Wool carpets are some of the softest most elegant carpets available for your home. Though most people think they are too expensive for their budget, some wool carpets are comparable in price to a good nylon carpet. But is wool carpet right for you? Here are some of the characteristics that you must consider when thinking about wool carpet.
Wool carpet is one of the few truly green fibers available. Wool comes from sheep who are shorn and regrow their hair annually. Making it very sustainable. And unlike manmade fibers that will take centuries to decompose, wool products take about a year and release vital nutrients back into the soil.
Wool and Allergies
Contrary to popular belief, wool is a hypoallergenic fiber. Those who say they are allergic are most often referring to the prickle and tickle effect of an old wool sweater. Sitting or lying on wool carpets and rugs rarely, if ever, can cause the same effect. No one has ever been treated or diagnosed for an anaphylactic shock because they were in contact with wool. Wool does not promote the growth of dust mites or bacteria. Wool carpet fibers are too long and too coarse to be inhaled and therefore do not affect asthma sufferers. Wool fibers can purify indoor air by absorbing air pollutants and gases. Wool fibers absorb common contaminants like formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, while not releasing VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). There may be other components of a wool carpet like the latex or backing that you or a loved one may be allergic to, but not the wool itself.
Wool is a naturally resilient fiber, although not as highly resilient as nylon. Being resilient means that wool has good texture retention, which is the ability of the fiber to retain its original appearance. As such, wool carpets are exceptionally durable. Although wool’s resistance to abrasion is not as high as that of nylon. Wool carpets have been known to last for decades in a home when properly maintained.
Shedding of Wool
The individual fibers that make up wool yarn vary from 3 to 5 inches in length. As a result, along any length of wool yarn, there are going to be loose fibers resulting in initial shedding in both loop-pile and cut-pile carpets. This shedding manifests itself as little clumps of fiber resembling cotton candy. Although this can be somewhat disconcerting, the carpet is not coming apart and is not being vacuumed away. It can look like a lot, but the amount of fiber lost in this manner is minimal. This is the nature of wool carpet and after exposure to foot traffic and regular maintenance, shedding will stop.
Wool is less stain resistant than most synthetic fibers. Wool is absorbent, so it can be difficult to remove stains once they have been absorbed by the fiber. To prevent serious staining it is imperative to treat the spill as quickly as possible. If the substance soaks into the fiber, it may not come out.
Soiling is different from staining. Wool carpets have excellent resistance to soiling. Because wool is a natural fiber, the fibers have microscopic scales. These scales help to prevent dirt from embedding in the carpet fibers allowing them to be removed with vacuuming. Also, the scales disperse light, so that any soiling that does occur on the wool is masked.
It does not really take any more work to maintain a wool carpet compared to synthetics, but you do have to make sure that you are using the proper products. Overly aggressive vacuums and many carpet cleaning products will ruin a wool carpet. It is important to make sure you use products that are safe on wool and test them in an inconspicuous place before applying them where it will be seen. When choosing a professional to clean your wool carpets, make sure they have experience with them as many do not and can ruin your carpet if applying the wrong treatments.
Wool’s flame resistance is worthy of note because it differs significantly from synthetic fibers in this regard. Wool will not burn it is self-extinguishing and does not melt like a synthetic carpet. It is also not toxic like a synthetic. One test to see if your carpet is wool or a synthetic is to light a small amount with a match. If it melts, it is synthetic, if turns to ash (chars) it is wool.
As mentioned above, wool is highly absorbent. While this is not a desirable trait when it comes to staining, it can be beneficial for the household environment. When the air is humid, the wool carpet will absorb the excess moisture in the air. Consequently, when the air is drier, the fibers will release the moisture, thereby helping to keep the home’s moisture levels in balance.
For exceptionally damp areas, such as bathrooms or damp basements, the wool carpet may not be suitable, as it would rarely (if ever) have the opportunity to dry out, and could cause problems associated with the moisture retention, including mildew and mold.
In humid climate zones, with consistent year-round high humidity levels, the use of a dehumidifier in the home would be recommended to avoid the same dangers of mildew and mold.
If wool carpet sounds like the right choice for you and your home, call the experts at Rugworks, a leading carpet company in Sonoma. We can help you find a wool carpet that is perfect for your decor. To get answers to all your questions related to wool carpets, call us at 707-935-0648.