Carpets and Rugs of Hawaii

Wool Carpets and Hawaiian Style Area Rugs

Archive for November, 2007

Allergic Reactions to Wool Carpets and Rugs?

The natural performance of a wool fiber and it’s durable qualities have protected man for over 25,000 years. Wool is actually 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 laying on wool carpets and rugs rarely, if ever, can cause the same effect. No one has ever been treated or diagnosed for anaflactic shock when coming into contact with wool.

Allergies are widespread in the developed world and that problem is increasing for two main reasons:

  1. A great number of synthetic substances and petroleum based products are being used in the home.
  2. The improved diagnosis of allergic conditions are now available to those suffering from allergies.

There is no reason why asthmatic or allergy sensitive people should not enjoy the comfort and good looks of carpets and/or rugs. Wool is non-allergenic and 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. In fact hard surface floors allow airborne particles to be disturbed and whirl into the air causing more irritation for hay fever and asthma sufferers.

Recent data from Swedens Central Statistics Bureau, Army, and Flooring Association shows that over the past 20 years while the installation of carpet went down with the increase of hard surface installations, the number of allergic people increased dramatically over the same period.

Wool fibers actually purify indoor air by absorbing air pollutants and gases. Wool fibers absorb common contaminants in indoor air like formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, while not releasing VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). This is one of the reasons why the LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) environmental program accepted wool carpets as the only soft surface floor covering in the initial testing of accepted floor covering products. The approved products are rubber, bamboo, linoleum, cork, and, of course, wool. All of these products are also rapidly renewable, biodegradable, and carbon neutral.

Not only does wool keep the air free of many harmful pollutants, it will not release them, even when heated. It has been estimated that wool carpets can continually purify indoor air for up to 30 years. What a natural and beautiful way to help the earth and improve the comfort in your own home.

If you hear someone say “I’m allergic to wool”, just keep in mind that another man made myth is now explained and hopefully put to rest.

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Should Wool Be Used in the Tropics?

Wool in the Tropics is not a new concept. It has been used successfully in every type of climate for centuries. Only in the recent age of scientific data and hype have people begun to ask for explanation and confirmation of what their predecessors took for granted. Wool is a natural fiber. It breathes, like all natural fibers. Unlike man-made carpets and rugs made from petroleum and oil-based products, wool does not react to heat and humidity like plastic products. Wool fiber can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture vapor without feeling damp. So, at times of high humidity, wool absorbs moisture and then releases this moisture again when the atmosphere is dry, acting as an atmospheric buffer.

In conditions of high humidity, generally found in the tropics, invariably it is the carpet backing that is first affected by mildew, mold, or fungus. Wool fiber is naturally quite mildew resistant, especially as it will tend to have a relatively low pH acid level. Backings for all carpets can now be treated to avoid the mold and mildew problems experienced in the past. Wool fiber also absorbs and neutralizes airborne chemicals and odors. This makes it especially important to those suffering from toxic and allergic reactions to plastics and carbon dioxide producing chemicals in the home. The fact that wool does not produce or add to these toxins and is a carbon neutral fiber qualifies it as a LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified product for home and contract projects. Since it is produced by sheep and is also a renewable and biodegradable resource, it the perfect choice for an environmentally responsible homeowner or contract specifier.

In tropical climates, walking barefoot on wool carpet feels cooler, less sticky and more comfortable than synthetic fiber carpets. When wool releases moisture it feels (and is) cooler. Reducing condensation and humidity levels in the home is a natural for wool, which makes it a natural choice for a home in the tropics.

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