The Phenomenom of Shedding in Carpets and Rugs
The issue of shedding on any fiber in floor covering seems to be one that concerns consumers the most, after staining. Most people think their carpets are showing excessive shedding. Normally this is not the case.
Fiber shedding after a carpet installation is quite common even though end users think they are losing all the fiber content and their carpet is going to end up going bald.
There are three contributing factors to carpet shedding. Two are normal maintenance issues. The third will be addressed from a manufacturer’s viewpoint.
I will address the first two. Those are usually the main reasons for carpet shedding:
- Vacuum Cleaners and correct usage –
In today’s preference for loop pile carpets, manufacturers are now beginning to put labeling on their product to use suction only appliances. Even in today’s synthetics, brushes used on loop pile constructed carpets are deadly for the life and appearance of these products.
Wool carpets are no different and should be treated once or twice a week thorough vacuuming. Vacuum cleaner manufacturers should be contacted for either a brush less beater bar or no brush attachments when you have installed a loop pile constructed carpet.
Vacuum cleaner bags –
Most people use their vacuum cleaner bags until they are filled up to the top. The efficiency of cleaning carpets, articularly new installations, with full or over half full vacuum bags drops by 50%. Therefore, clean out your appliance when you reach a 50% capacity and you will see less shedding in the first few months of your carpets’ life.
- Manufacturing Process –
When a wool carpet is made there is a process called “combing and carding” that aligns the fibers and allows them to lie together to go into a “sliver” to then be sent onto the yarn spinning process. Well-made wool carpets and rugs are processed with resilient yarns and long staple yarns. These yarns offer the long wear, stain resistant, and easily maintained product we all have come to know and prefer when ordering a rug or carpet for our homes.
At the time of yarn spinning and then carpet manufacturing some of the yarn will have small amounts of fibers escape. This has no effect on the density of your finished product. If you have ordered a cut pile product, shearing can also leave fibers loose that come to the top of the carpet adding to the shedding phenomenon.
In no way does this mean that you are losing carpet fiber that is a part of the base product. The shedding is basically unconnected fiber that is working its way to the top of the product. In a wool product, this is a good thing.
Wool floor coverings, because of the natural shedding process, tend to look better longer than synthetic products. This natural shedding is actually a self-cleaning process that keeps the dirt layer on top of the carpet and therefore more easily removed by proper vacuuming and spot maintenance. So, don’t panic.
The third concern for shedding could actually be a manufacturing choice with short staple fibers being used instead of the more expensive 5 to 7 inch staple fibers preferred by most carpet manufacturers. This does not mean that you will not receive the same benefits by using a natural wool product. Less expensive wool carpets might possibly be using shorter staple yarns and you could see more shedding because of these conditions.
When ordering any floor covering most manufacturers offer a fiber warranty. You will see a warranty for manufacturers defects with wool carpet manufacturers. Because wool carpets do lose fiber and tend to shed more than the plastic carpets do a fiber warranty is not usually offered on wool carpet. What wool carpets offer you is a resiliency and beauty that lasts for many years compared to what occurs in synthetic carpets. Synthetic carpets tend to flatten out, or in carpet terms “ugly out”. This does not mean the carpet is worn out, it just tends to become very hard and flat and harder still to clean. So when reviewing warranties it is important to realize that most only cover fiber content, staining issues, and manufacturers defects. They do not guarantee lasting beauty, comfort, or resiliency underfoot. After all, isn’t that why we prefer natural products on our bodies and in our homes? Manmade fibers are still a long way off from supplying the comfort that a natural and environmental product can offer.