We sell thousands of metres of polypropylene carpet from our shops in Nottingham every week. Superb manufacturers like Victoria Carpets, Cormar, Associated Weavers, and Abingdon. Polypropylene has a position amongst the other available yarns used for carpets but often I find it over-marketed as a product, sold on the strength of its stain-resistant qualities.

Polypropylene is chemically inert and so cannot be dyed. The colour has to be mixed when it is in its liquid form and locked in when extruded into yarn. The marketing men come up with fantastic titles such as “Stain Free” Stain Away” and “Easy Care” - Yes it can be bleach cleaned, but nothing clever seeing as the colour is on the inside of the fibre. What they don’t mention is anything about its long-term appearance retention.

The thing that annoys most customers is the flattening of the pile, polypropylene flattens easily and to keep it looking good it needs regular vacuuming. The longer Saxony piles need grooming daily, even the short twist piles will flatten if not looked after. When talking to customers I never talk about the claims a product may have on the label, I only talk from my own experience of how carpets behave and give a true reason to justify the use of the different fibres available, to answer the customer’s individual needs. This comes down to costs, budget, the length of time the customer expects to stay in the same home, what sort of performance they want from the carpet, relative to the number of people in the home, and how they live their lives.

If we are honest about the product a customer can make a better judgment and buy the right carpet to suit their needs without disappointment. Longer more luxurious piles are very fashionable right now, to achieve this look using wool would cost three times the price of polypropylene, and this is where I feel polypropylene comes into its own, you can get the look for less but do not expect the long term appearance retention of wool.