Wool Carpets or Polypropylene Carpets: Which Is Best For You?


We are often asked this question by customers of our carpet cleaning company in Luton, and the answer is not necessarily a straightforward one. But we've attempted to answer this question in this article, read on to find out more.

Carpets can be used in every room of your home, regardless of whether you prefer a modest piece to bring elegance to your living room or den, or you need something more durable to handle tough spills like vomit or ink spills made by your children or pets, or to reduce particles of dirt resulting from heavy foot traffic accumulating in your foyer or kitchen. As long as you are using the right material, carpets can be placed anywhere in your home.

While both, wool carpets and polypropylene carpets, can be used in any part of your home, their respective characteristics and feature can make one type more suitable than the other in certain areas. High foot traffic areas will require a carpet capable of absorbing wear. To get the most out of your carpet it is important that you match your selection to the requirements to the environment in which the carpets will be used.

There are many options available in terms of the material used. The most popular carpets are those made from wool or polypropylene. These two materials produce carpets with very different features and characteristics. They also result in carpets with very different price points.

What is a Polypropylene Carpet?

Polypropylene (or Olefin) is a thermoplastic and is a 100% synthetic fibre that is derived from petroleum feedstocks. The material is rugged and highly resistant to chemicals and is used in a wider range of products, including carpets. As the fibre is coloured during the manufacturing process itself, polypropylene carpets are resistant to stains and colour fading. Being non-organic, polypropylene fibres are also resistant to bacteria and micro-organisms as the material does not provide a conducive environment for them.

What is a Wool Carpet?

Wool is a 100% natural fibre usually from sheep but can also be from llamas, alpacas, goats, camels and angora rabbits for high end and specialty products. Wool is highly durable material from a renewable and natural source and is highly sort after for its luxurious feel and looks.

10    Factors To Consider

1. Texture

Wool carpets have a natural texture with many different grades from fine to rugged, whilst polypropylene carpets are smoother and more consistent in terms of texture. When it comes to the feel of the material, polypropylene tend to be obviously artificial while wool is much gentler and softer. According on the type of wool selected, it can be extremely thick or extremely thin, but synthetic materials are often uniform in thickness.

2. Fire Safety

Wool is naturally resistant to fire and is difficult to set alight and will also burn slowly. Being made of a petroleum based thermoplastic, polypropylene carpets will melt at high temperatures and lower grade carpets can be easily combustible.

3. Colours

The colour of Polypropylene carpets is generally determined by the dyeing process during the manufacture of the fibres and the range of available colours is limited.   In contrast, wool is dyed just before the weaving process and as a result there is a greater variety of colours. Moreover, wool carpets mix well with various types of furniture, and it is simpler to combine various colours when purchasing wool carpets rather than a synthetic carpet.

4. Price

When it comes to purchasing carpets, wool is more costly expensive than artificial fibres, but it tends to last longer. So, if you are looking for something that will last, wool is the way to go. Even though a wool carpet may cost more, it is generally well worth the investment since it will last quite a while and should not need to be replaced as often. Polypropylene carpets are less expensive, and they will do the job just as well if you do not want to splurge on your floor covering. If you are of a mind to change your carpets every few years, then polypropylene carpets are probably the way to go. When making that choice, be sure to calculate the cost of the two alternatives over their expected lifetimes.

5. Cleaning and Maintenance

If you have children or dogs, you should be aware that a wool carpet is not as easy to clean a polypropylene one, particularly when using water based cleaning options. If this is a concern for you, consider purchasing a synthetic carpet. Before purchasing anything, look for solutions that are simple to clean. In the case of a wool carpet, it is probably a good idea to have a professional clean every other year.

6. Consider Location and Usage

Wool is an inherently robust and resilient fibre, even when used in high traffic areas. Because wool is durable, it has excellent texture retention and tends to maintain its original look even in high-traffic environments. As a result, wool carpets are usually very durable, and they have been shown to survive for decades when cared for properly. Polypropylene carpets on the other hand tend to have low resiliency, particularly cheaper options. Polypropylene fibres get tangled and become crushed when placed in high traffic areas and unlike wool, they do not bounce back up.

7. Your Climate

Carpets made of polypropylene are not heat resistant due to the low melting point of the substance used in their manufacture. If the piece has not been chemically treated, direct sunshine is a natural enemy. It is advisable not to use them in areas that experience extended periods of sun exposure, especially near glass. Wool on the other hand is commonly employed as an insulator and is fire resistant, and when it comes to carpeting, it does an excellent job of insulating your flooring. During winter, it will make a room warmer, while in the summer, it will prevent heat from coming through the flooring.

8. Usage

Before shopping for a carpet, be sure that your selection is robust enough to meet your requirements of its usage to prevent it from wearing out or tearing too soon. Carpets made entirely of wool will be more costly but will tend to last and look good for longer periods of time. However, in low traffic areas, polypropylene carpets will be equally functional as wool and will present you with a more economical option.

9. Suitability For Your Family and Your Home

Just touching the wool or polypropylene carpet in person is the easiest approach to decide on your Carpeting. When you buy one of these carpets, ensure it feels satisfactory for you and your home. Choose the carpet that seems suitable to you if all other criteria are equal. The carpet you select will be enjoyed by you and your family.

10. Sustainability and the Environment

Wool is 100% from a sustainable and renewable source. In addition, it is environmentally friendly as it is not chemical based and  is not treated with chemicals. Polypropylene fibres are synthetic and are chemically produced as a thermoplastic from petroleum feedstocks. Wool will also biodegrade over a period of time whereas thermoplastics tend not to be.

Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Pros
    • Better colors
    • Good insulating properties and can assist in minimizing sound pollution
    • Natural texture
    • Fire resistant
    • Doesn’t display dirt as easily
    • Non allergenic
    • Long life is looked after carefully
    • Environmentally friendly
    • Can resist both hot and cold climates

  • Cons
    • Can’t be cleaned easily especially with water-based cleaning options
    • Can retain moisture and attract unwanted bugs
    • Much more expensive
    • Some shedding may be experienced
    • Absorbs moisture in humid conditions

Polypropylene Carpets

  • Pros
    • Can withstand cold climates
    • UV and water resistant in most cases
    • Tend to be colour fast
    • Can be easily cleaned
    • Low cost
    • Resistant to mildew and mould
    • Extremely durable

  • Cons
    • Colour is blander than other options
    • Harder texture
    • Gets dirty quite easily
    • Not suitable for high traffic areas
    • Uneven wear over time, particularly if there is uneven traffic flow over various arears
    • Relatively short useful life
    • Petroleum based
    • Cannot survive hot climates

Which is Best?

It is impossible to say conclusively which type of carpet is the best as this is a case of comparing apples with oranges. What you need to do is work out what your requirements are from the carpet that you will purchase and which option best meets your budget. These factors will decide whether a wool carpet or a polypropylene carpet will best meet your needs.  The argument over wool carpets and polypropylene carpets is really a matter of personal preferences and requirements. 

About the author 

Saul Jones

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