How to Repair a Shedding Rug?

Mehari 140101 Maize Handtufted wool Rug

It is perfectly normal for a rug to shed fibres within the early weeks of its lifespan and will stop depending on the materials it is made from and the material quality. If after light vacuuming the rug continues to shed, there may be something else that needs attention.

Why do rugs shed?

Grenada Emerald Persian Rug by Origins

When rugs are made, such as traditional rugs like Persian and Turkish, the yarns are often much longer than the end product due to the numerous amounts of knots of yarns made to construct the rug. After the construction, the yarns are cut to the desired rug thickness, to which cutting the rug leaves behind several little strands of fibre within the rug. Over the next few months, after it’s been made, these little fibres will ‘shed’. The number of free fibres across the rug depends on the material and its quality as synthetics tend to leave more than organic and natural.

Wool and Silk woven rugs.

Emerging 160500 Fish Burgundy Wool Rug by Ted Baker

Good quality standard pile height wool or real silk rug shouldn't shed due to the strength needed to tie the knots. Shedding after the weaving process, other than due to the shearing, will only occur due to serious damage such as heavy traffic or water damage. However, a bad shear can also result in an unevenness of the rug and result in a few strands sticking out; looking like the rug is shedding. To determine if the rug is shedding or simply has a bad shearing, tug on the strands. A good quality rug will not have its knots easily undone.

Artificial silk.

Prism 101-Multi Wool Viscose Rug By Think Rugs

Fake silk, such as viscose, are among the weakest fibres in the textile industry today due to being chemically processed wood pulp and cotton waste by-products. These fibres can easily be pulled apart as they have minimum strength. These fibres are also susceptible to water damage which can further decrease their quality. These rugs can also be damaged very easily through heavy vacuum usage as the fibres can be easily torn and appear worse than when hoovered.

Shaggy and Chunky wool.

Parwa 026300 Chalky Brights Wool Rug by Scion

All wool rugs shed. Wool starts as small strands are twisted into each other to create yarn. So, the longer and bigger the wool appears, the more likely shorter strands will be loose. Very good quality wool rugs will stop shedding after a few months as the shorter fibres would have been freed over-usage however bad quality rugs will continue to shed and also become thinner in higher traffic areas as they break with usage.

Tufted rugs.

Sahara 56105 Burgundy Hand-Tufted Wool Rug by Ted Baker

If the rug you have isn’t new and has some age to it but you suddenly notice shedding of fibres coming apart, the rug is tufted. Instead of knot tying, tufted rugs are made with a gun that shoots wool fibres through the back of the rug – acting as a much faster and cheaper process of creating a rug. Once the rug design has been constructed, the back of the rug is glued down to a piece of fabric to secure the wool fibres in place. Over time, the glue can wear away – due to heavy traffic or water damage – releasing the wool fibres.

How to repair shedding rugs?

If the rug is of good quality, after a few months, the shedding will stop so the free fibres can simply be hoovered. This is can be ensured if abrasive rotary brushes are not used as this can force their way into the rug and irritate the fibres causing further shedding. Use suction only hoovers as this can prevent damage.

As mentioned before, it needs to be noted if the rug is shedding fibres or if it simply has a bad shear job. With a bad cut, no amount of hoovering will fix this and will cause further wearing and ageing of the rug if used heavily in a certain area. With a bad cut, the extra-long hairs can simply be cut away using some scissors. However, no matter the quality, the shedding will happen due to the shearing process after weaving. Rugs will always be shed and this cannot be prevented however they can be minimised.

Minimising Shedding.

The ageing and wearing of the rug can be dependent upon the traffic and actual usage of the rug. This, in turn, will affect the number of fibres coming out of the rug. To reduce traffic, simply place the rug in an area where it will receive minimal foot traffic. One recommendation is not to place the rug alongside or near any stairs. This is because stairs receive the highest traffic out of anywhere else in a house.

Vacuuming regularly – carefully – can reduce shedding as it removes the free fibres away from the surface and prevents them from floating around the room and ending up on contrasting furniture. Again, it is advised to use a suction only vacuums or vacuum attachments as wool rugs are sensitive.

This tip is necessary but still might be useful. When choosing a rug, consider the colours due to the quality of the rug. This isn’t much of a concern with good quality rugs but with bad quality – you might want to consider the following. Bad quality fibres will show up on contrasting furniture such as a white rug with black sofas or a black rug with a white sofa. The fibre hairs can be a hassle to remove if the sofa is a fabric, textile sofa. Second, bad quality rugs tend to be made from synthetics that have been chemically dyed. Over time, through usage and wear, the colours can fade and won’t be retrievable no matter how much of a deep clean the carpet goes under. This will further fade the colour of the rug.

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