All wool rugs have an annoying tendency to shed fibres, especially when they are new. But why? There are two main reasons:
1) Wool is cut from a sheep then the short lengths of fleece are spun together into a continuous length of yarn. When the yarn is made of shorter spun lengths it will shed more than yarn made from longer ones. Better quality yarns are usually spun using a longer staple fleece – if the quality of fabric is low or the pile is long it will break up easier and therefore the rugs will shed more. Equally if the quality of fabric is of a high standard the rugs will shed less as the fabric is less likely to break up or break away from the base of the rug.
2) How the rugs are made – there are many ways in which rugs are made, they are can be ‘machine woven’ , ‘machine Tufted’, ‘hand-tufted’, ‘hand-knotted’, ‘hand loomed’ and ‘flat woven’ (Kilim Rugs) . Machine and Hand-tufted rugs are made by a needle tufting the fabric through a base and then gluing on a secondary backing to create a strong bond, this is easier, quicker and therefore a cheaper way to produce rugs. Hand-knotted rugs are more expensive as they take longer to produce, instead of the fabric being glued at the base it is knotted at the base offering more security overall. Machine woven rugs are woven usually on Wilton looms, but are rarely produced in wool.
In order for manufacturers to keep costs down, they must either choose cheaper fabric or a cheaper production method.
Wool rugs made from New Zealand wool is reputed to be the best for its softness and the ability to dye. This wool (after the process of spinning, dying and washing which is required to get the wool ready to be made into rugs) is costly when compared to inexpensive materials such as polypropylene, a common rug fabric in modern Wilton weaving. Manufacturers of wool rugs, therefore, take the cheaper production method option of hand-tufting their rugs in India or China in order to keep overall production costs to a minimum. Whilst the quality of the wool would suggest the rug would shed less, the longer, chunkier pile of hand-tufted rugs will in fact mean the wool rug sheds more.
How to maintain your Wool Rug:
• Ensure you vacuum your wool rug every day for the first 10 days after purchase.
• After the first 10 days vacuum your rug twice a week.
• When vacuuming your wool rug ensure that there is not too much suction on the wool, you may need to turn the suction power down or use a different head attachment to achieve the right level of suction.
• Ensure you wipe or remove shoes before walking on the rug, any friction from bricks/sand/grit on the bottom of your shoes will break the fabric away from the base and cause more shedding. Equally try not to cause friction in any other way, don’t drag furniture back and forth across it, for example.