The Science of Wool Rugs: Why Your Wool Rug is Shedding and What To Do About It

Natural Area Rugs Blog Staff

Natural Area Rugs Blog Staff

Your trusted source for Natural Area Rugs inspiration & information. ~ Nurturing your home with nature ~

There are a number of reasons why your wool rug is shedding. Here we tackle why this is happening and what you can do about it. 

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A Brief History of Wool

Wool has been woven into fabrics for at least 12,000 years. The earliest textiles were made from animal hair, such as goat and sheep wool. It was probably the first material used to make clothing. The first wool garments were found in the ruins of Jericho in Jordan, dating back to the 7th century BC. The discovery of first true textile was found in a tomb in a remote part of Syria in 1954.

Wool rugs are a popular choice for many homes because of their warmth, durability, and ability to be cleaned easily. They are also of great value, as they can last up to 100 years. However, there are many different types of wool rugs that have been around since ancient times. Some were used as bed covers, while others were used to cover floors, tables, and walls.

What Causes a Wool Rug to Shed?

The wool rug you love may shed, this is especially true on new wool rugs. You may notice slight shedding direct after purchase.  This can be a real disappointment and frustration for some people. There are several different reasons that rugs shed. Wool is naturally very soft and will shed if not properly cared for. 

Is Your Wool Rug Tufted?

Wool is a natural fiber and does shed, however, there are many types of wool rugs. One of the popular types is tufted wool rugs, which means that each individual wool yarn is woven into the backing, usually performed with a tufting gun. Tufted wool rugs shed more because the yarns in the tufting are not cut and instead are looped through the backing of the rug. This is why you may notice more shedding in a tufted wool rug than a solid wool rug

tufting gun

Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for the backing to have a slight pile to it. If your tufted wool rug has an uneven or high pile, then this is where you will see the most shedding. In addition, if the wool yarns are not sewn tightly together, they will pull off and leave behind loose tufts of wool on the floor.

How Long Will Shedding Last on My New Wool Rug?

Shedding is something that happens naturally over time as wool rugs settle down. This should happen after a few months, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for signs of a new shedding pattern, especially if you find you have to clean your rug more frequently. 

In addition to shedding in a controlled way as your rug ages, you may find that different patterns, the type of wool used, and the specific style of the rug may also play a role. Because different factors affect the shedding of a wool rug, it is impossible to say whether your rug will shed more in one area than another.

How to limit The Shedding of Your Wool Rug?

There are a few things that you can do to prevent your tufted wool rug from shedding even more than what it does naturally.

These tips are very helpful if you have a tufted wool rug and want to keep it looking new for as long as possible.

Tips to Extend The Life of Your Wool Rug

Wool rugs are a wonderful investment. However, they don’t last forever. Again, this depends on if you Wool Rug is tufted or not. Tufted Wool Rugs will likely not last as long as hand-knotted, hand-woven, or hand-loomed rugs. 

Wool Rugs can be cleaned, but eventually, their fibers can get loose and the rug may have to be replaced. A wool rug should last for years if cared for properly. Here are some tips to help you extend the life of your wool rug:

Tip #1 – Keep the area around your rug clean.

Dirt and debris can cause a rug to lose its life. Vacuum or sweep the area around the rug at least once a week.

Tip #2 – Use the correct cleaning method for your rug.

Using the wrong product or methods can damage your rug. Always use a professional cleaning solution and the proper equipment for your rug. Additionally, professional cleaning services can help as well. Professional cleaners have experience and know-how on how to clean Wool rugs properly. 

Tip #3 – Dry your rug thoroughly after cleaning.

Wool rugs need to be thoroughly dried after cleaning. A rug that is not completely dry may absorb moisture which can cause mold and mildew. Always follow manufacturer instructions when drying your rug.

Tip #4 – Don’t place your wool rug in direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight can fade a rug. Always keep your rug out of direct sunlight.

Tip #5 – Avoid using harsh chemicals.

Avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, and chlorine. These chemicals can cause rug damage.  

Seeking Professional Rug Cleaning Help

Professional wool rug cleaning is effective, however, it can be costly. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your rug will help it last longer, but there are times when it’s necessary to seek the help of a professional cleaner.

The type of cleaning may depend on the type of rug you’re looking to have cleaned. Professionals may use different cleaning methods on a Jute rug vs a Wool rug. It’s important to ask the professional questions and to find one that has experience in cleaning your type of rug

If you hire an inexperienced person to do this work for you, you may be disappointed in the results. When hiring a professional rug cleaning company, be sure that they have all of the right tools, equipment, and supplies. You don’t want them using any harmful chemicals or methods that may damage your rug. Rug cleaning is a delicate process.

When to Give Up and Buy a New Rug?

If self-cleaning and professional cleaning of your Wool rug has not brought the results you were hoping for, or if the shedding of your Wool rug is too much, then it might be time to consider a new rug. If that’s the case, here are some important things to consider specific to rug shedding.

Natural Fiber Rugs That Shed Less

Natural fiber rugs, like Jute, Seagrass, and Sisal make fantastic rugs, but some of them do tend to shed. The shedding from these rugs is typically insignificant and can be cleaned up easily.

Seagrass rugs are great for just about any room in your home. Of the most common natural fiber rugs, they tend to shed the least (along with Sisal). They are not as soft as Jute rugs, but they are soft enough underfoot where you could get by in a lesser traffic area. 

Sisal rugs can shed some, but very minimal if at all. Sisal is a tough fiber. Sisal rugs work great in high-traffic areas like entryways or hallways due to their durability. 

Jute rugs are a soft fiber. They tend to shed the most. Shedding is a normal part of owning a jute rug. Regular vacuuming is necessary when owning this type of rug

If your certain a new Wool rug is your choice for buying, opposed to the other natural fibers listed above. You should consider the differences between “tuft” and “flat weave” rug construction.

Tufted Rugs

Tufted rugs are constructed when a long pile yarn is wrapped around a needle, and the needle is then pulled through a backing material to form loops. The tufts can be made of wool or synthetic materials and are usually dyed to create an attractive color effect. They are available in various colors, sizes, shapes, and textures. Tufted rugs shed more than other rug construction types. 

Flat Weave

Flatweave rugs are constructed by weaving two sets of parallel yarns, one set passing over and under the other, in a manner that forms a grid or array of horizontal and vertical lines. Flatweave rugs do not have a pile. With no cut pile or constant friction on the ends of thread, flat weave rug fibers typically don’t shed as much as other types of rugs – even if you choose wool, which sheds more than other fiber options.

In summary, you could have the best wool rug in the world, but it still may shed. That’s just the nature of wool. But with a little knowledge and some simple steps, you can help minimize wool rug shedding.

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