Nylon is no longer the leader in residential carpet fibers. However, if you have any high traffic paths at all, AND the weight of the carpet you are buying is 32 ounces or less, then you still need to buy a nylon carpet or the new triexta, and forget about PET or Olefin. There are many makers of fiber, but the leaders are Invista (formerly DuPont), Mohawk (formerly Solutia Wear Dated), BASF, and Shaw (formerly Allied Chemical). They all profess their nylon to be best. Invista and Mohawk(formerly Monsanto) have the most well known brands of nylon with the Stainmaster and Wear Dated types respectively.
Stainmaster nylon and Wear Dated nylon are simply triloble (cross grain magnified picture looks like a clover leaf) fibers with a fluorocarbon added to resist staining. Invista and Solutia have done a super job of marketing to convince you that theirs’ is best. Also, their yarn is a type 6.6 nylon and is marketed as being “better” than type 6 nylon. However, recent studies by leading chemical engineers suggest that the differences between the two types have little to do with a carpet’s overall performance, and further suggest that carpet construction is more important than fiber. The reason the consumer has to pay about $1.00/sq.yd. more for Stainmaster or Wear Dated than unbranded nylon fiber is that Invista and Mohawk spend millions of advertising dollars to convince you their fiber is better. This cost is passed on to the mill, and then to the dealer, and then to you. Invista did help the consumer by breaking their fiber quality into groups. The lowest quality Stainmaster is now Extra Body II; then Tactesse Stainmaster (provides a soft feel) , Luxerell Stainmaster (softer yet) and their new “PetProtect Stainmaster nylon. The new PetProtect Stainmaster is a soft nylon fiber that has been solution dyed. This aids in fade resistance and cleanability. If you really want the ultimate in SOIL hiding from a nylon look for Invista’s Antron nylon. This fiber is only available in some residential styles. Your light-weight sparse carpet will not carry the Extra Body II label, heck it may not even carry the Stainmaster Label at all. Don’t be confused. You can purchase a super tightly twisted, medium dense carpet that is multicolored to help hide traffic and soil, and you will love the way it looks new for years.
In order to compete with some other fibers, the producers of nylon have introduced even softer versions of their fiber. Some of these are so soft that they may require special vacuums to get clean. Ask your dealer about these.