’s loops, then consider opting for a rug made of synthetic fibers like polypropylene.

Did You Know That Wool Is A Natural Noise Insulator?

Experience the noise-reducing benefits of wool rugs for your home. Woolens, a common wool type, offer luxurious softness. Polypropylene yarn adds durability. Our contemporary wool rugs are meticulously handwoven, ensuring quality. Available in various sizes.

How Long Do Both Rugs Last?

When it comes to quality, the customer asks the question about its age. How Long Do Wool & Synthetic Rugs Last?

Age of Wool Rugs

Well-maintained wool area rugs will be in your home for at least 50 years and can be used as heirloom pieces for generations. Wool is one of Mother Nature’s most durable fibers. You will be able to pass your wool rug down to your children and grandchildren for many generations. Because of their durability and scarcity, wool rugs can make great investment pieces, with antique wool rugs selling at a high value.

Wool has a naturally crimped texture and spiral shape that makes it ideal for high-traffic areas. Wool will not become matted down over years of pitter-patter and heavy furniture, just like fine leather and wool. Runner patina with age, making them look and feel even more luxurious than the day they were delivered to your home.

Age of Synthetic Rugs

The usual lifespan of a polypropylene, nylon, acrylic, or polyester rug is 3-5 years with professional cleaning. Synthetic rugs are less resilient to foot traffic than wool rugs. All synthetic rugs lack wool’s brilliant spiral structure created by Mother Nature, meaning the fibers tend to become matted down and tear from foot traffic and heavy furniture.

Nylon tends to be the most durable of synthetic fibers; however, it is a distant second from wool. Nylon is a resilient fiber (meaning it is considered to be long-lasting) and the strongest of synthetic fibers. Polypropylene carpets use the most expensive synthetic fiber. Acrylic tends to be as durable as nylon and has high resiliency. Just like nylon, the stronger the individual fiber, the rougher the rug feels.

Use the best liquid cleaner for Polypropylene rug cleaning. Polypropylene, or olefin, is the most commonly used synthetic material clothing for synthetic rugs and carpets. Polypropylene carpet made from synthetic polypropylene, also known as olefin, is ideal for high-traffic areas. It is less expensive than wool.

Are Polypropylene Rugs Safe For Kids?

Flame-retardant polypropylene rugs are safe for kids. Polypropylene is treated with chemicals to become stain resistant (except oil-based stains) and is less expensive than nylon. Also used to make artificial grass carpets, polypropylene is the second least resilient of synthetic fibers. The material has a low abrasion tolerance and a low melting point. A 100% polypropylene rug will become matted very easily, become dull looking very quickly, and must be kept away from heat sources, including high sun windows.

Polyester is the least expensive rug material to manufacture. That being said, it is also the first to show wear and tear. Polyester has the lowest resiliency rating of synthetic fibers and will show its age very quickly. Polyester shaggy rug warranties will never include claims against crushing or matting simply because polyester cannot hold up to the foot traffic.

All synthetic fibers are given their color in their liquid state, leaving the material unable to absorb and retain dye after processing. They will never fade but may yellow with time and are prone to chemical and sun bleaching. It is worth noting that synthetic rugs should be seen as “disposable.” Just as anything else made with plastic, synthetic rugs have a lifetime and need to be thrown out when it is expired.

How to Clean Wool & Synthetic Rugs?

As both rug types differ in nature and age, there are also different precautions when it comes to cleaning.

Cleaning Wool Rugs

Contrary to rumors, cleaning wool rugs is surprisingly easy with regular vacuuming, prompt spot cleaning, and the use of gentle solutions, making them simple to maintain. Wool rugs contain tiny pockets that camouflage dust and pet hair. Although they should be vacuumed every 1-3 weeks, wool rugs always appear fresh and new due to their design and structure. Your guests never have to know you forgot to vacuum!

If a stain occurs, place a cloth dampened with water and white vinegar solution on the stain within 15 minutes of the accident to make sure the stain does not set in. Wool is naturally hydrophobic, meaning it is a water repellent. Wool will wick away water-based stains, making them ideal for dining rooms and other accident-prone areas of your home.

Cleaning Polypropylene Rugs

Because of synthetic materials, polypropylene, polyester, and nylon rugs are also simple to clean. Water-based stains sit on top and can be wiped away with a damp cloth. Just as stains sit on top, so does dirt. Polypropylene, nylon, and polyester do not contain the tiny pockets found in the wool rug construction.

Polypropylene rugs cleaning needs to be vacuumed every day to avoid a dull and dingy-looking room. Synthetic rugs are susceptible to oil-based stains. Oils from the skin (and puppy paws!) press into the carpet, requiring synthetic rugs to be cleaned professionally at least once every year. A great upside to synthetic rug fibers is that they are not porous and do not hold odor.

Difference In Design

Absolutely! You will notice that even in the best synthetic rugs, the design may be slightly off-center, bulky, and less detailed than in wool rugs. The bottom of the rug is an exact mirror image of the decorative top pile in synthetic rugs.

The top pile is bonded to a plastic bottom with glue. As you can see in the image above, the 100% polypropylene rug design needs to be more detailed than the wool carpet. The eye for detail comes with hundreds of years of expertise and wool rug craftsmanship.

One of the design drawbacks to synthetic rugs is that they must be balanced, like this vintage blue over-dyed wool rug pictured above. We love the modern and antique juxtaposition at the moment!

Wool Rugs Design & Features

Hand Woven Rugs wool is silky, luxurious, and soft to the touch. Hundreds of knots are tied, creating the design and pattern - the rugs have a soft and sturdy pile. Wool is a natural staple fiber, meaning the individual fibers have a natural spiral construction. The back of wool rugs is soft and will not damage hardwood or carpeted flooring.

Synthetic Rugs Design & Features

This helps the rug maintain its shape, and it is duplicated in synthetic fibers used in rug making to help prevent matting. Synthetic rugs will feel soft to the touch when you first bring them home but will become “plastic-y” and rough with time. Nylon will have the softest feel, but as we said earlier, the softer the nylon fiber, the less durable the rug.

As the synthetic pile wears down with foot traffic and heavy furniture, the rug will soon feel hard and brittle. The back of synthetic rugs is bonded with a hard plastic backing that will slip and scratch hardwood floors.

Is Polypropylene Safe?

Yes! Polypropylene rugs are totally safe as they do not contain any harmful chemicals or materials. It is made of pure and soft plastic; flexibility and softness are the main features of polypropylene carpets and rugs.

A quick tip: When buying a rug, many clients will run their fingers through the pile of the rug to “feel the quality.” This is known as perceived quality. Do not do this! When you are looking for a quality rug, you should not be able to run your fingers through the pile very easily.

Are They Flammable?

Wool is a natural flame retardant. Rather than burning, wool chars and forms a self­-extinguishing layer that keeps the fire from spreading. Wool has been used in the gear of firefighters and airplanes for its resiliency. You will never have to worry about your wool rug causing a fire in your home.

A big question always asked is whether polypropylene braided rugs are safe for babies. Petroleum is the base material; synthetic rugs tend to burn and melt. Fixtures and appliances prone to overheating (lamps, scented wax burners, etc.), smoking cigarettes, and other fire hazards are not safe to place around a synthetic rug. If the rug were to heat up and melt, it might damage the hardwood or carpet underneath, especially if the rug is made from polypropylene, which is the most common material for wall-to-wall home carpeting.

If a fire starts, the only way to put out a synthetic rug fire is with a home fire extinguisher or with a call to the fire company. The 100% polypropylene rug above heated up and ruined these beautiful solid oak hardwood floors. If you think back to the days of playing with Barbie and Ken, there was a reason your mom never let you curl or straighten your beloved dolls’ hair!

Environmental Impacts


Depending on the breed, sheep are sheared one or two times a year, making wool a renewable resource. Wool is natural, and it is safe for the environment and sheep. Wool is hypo-allergenic, and every year the wool grows back. The sheep are not harmed in the process, unlike leather and sheepskin rugs. It’s as simple as that! Sheep are NOT hurt in the process. In fact, they like being sheared! They love the fresh feeling of a haircut or a nice shave. Just like us!


Synthetic rugs release toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air when the materials are being produced in the factory and inside of your home as well. During manufacturing, the same materials that are used on the synthetic area rug to prevent staining and moth holes, such as naphthalene, are known to cause dyspnea, epistaxis, and conjunctival irritation. These chemicals, including Styrene and 4-phynocyclohexane, are found in PVC piping and are the culprit for the “new carpet smell.”

If you decide to go with an untreated synthetic rug, be aware that because synthetic fibers do not “breath,” they are prone to mold, mildew, fire, and moth holes. The glue used to bond the synthetic pile with the plastic backing may contain latex. If you have anyone in your home with allergies or sensitivities, the potential for mold and mildew, as well as the latex component, is something for you to consider.

Synthetic Rugs Contain VOCs. Should I be Concerned?

It depends. VOCs can be especially harmful to young children, pregnant women, and the elderly because their immune systems are vulnerable. The fact that VOCs are in synthetic rugs is something for you and your family to think about.

Which is best for Your Home Floor?

It is ultimately up to you! The debate between wool rugs and polypropylene rugs truly depends on one’s individual needs, concerns, and tastes. No matter your preference, feel free to reach out to us and ask us anything you may be wondering about wool rugs and polypropylene rugs. We will definitely provide you with the best services. You can get your favorite rugs from RugKnots online carpet store. Also, contact us if you have any queries.

Are Wool Rugs Better Than Polypropylene?

Both rug materials have their advantages and disadvantages. On one side, polypropylene rugs are extremely durable and cost-effective. On the other hand, wool rugs are long-lasting. It depends on what area you will place your rug. For example, a polypropylene rug can work outdoors, not a wool rug. So it really depends upon the foot traffic and area you’re going to place a certain rug at!

For any inquiries regarding Polypropylene vs. Wool Rugs, please feel free to contact us at info@rugknots. We are happy to answer your queries. You can also check our website for more information about rugs!

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Hello! I’m looking for the highest sound-absorption material for a rug, specifically for high frequency (violin/flute). Is wool still your recommendation? Thanks!

Rachel C

Tip 7 says “ If it’s a high-traffic area, then don’t worry about having a wool rug because it won’t last long when there is so much foot traffic going back and forth over it. You’ll be wasting your time and investment on a rug that will need to be replaced soon.”

Under Age of Wool Rugs: “Wool has a naturally crimped texture and spiral shape that makes it ideal for high traffic areas.”


“Ideal for high traffic areas” under Age


My polyester rugs are 20 years old Nd show no wear, or colour change, I purchased them from spotlight in Penrith, NSW.

Deborah Lippitt

I have 2 polypropylene rugs that are over 20 years old . They have been in high traffic areas and they still look great! I take them outside and hose them off and use a little dawn if there are stubborn spots. Sure I love vintage orientals and buy they when I can but these have proved excellent buys!


I have a question. Can you put your rug on luxury vinyl flooring without discoloring the vinyl??

Judi Kitzmiller

Hello, I purchased a area rug made with polypropylene which is a wonderful rug. Have you ever known anyone complaining about itching after they brought it into their home. Does polypropylene have any types of gases in the fiber? Thank you.


[thinking of comment by Marlene on July 25, 2018]
In dealing with my own allergies, I’ve had to avoid alkaline cleaners (bleach, borax, ect) and detergents. These break the surface tension of water and skin. So I could see how someone might be allergic to a specific chemical used in the wool scouring process. These detergents are very difficult to remove from fabrics, I’ve had to just throw some out because I couldn’t remove the residual fragrance let along the detergent. So the reader of such an article like this might benefit greatly with information about the scouring process (if any) of the wool used in these rugs.

Also of note a person might like to consider, is the breed of sheep used for this wool; and if it has been tested to see how much VOC absorbing effect its wool has compared to other sheep.

Rugknots Area Rugs

@Shelley deJong. Thanks for your question. Our wool is sourced from New Zealand and strict procedures are followed to ensure the ethical treatment of the sheep. I’ve seen those videos of how sheep are treated at some wool farms and it’s disgusting. New Zealand wool farms are certified by RWS (Responsible Wool Standard). They’re part of an international group ensuring to consumers of the highest possible standards in animal husbandry. And you bring up a very important point. Thank you for that as yes, we will make this information available on our site in the near future.

Shelley deJong

Thank you for your information pages and education on the rugs fibers and process. I am an interior designer and have a question regarding your wool rugs. Your website states that sheep are NOT hurt in the shearing process. How are you sure of this? I have seen many harsh and flat out cruel and abusive treatment by wool farm workers. Sheep being kicked, thrown, beat, ears cut off, eyes gouged out, skin cut up, necks broken and none were helped or treated. Where do you source your wool and how do you know you are dealing with ethical farms? This is information that you should include on your website as well. Thank you

Rugknots Oriental Rugs

@Marlene, we’re very sorry to hear about your endoscopy results. Generally, wool is hypoallergenic. There are no additives or chemicals in the rug making process. As far as our rugs go, we even use vegetable dyes for the colors but I’m unable to speak about other companies. I have heard of a small percentage of people having skin reactions to the lanolin found in wool but I haven’t heard of thrush in the esophagus. I apologize I don’t have more information for you but more than likely, this wasn’t caused by wool. Again, I’m sorry to hear and hope you feel better soon.


3weeks after a return of a wool rug,due to sore throat and lungs,I had an endoscopy done and the findings were devastating. Thrush overgrown in my esophagus. Could this have been gotten from allergy to wool rug?