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April 12, 2022
Stain-resistant carpet is marketed by some of the best carpet brands as the solution for pets and messy households. But how well does it actually hold up?
We’re here to answer that very question! In this guide, you’ll find all there is to know about the best stain-resistant carpet products. We’ll cover:
What stain-resistant carpet is (and how it’s made)
The types of carpet offer the best stain resistance
Where you can install stain-resistant carpets
A few of the best stain-resistant carpet brands
And finally, we’ll answer any lingering questions before wrapping up. Let’s begin!
Table of Contents
First, Is There Actually Such a Thing as Stain-Resistant Carpet?
Sketchy merchants have been selling snake oils, magic pills, shake weights, and so on for generations; promising all sorts of amazing results. So, we’ll forgive a little bit of healthy skepticism when it comes to stain-resistant carpet!
The good news is that stain-resistant carpet does actually exist, and it does actually work. But note that we said “stain-resistant” and not “stain-proof.” That’s going to be important!
Just Remember: Stain-Resistant Carpet Isn’t Invincible
Stain-resistant carpet easily repels most liquids and other messes that might ruin traditional carpet. But there’s an asterisk.
Example: if your best furry pal mistakes your straight-from-the-manufacturer, pristine-white stain-resistant carpet for a fire hydrant—and you fail to clean it up within the manufacturer’s recommended time frame—there’s a semi-decent chance your new carpet isn’t going to look so new anymore.
The point being, stain-resistant carpet is only resistant to stains. It’s not invincible.
Other Floors May Be More Resistant to Stains
Like many types of flooring, stain-resistant carpet has pros and cons. Fortunately, the best stain-resistant carpet works as advertised.
As long as you follow the instructions supplied by the manufacturer, you’ll enjoy blemish-free carpet for years to come.
That said, fibrous or porous materials (aka any type of carpet) will be more vulnerable to stains than solid surfaces. Compare carpet vs. laminate or carpet against the best vinyl flooring. It’s harder for spills to penetrate the protective layer of a hard surface floor because you can generally remove the offending liquid with ease.
On the other hand, even stain-resistant carpet can still hold some amount of moisture even after immediate blotting. So over time, it’s more likely to show stains compared to hard surface floors. The same applies to dirt and other small particles as the fibers can trap minuscule amounts of dirt through vacuuming.
If it wasn’t obvious already, this is why hard-surface floors are better for tough applications like mudroom flooring.
How Does Stain-Resistant Carpet Work?
There are a couple of ways to make carpet stain-resistant—let’s look at them now.
There Are 2 Types of Stain-Resistant Carpet Technology
A carpet’s stain resistance comes down to 2 factors: fibers and coatings. The best stain-resistant carpet typically uses a combination of both.
You might assume that making carpet stain-resistant is as easy as using stain-proof materials (they do exist). But that would create a huge problem.
You want your carpet to look nice, right? Well, a big part of that is coloring. If you use truly stain-proof materials to make carpet, you won’t be able to dye it, which means you would be stuck with the fiber’s natural hue.
So, the best carpet fibers need to be dyeable, but also resistant to everyday stains. It’s a tricky area to operate in!
Stain-Resistant Carpet Treatments or Coatings
Most modern carpets are given some sort of coating after they’ve been dyed to A) preserve the carpet’s color, and B) prevent future stains. The exact treatment tends to be specific to each manufacturer, but top carpet brands use chemicals that are effective and safe.
Natural Stain-Resistant Options vs. Stain-Resistant Coatings
With most carpet manufacturers, you’ll find that most products are made with stain-resistant fibers and use stain-resistant coatings for further protection.
That said, the quality of that protection varies wildly by brand and product.
What Types of Carpet Fiber Have the Best Stain Resistance?
All the most popular types of carpet offer some amount of protection from stains; here’s how they break down.
Nylon Carpet’s Stain Resistance
Nylon isn’t necessarily stain-resistant by itself, but it readily accepts and keeps treatments that make it stain-resistant. In fact, once treated, nylon carpets are among the best stain-resistant carpets—especially carpets that use 6,6 nylon (rather than 6,0 nylon). This means that many of the top carpet companies use nylon in their stain-proof carpet products.
Nylon also happens to make the best carpet for stairs and other high-traffic areas because of its extreme resilience and versatility.
Polyester Carpet’s Stain Resistance
Polyester is in a similar boat as nylon, but its natural stain resistance is arguably a smidge better. Once treated with a stain-resistant coating, polyester’s ability to repel liquids is impressive.
Polyester carpet is arguably one of the best value options, too.
Triexta Carpet Stain Resistance
Triexta is normally called SmartStrand in the carpet world. It’s a relatively new fabric introduced by DuPont that has many of the same qualities as polyester, except it’s partially sourced from corn byproducts.
It’s another top choice for making stain-resistant carpets. However, we should note that most triexta carpets have a very high fiber density, which can make them harder to clean than some other types of carpet.
Polypropylene/Olefin Carpet Stain Resistance
Pure polypropylene (or olefin) carpets are widely regarded as budget products because they have a sort of waxy feel that’s not especially comfortable (at least compared to other carpet fibers).
However, that waxiness makes polypropylene carpets highly resistant to stains. So, you could say that these products actually make for some of the best stain-resistant carpets, but at the expense of comfort.
Wool carpet doesn’t perform as well as the high-end synthetic options above, but it does possess natural oils that repel dirt and other oil-based spills.
If you check out the pros and cons of wool carpet, you’ll find that wool is unmatched in its softness and comfort. However, wool is also very absorbent—so if you’re not quick to clean up a spill, it will stain.
What Is the Most Stain-Resistant Carpet?
Solely in terms of stain resistance, top-quality nylon, triexta, polyester, or polypropylene carpets are probably the best.
Where Should You Use Stain-Resistant Carpet?
Stain-resistant carpet is a great choice for living rooms, hallways, and bedrooms; especially if you have pets or kids that aren’t the best at containing their fluids.
We always say the best flooring is the type that suits your needs. If you want something comfy with high durability and resistance to everyday spills and splashes, stain-resistant carpet is a great choice.
The Best Stain-Resistant Carpet Brands
Many carpet brands claim to make the best stain-resistant carpet. Here are a few of the most popular ones.
Proximity Mills Carpet
Proximity Mills is one of a handful of brands that sells type 6,6 nylon carpet, the best all-around carpet fiber in terms of performance.
Type 6,6 nylon is ridiculously durable and its stain resistance is nearly off the chart. This alone makes Proximity Mills one of the best choices for stain-resistant carpet. Another key perk: Proximity Mills sells their high-performance flooring for surprisingly reasonable prices.
Along with their ultra-durable 6,6 nylon carpet products, Proximity Mills also offers machine washable carpet tiles. They call it luxury carpet tile (LCT)—and unlike most peel and stick carpet tile, Proximity Mills LCT even has built in carpet padding. If you’re a DIY-er (or just someone who thinks machine washable carpet sounds too good to be true), we recommend checking them out.
Doma is an eccentric brand (in the best way possible) that brings fashion and style to the flooring industry. All their carpets are made of wool or wool blends, which are arguably the best carpets for bedrooms because of their softness.
In our Doma flooring reviews, we note that their carpets are surprisingly affordable for being all or mostly wool, and the style options are virtually unparalleled in their uniqueness and appeal.
As for stain resistance, Doma products perform reasonably well in this regard. Remember, wool is naturally stain-resistant to a point! However, the carpets are still made of wool—so we’d give this brand the nod for “most stain-resistant natural fiber option”.
Like Lees carpet, Tigressa carpet is actually made by another flooring titan, Shaw Floors. It’s a solid brand that enjoys mostly good reviews and has products for every budget.
All Tigressa products are made of nylon, but mostly the less-durable type 6,0 version.
Resista is typically marketed as stain-resistant carpet. The reviews we could find generally seem to agree; however, Resista has a fairly limited catalog compared to the brands we’ve mentioned thus far.
LifeProof carpet is a Home Depot exclusive. If you’ve read our LifeProof vinyl flooring review, you’ll have an idea of what to expect here.
LifeProof carpet is generally well-reviewed, but for the same price, you can find much better products from Mohawk or Proximity Mills.
TrafficMaster is one of Home Depot’s budget flooring brands. As such, don’t expect top-notch stain-resistant carpet here. TrafficMaster flooring generally has okay reviews, but budget brands like Newton flooring offer more bang for your buck.
Stainmaster used to be one of the best carpet brands around; they actually pioneered stain-resistant carpet. However, the company was bought out by Lowes a few years ago and switched gears to budget products.
Why Should You Choose Stain-Resistant Carpet Over Normal Carpet?
Stain-resistant carpet is a must if you have kids and/or pets. But even if you don’t, it’s still a wise investment as accidents are ‘ever on the horizon.
Nevertheless, if you need a little more reason, we’ve gathered a few more points!
Obviously, These Carpets Have the Benefit of Stain Resistance…
This should probably go without saying, but we like to be exceptionally thorough! Stain-resistant carpet is, well, stain-resistant.
If you spill a glass of wine on a traditional carpet, it’s pretty much game over.
At worst, if you spill a glass of wine on stain-resistant carpet, you’ll at least have a fighting chance to restore it. More likely, you’ll be able to save your carpet so long as you clean it promptly.
…So Even Tough Spills Shouldn’t Be a Problem
The best stain-resistant carpet should be able to survive all but the worst offenders when it comes to stains. This applies to nearly all types of food and drink, as well as pet accidents (so long as you’re quick!).
Of course, even top-tier stain-resistant carpet probably won’t be able to survive extreme spills like motor oil or lava. But neither of these are daily occurrences in most homes (we hope, at least!).
Stain-Resistant Carpet Is Durable
Stain-resistant carpet also tends to be the most durable carpet.
Side note: stain-resistant carpet might as well be paper flooring without the best carpet pad, though, so make sure to invest in one.
Stain-Resistant Carpet Is Low-Maintenance (It’s Easy to Keep Clean)
The best thing about most stain-resistant carpet is that it’s very easy to keep clean. As long as you’re regularly vacuuming it and following the manufacturer’s recommendations on professional cleanings, most stain-resistant carpet will look nice and last for decades.
Many Stylish Designs Are Available
Making a carpet stain-resistant doesn’t really affect its style options. So, you can achieve whatever flooring ideas your heart desires.
Some Types of Stain-Resistant Carpet Are Still Relatively Environmentally Friendly
Synthetic fiber carpets aren’t exactly eco-friendly as they’re usually made from oil. But, wool carpets are naturally sourced, so they’re considered eco-friendly flooring.
Wool is also a great low-VOC carpet choice, which is great because even sustainable wood flooring (a very green choice) tends to contain VOCs. If this means nothing to you, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are harmful chemicals commonly found in adhesives, hardwood, and plastics. Since wool is made of none of these, it doesn’t contain high concentrations of VOCs.
For context, PVC flooring is made of plastic and consequently contains a lot of VOCs (though, there are low-VOC vinyl flooring options nowadays, too).
The Best Stain-Resistant Carpet: FAQs
Before we finish up, let’s answer a few common questions about stain-resistant carpet.
Is Cleaning Stain-Resistant Carpet Different From Cleaning Traditional Carpet?
Only in the sense that it’s generally easier to clean. As far as the method, most stain-resistant carpet needs to be vacuumed regularly and professionally cleaned 1–2 times a year, or less.
Do You Need to Clean the Best Stain-Resistant Carpet as Often?
Stain-resistant carpet still needs to be cleaned regularly, but most products are probably a little more forgiving than traditional carpets.
Can You Remove Stains From Stain-Resistant Carpet?
It really depends on the nature of the stain. Pet accidents tend to be the most common offenders, and generally, only professional carpet cleaners can remove them (unless you clean your carpet quickly). Even then, most carpet cleaners won’t guarantee that they can get rid of pet stains.
Extreme stains like motor oil or paint may not be removable.
Is All Carpet Stain-Resistant?
No. Many ordinary carpets are very easy to stain.
What Is the Best Carpet for Pets?
The best carpet for pets is obviously stain-resistant. Even the most well-trained pets are bound to have an accident every now and then.
Perhaps outside of some sort of ultra top-secret government laboratory (muahahaha), stain-proof carpet simply doesn’t exist.
Can You Make Carpet Stain-Resistant?
Carpet manufacturers typically make a carpet stain-resistant during the production process. Some companies claim their products can make carpets stain-resistant after the fact, but we’re hesitant to recommend using them as it could violate your floor’s warranty (and may not work).
What Kind of Carpet Hides Stains Best?
Darker or more vibrant colors tend to hide stains the best. Of course, only the best stain-resistant carpet can actually repel stains.
What Is the Most Durable, Stain-Resistant Carpet for the Money?
Proximity Mills type 6,6 nylon carpet offers incredible performance for the price. However, if you want a good budget option, Newton is hands-down one of the best value flooring brands around.
Is Home Depot Stain-Resistant Carpet Good?
Stain-resistant carpets from Home Depot like LifeProof and TrafficMaster are okay, not great. You can definitely find better products for the money.
How Do You Install Stain-Resistant Carpet?
Installing a stain-resistant carpet is generally no different than installing any other type of carpet. The one exception is that stain-resistant carpet may come with a more robust carpet pad, but installations shouldn’t be different in any meaningful way.
If you’re unsure if the best stain-resistant carpet is really worth it, though; here’s something to think about: there’s not a significant price difference between stain-resistant carpet and traditional carpet. Stain-resistant carpet has become so mainstream because of the prevalence of synthetic carpet that it’s not really necessary to pay a premium for stain resistance anymore.
Plus, there’s a stain-resistant carpet product for every budget. If you want the best of the best, go with a type 6,6 nylon carpet. Or if you want to shoot for value, a polyester option will offer similar stain resistance at a better rate per square foot.
The Best Stain-Resistant Carpets Are Found at Local Flooring Stores
One final point, the best stain-resistant carpet products are nearly always found at local, top-rated flooring stores. These stores hire actual flooring experts and carry the widest variety of flooring products. Local stores will help you find the best products and deals whereas big box stores are really just trying to push a product.
And there you have it! If you’re still not sure that stain-resistant carpet is the right floor for you, why not check out the articles below for more ideas!
Christian is a freelance everything-writer, editor, & SEO guy. When he’s not writing about flooring and remodeling, he’s either writing news for the California American Legion or writing fresh content for his camping & EDC blog (or, you know, actually camping).
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