Best Carpets That Hide Stains and Footprints

Updated: April 12th, 2024

If you’re a parent shopping for new flooring, you’ve probably come up against the fundamental catch-22 of choosing a floor for a home with kids. The most comfortable flooring, carpet, is the one that’s usually the toughest to keep looking nice. Whether it’s stains from the usual accidents or mussed fibers from the constant activity, unkempt carpet can ruin the overall look of an otherwise tidy room. One of the most common things we’re asked is what type of carpet is best for hiding stains and other signs of wear. And we are always happy to report that, contrary to common belief, there are quite a few products on the market today with features that excel at helping hide these signs of a busy home.

carpets that hide stains

When on the hunt specifically for carpet like this, there are four main factors to consider: carpet that resists stains, carpet that helps hide stains, a product that resists overall wear and fading, and one that doesn’t easily show footprints and traffic marks. Some homes may need only one of those traits, while many homes—especially those with pets or children—will benefit greatly from carpets that offer some measure of each of those features. One type of carpet may be better with one feature than another, while some carpets excel in every aspect. Here is a closer look at how each type and style of carpet holds up to stains and wear marks.

How Carpet Materials Handle Stains, Wear, and Footprints

Polyester Carpet

Polyester carpet provides some of the most beautiful color variations, because the fiber material is easier to dye. And because it is usually solution-dyed (the color permeates the entire fiber, not just its surface), it has excellent fade resistance as well. Finished polyester fibers are hydrophobic, meaning they will not absorb liquids-and that in turn makes them more resistant to liquid stains. Polyester carpet is often made from recycled materials, making it eco-friendly, and tends to usually be budget-friendly. Its main downside is that it’s not as durable as other common carpet materials, which means it may begin to show wear earlier than, say, nylon carpet.  So if you’re not terribly concerned with physical wear but are looking for the best carpet to resist stains, polyester carpeting is a safe bet.

Nylon Carpet

Nylon is one of the other most common carpet materials, alongside polyester. Nylon carpet shares many traits with polyester, including its overall soft feel and ability to be woven into many different styles of carpet. It’s crafted from very durable, elastic fibers that tend to bounce back into their shape. This trait gives it superior resistance to wearing and matting compared to polyester carpets. Nylon fibers’ main downside is that they are absorbent, which means it’s more likely for an untreated stain to stubbornly set in a nylon carpet. In short, the pros and cons of nylon carpet are almost exactly the opposite those of polyester carpet. These features make it the best carpet for those whose primary concerns are long-term wear and minimizing marks from furniture or daily traffic and have fewer worries about stains.

Polypropylene Carpet

Polypropylene, commonly known as olefin, is a material that’s growing in popularity for certain residential carpeting applications due to its affordability and high resistance to mold and mildew growth. Like polyester, olefin fibers repel moisture and dry quickly, which is what gives the carpet its mold and mildew resistance. Those same properties also make it resistant to liquid stains. However, the polypropylene material can actually be more susceptible to oil-based soiling, like those that might happen if a piece of food is dropped on the carpet. Olefin is also not as durable a material as nylon, which makes in unideal for high-traffic areas. Overall, polypropylene/olefin carpet is best suited for rooms like the basement, or areas that get light to moderate traffic, and where liquid spills are the greatest stain concern.

Dark and multicolor carpet

Most homeowners have come to accept that when daily life meets carpeted floors, stains are going to happen. And despite the best intentions to deal with these stains, they’ll often happen quicker than they can be treated and may end up hanging around for a while. If that sounds like a likely situation for your floors, prioritizing a style that disguises stains may end up being the best type of carpet for your home

When you just know that stains are going to happen regularly and probably linger, a dark or multicolored carpet can be the key to staying sane. The typical carpet stain will be much less visible, or even completely undetectable, on a darker carpet like black, dark blue, or a deep brown. Of course, those hues may not match your home’s aesthetic. If that’s the case, we recommend a multicolor carpet. These styles can have an overall lighter look, but with a mottled design that includes flecks of darker color throughout. While today’s stain-resistant carpets and powerful carpet cleaners can get most stains out, opting for a carpet that simply makes them less visible can save you significant stress.

Carpet Construction Types

Plush Carpet

Plush carpet is known for its clean, classic look. Also often referred to as Saxony, velvet, or texture carpet, plush carpeting features a smooth, level surface that provides a blend of soft comfort and traditional style. This soft, springy construction helps to hide footprints in high-traffic areas, while the dense, twisted fibers help keep dirt near the surface—making for easier cleanup. If you are looking for a great “whole house carpet,” a plush carpet can be the best choice due to its universal style and versatility.

Frieze Carpet

Frieze carpeting is made by tightly twisting fibers together to create a casual, shaggy look. This shaggy style can do more than just give your home a fun look—it also makes frieze one of the best carpets for hiding stains and footprints. Many frieze carpets are multicolored, so individual stain spots are less likely to be seen. And because frieze fibers are of varying length and look slightly disheveled by nature, footprints, vacuum marks, and other temporary impressions don’t obviously stick out.

The one catch is that the properties that make frieze great for disguising stains and footprints also make it more difficult to clean. If dirt does make it down into the depths of those shaggy fibers, you may need quite a powerful vacuum cleaner to reach deep enough into the carpet to get it fully clean.  Overall, frieze carpet is a great choice for common rooms that will see lots of activity and will have to deal with the typical small spills that happen in daily life—but probably not in rooms that will see heavy amounts of crumbs, dirty shoes, or other solid contaminants.

Frieze carpet’s shaggy construction resists crushing and matting from foot traffic and moved furniture, while the multicolored fibers of this particular model can help disguise minor stains.

Berber Carpet

Berber carpet’s low profile and dense construction make it the best carpet type for all-around resistance to stains, wear, and footprints. Because its fibers are short, thick, and tightly packed, it resists matting and compacting better than high-pile carpets. That means furniture marks and footprints are less likely to linger. This dense construction also keeps stains near the surface, making for easier cleanup. Berber’s main downside, however, is that its resilient build can be less underfoot cushioin than other carpet styles. Overall, Berber carpet is a great choice for practical performance in rooms that see the most activity in your home.

When searching for a carpet that hides stains and footprints, there are quite a few variables to consider. And like just about any subjective choice in home renovation, there’s not really one “best” carpet for all situations—rather you’ll have to find the best carpet for your particular needs. But that’s where Empire Today® comes in. We’re here to guide you through the carpet shopping experience and ensure you end up with floors that fit all the requirements of your life. Schedule a FREE Empire® In-Home Estimate today to find out which carpet type is the right one for your home.

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