Advances in manufacturing have led to an influx of cheap carpets made from synthetic materials. But wool carpets have been around for centuries, and they have no intention of disappearing.
Wool has many properties that make it an ideal floor covering, but it also has some disadvantages. This article discusses both so you can make an informed purchase.
Advantages of wool carpets
Ask anyone who owns a wool rug what they think of it, and you’ll likely hear long and loud praise. Wool carpets are durable, hypoallergenic, environmentally friendly, stain and dirt resistant and deserve serious consideration the next time you need flooring.
Wool carpet surpasses all other floor coverings in terms of durability. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, wool fibres are naturally wavy. The size of the wave depends on the animal and the region where the wool was collected.
This wave is called the shrinkage wave. The warp is responsible for the elasticity of the wool fibres. Even with prolonged compression, when the weight is removed, the wool resumes its natural shape.
This means that wool carpets are less susceptible to dents or dings caused by the weight of furniture. In the carpet industry, this type of damage is called compression of the pile.
Another threat to carpet durability is streaking or staining. Both terms refer to the difference in visual appearance of some carpets after they have been vacuumed or walked on.
The color change is due to the fact that the sides of the fibers are exposed and reflect the light, not the ends of the fibers. Because wool has a natural resilience, any shading or rutting is short-lived.
Synthetic carpets are manufactured at low cost in factories using all sorts of toxic chemicals. Workers are protected during the manufacturing process, but what happens when you take your carpet home?
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are not only released into the air during installation, but also over many years through a process called outgassing, which has been linked to respiratory irritation.
Some wool carpets contain up to 20% synthetic materials, but many carpets do not contain synthetic materials at all. In any case, the presence of volatile organic compounds in your home will be significantly reduced if you choose a wool carpet instead of polypropylene.
The only chemical commonly added to wool carpets is a certain insect repellent that the World Health Organization has found to be safe for domestic use.
Wool is also a living tissue. Wool carpet fibers absorb excess moisture from the air and release it when the air is dry, naturally slowing the amount of moisture in your home.
The reason wool carpets are known to retain their vibrant design for a long time is due to the way the molecules of wool behave.
The charged particles of the wool fibres attract the charged particles of the dye and bind them closely together. Wool absorbs and retains dyes better than carpets made from other materials such as polypropylene.
However, the structure of the wool cannot protect the dye from fading if it is regularly exposed to UV light. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the amount of direct sunlight your wool carpet receives.
Natural wool is covered with a protective layer of oil called lanolin. Sheep and other woolly animals rely on lanolin to keep them clean and dry, as it has natural water and dirt repellent properties.
The lanolin coating prevents dirt and stains from penetrating the fibre. Wool is also naturally anti-static, so it doesn’t attract dust. Wool carpets should be vacuumed regularly to remove dirt and dust particles that fall onto the floor.
They do not need to be washed or steamed and can remove lanolin, so these cleaning methods are not recommended.
Respect for the environment
Wool carpets are environmentally friendly because they are made from a renewable resource, namely the wool of sheep, alpacas, llamas, goats or even camels.
Wild sheep grow and lose their fleece in cycles that correspond to the seasons. Domestic sheep, on the other hand, are bred to produce wool all year round.
They don’t shave fast enough to prevent the coat from accumulating, which can cause skin problems and injuries.
A professional shorthair sheep is no more disturbing than a dog that has been to a professional groomer.
When it comes time to take wool carpet off the market, environmentally conscious buyers will be pleased to learn that not only is wool fully biodegradable, but the decomposition process also enriches the soil by releasing nutrients such as sulfur and nitrogen.
Flame retardant properties
One of the most underrated properties of wool is its slow ignition and high fire resistance. No one expects a fire, but if one does break out in your home, it’s reassuring to know that your wool carpet can slow the spread rather than fan the flames.
Depending on the duration of exposure and the temperature of the flame, the wool fibers will melt rather than ignite.
Disadvantages of wool carpets
Wool is valued for its diversity and for retaining its colours, but there is also a downside: moulting. A cup of coffee or a glass of red wine spilled on a wool carpet and left to dry is difficult, if not impossible, to recover.
However, the scaly structure of wool fibres prevents the liquid from immediately penetrating the fibre core. So if you act quickly to absorb the spill, permanent stains can usually be avoided.
As mentioned earlier, wool retains excess moisture in the air. If it’s not completely dry, mold can develop. For this reason, wool carpets are not suitable for use in high humidity or wet conditions.
Cost of a wool carpet
It cannot be avoided – wool carpets have a much higher purchase price than the synthetic alternatives. The average price per square foot for wool carpet is $4 to $12.
Polyester carpets cost only $1 to $3 per square foot. They pay $1 to $3 per square foot for nylon carpet. But when you consider that a wool carpet lasts up to 20 years, the price becomes a little more reasonable.
If a cheaper carpet costs half as much but lasts twice as long, you haven’t really saved any money, you’ve just spread the cost over time.
The best woolen carpets
100% wool carpets, made from strands of wool, are generally considered to be the best wool carpets you can buy.
Only certain breeds of sheep produce yarn, and these breeds are generally found in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Both countries have a long and proud history of high quality wool production. New Zealand wool is known for its softness and lightness, while British wool is thicker, coarser and more voluminous.
Made from a blend of wool and synthetic materials, 80/20 wool carpets are also a good choice.
Remember, sheep are not the only animals that have adapted by producing wool. Carpets, camels, alpacas and goats can also be sheared to provide fibres for carpets.
Each type of wool has its own texture and color that reflects the animal it came from. The fibres of llama and alpaca wool, for example, have a smaller diameter than those of sheep’s wool, giving the material extra softness and silkiness.
We hope you enjoyed our article on the pros and cons of wool rugs. Do you think wool carpets are beautiful in your home? Visit this page to see other types of rugs for your home.
frequently asked questions
What are the advantages of a wool carpet?
The information on the carpet is useful: ….
Are wool carpets better?
Are wool carpets better than synthetic carpets?
Synthetic carpet. This is because the stain generally can’t penetrate synthetic fibers as well as natural fibers like wool. … If your main concern is durability, or if you don’t have small children or pets in the house, wool is definitely the best choice.
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