nylon vs polyester carpet decision

Carpet Decisions: Nylon or Polyester?

Carpet Decisions: Nylon or Polyester? 1024 576 Jennifer Dean

How many decisions do you take when it comes to choosing a carpet for your home?

Perhaps, there is no fixed number here, as the choices you make tend to change with the changing requirements. 

After all, it is the one on which all your beloved ones will walk or stroll for several years. 

Indeed, there are many carpet options for you to consider to end up buying the most appropriate carpet. For choosing the best carpet, one of the decisions for you to make is the right material or fiber.

How important is it to choose the right material? Well, it is crucial, as the material is responsible for the carpet’s foundation. It directly influences the carpet’s performance and your satisfaction level.

These days, most carpets are made up of synthetic materials. Regardless of whether buying for home or office, the probability of you preferring a synthetic material over a natural one is more. 

If you select a synthetic fiber by popularity, affordability, and/or copious availability, you are most likely to choose either polyester or nylon. Both these fibers are in high demand these days. 

People often consider nylon as the better option. While nylon is usually considered as the top synthetic fiber, a few reasons do exist to select polyester instead.

Thus, it is not wise to assume one of them to be better than the other. This is because each of them has its pros and cons. You should consider all of them for buying the carpet of apt material.

While this article cannot decide for you, it aims to guide you by revealing some significant differences between the two materials. This will help you make an informed decision.

Nylon and Polyester: Common Characteristics

Before you find the differences, it is worth knowing the similarities.

After all, both nylon and polyester are synthetic fibers. Nylon is a synthetic polymer or a plastic-like fiber that you can spin to make it look like silk in terms of texture and shine. It is also possible to spin it in coarser threads to make wefts.

On the other hand, polyester is a set of synthetic fibers.

It is a petroleum product that is most widely used as Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). It is spun into thin threads to make any number of textile items such as carpets. Even nylon is a petroleum-based synthetic fiber.

Both these fibers are easy to clean and maintain, are recyclable, and are available cool colors and styles. However, while nylon was introduced as a silk substitute, polyester was a substitute for wool. 

Nylon versus Polyester: Which One Lasts for More Time and Which One Holds Better?

nylon carpet

Nylon carpet

How long a carpet will last is something that you will look on priority to measure the performance of the carpet. Although it is not the only factor to help you determine this, it is perhaps the top-ranking factor that most buyers examine. 

Obviously, no one will like a carpet that lasts just a few months. While there are a couple of factors to determine how durable a mat is, the material type is perhaps the most important one. 

Even if aesthetics matters the most for some buyers, they will inevitably not compromise the material, as it contributes significantly to longevity. 

You may expect a carpet to last for three decades, as there are such carpets available. However, the fact is that most will last for a decade. When you compare nylon vs polyester in terms of durability, experts recommend nylon. 

Why so?

This is because nylon is the toughest man-made fiber. The credit for this goes to its resiliency. It regains its volume swiftly as a response to compression. Even if the traffic passing by is high, a nylon carpet of good quality will not show traces of aging or wear.

On the contrary, polyester is not likely to provide you with the longevity or resilience similar to that of nylon. In reality, keeping the quality and traffic the same, polyester will degrade sooner than nylon. If exposed to high heat, polyester is likely to melt. However, both will finally wear.

What else you need to know that nylon and polyester carpets are available in different quality grades. In simple words, an upscale polyester carpet will always last longer than a lower-end nylon one. So, while comparing carpets, ensure that quality levels are identical.

Standard Winner: Nylon!

Nylon versus Polyester: Which One Is More Prone to Stains and More Preferable for Homes with Kids and Pets?

Nylon vs Polyester for Dog Baby

How well a carpet material holds up is just one aspect of durability. An equally important aspect of it is the ability to resist stains. 

Kids and pets are over the place! Thus, a carpet must be resistance to stains. Well, the good news is that there is no need to bother about spilled milk on nylon or polyester carpet. 

This is because both fibers are forgiving when it is a matter of handling stains. This does not mean that these carpets will not stain. What it actually means that you can easily and quickly clean the spills or stains.

Moreover, a few nylon carpets are capable of resisting the stains more effectively than other nylon equivalents. In the case of polyester, protection from stains is a natural characteristic of the fiber. 

On the contrary, nylon needs proper treatment. This is why polyester takes over nylon in terms of stain resistance. The credit goes to the hydrophobic property of polyester due to which it repels liquid. 

Naturally, a polyester carpet will not allow spilled things to penetrate inside it, even if it is coffee or juice. In contrast, nylon is a porous fiber due to which it will allow liquids to penetrate inside to leave stains.

If you are a nylon fan, the good news is that modern nylon or polyester carpets for residences usually come with stain protection. They have stain treatment to prevent spills from converting into stains. 

Although a stain-treated nylon material will not resist stains as a stain-treated polyester, it will still resist much more than it would without being treated. 

You may even choose a solution-dyed nylon fiber. Solution dyeing ensures a higher resistance to fade and stains, regardless of the synthetic fiber you select.

Standard Winner: Polyester!

Anti-stain Treated Winner: Any!

Nylon versus Polyester: Which One Is More Environment-friendly?

polyester carpet

Polyester carpet

PET polyester is a better option if you wish to curtail resource consumption. This is because it is usually made using recycled plastics. 

On the other hand, nylon originally is not an environment-friendly fiber.

These days it has become less harmful to the environment, all thanks to the advancements in manufacturing and reuse processes.

A nylon carpet will reside for centuries in a landfill. However, some of it can help in making new carpets after recycling, thus, decreasing environmental waste. 

Standard Winner: Polyester!

Nylon versus Polyester: Which One Is Softer?

Softness is a critical factor to consider for carpets. After all, it is the main reason why people use rugs on a hard surface. The advancement in fiber making technology has hardly left any difference between these fibers in terms of softness. 

Traditionally, nylon is less soft than polyester. However, modern nylons are made using thin fibers due to which they are as soft as silk. On the other hand, polyester is naturally soft.

Standard Winner: Polyester!

Nylon versus Polyester: Which One Is Easier to Care?

carpet vacuum cleaner

The good news here is that both fibers are resistant to mildew, as well as are easy to wash. You can wash them in a washing machine and dry them using the low heat option. It is also fine to use a warm iron on any of them.

When it comes to dry cleaning, polyester is friendly and supportive, provided you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. On the contrary, nylon is not meant for dry cleaning as the solvents are likely to melt the material.

Standard Winner: Both! Polyester for dry cleaning

Recommendation for Carpet Cleaning Machine for Nylon and Polyester Carpets

Bissell Big Green Full Shot

Bissell Big Green. Compact and Lightweight

No matter which carpet fibers you eventually choose, you’ll be able to clean them with a Bissell Big Green.

While you can generally use any carpet cleaner or vacuum to clean nylon or polyester fiber carpets, we recommend using quality machines to maximize the resiliency of whatever carpet you buy.

Frequent cleaning and vacuuming is also the best way to remove spills before they turn into stains and to remove residue before it leads to soiling.

For a dedicated carpet cleaner that you’ll use for deep cleaning, we recommend the Bissell 86T3 Big Green. It compares favorably to most industrial cleaners under $1,000 and is a steal for its price.


Nylon versus Polyester: Which One Is More Affordable?

Cost is always a critical factor when it comes to buying anything from the market. It helps in selecting an affordable option. Generally, nylon is costlier, as it is more complex to produce it. Polyester is cheaper than nylon to manufacture due to which it is more affordable.

Here too, you need to compare the qualities. A lower-quality polyester carpet may not be affordable in the long run than a higher-quality nylon carpet. In general, nylons are expensive if you compare similar qualities of nylon and polyester carpets.


Nylon and polyester both fibers have their pros and cons. If nylon is known for its resilience, polyester is ideal at stain resistance. So, it is wise to map them with your requirements and choose the one that fulfills maximum requirements. 

Overall, if you need a carpet that shall last for years to come despite heavy traffic and repel stain, a carpet made up of solution-dyed nylon is ideal. However, if on a tight budget, a polyester carpet is better. 


If you buy something on this page, we may get a small share of sale at no additional cost to you. We only recommend products that we have used ourselves and feel are really useful, not because of the limited compensation from the links through our posts.

    Jennifer Dean

    Jennifer Dean is an entrepreneur, speaker, coach, author and mother of two beautiful kids. You can visit her at www.CarpetGurus.com

    All stories by: Jennifer Dean

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