Fashion Trends for Carpets and Upholsteries

Just as styles change for clothing every few years, so do fabrics for carpet and upholstery. Updated looks emerge, and manufacturers introduce newer materials into the retail market. Different cleaning methods and products change to ensure proper cleaning without damage.

Carpet and Upholstery Fabrics in the ’70s and 80’s

When I was new to carpet and upholstery cleaning in the ’70s and ’80s, the trend was towards Haitian or raw cotton. It was something new and different that looked “earthy, natural and tweedy.” Truth be told, this material was simply raw, uncombed and unprocessed cotton batting like what had previously been used for stuffing a mattress or sofa. Now, this fabric was spun into heavy thread or yarn and made into the upholstery fabric. The result was a natural, tweed look.

Carpet and Upholstery Fabrics in the ’90s

Manufacturers introduced Berber carpet in the ‘90s. Once thought of as only appropriate for basements and rec rooms, Berber is a versatile carpet that works with many decors and remains popular today for all areas of the home. Traditionally speaking, this carpet is light in color with flecks of darker, more earthy tones. A Berber carpet is a level loop yarn in construction and made from either wool or olefin fibers. When first introduced, this carpet presented new challenges for carpet cleaners to avoid damage and color changes.

Carpet and Upholstery Fabrics in the New Millenia

In the early 2000s, manufacturers started producing sisal, seagrass, hemp, and banana leaf floor covering materials. These fabrics are often made into woven rugs with a latex backing applied and cloth bindings around the edges; however, sometimes it is glued onto the floor as a wall to wall installation. Again, new cleaning methods and products were needed to avoid damage and keep these fabrics looking fresh and new.

Latest Trends in Carpet and Upholstery Fabrics

The newest trend introduced by carpet and upholstery manufacturers is viscose. Previously, viscose was used in clothing fabrics and, as such, was labeled as art silk, faux silk, bamboo silk, etc. This fabric generally finds its way into less expensive woven oriental style rugs that have the look and feel of genuine silk to the untrained eye and hand. Viscose is in the rayon family of fabrics, all of which are made from cellulose. Rayon is sourced from cotton fiber while viscose is made from wood, sugar cane, or bamboo cellulose. These fabrics are classed only as manmade, neither as natural or as synthetic fibers.  Liquefied ground-up wood pulp put through a harsh chemical process called mercerizing by the manufacturer removes everything (bark, lignin, etc.) but the cellulose. The remaining cellulose is regenerated into a manmade fiber through the viscose process or cellulose acetate process. The resulting polymer is very soft and shiny, causing it to look and feel just like silk. Again, carpet and upholstery cleaners required new processes and products to ensure proper cleaning.


Over time up-to-date trends introduce new fabrics. All fabrics require unique cleaning processes and products to ensure the best results. While cleaning of lower-end products can be accomplished by any competent carpet cleaner, higher-end specialty fabrics are best left to specialty cleaners like Glenn’s Carpet Cleaning who carry the master textile cleaning certification. Call Glenn’s Carpet cleaning today to ensure your higher-end carpet, rugs, and upholstery remain like new!