Natural wool rugs are always a pleasure to feel underfoot. Since old times, they have been around with a mark and have always been a popular choice amongst the homeowners. Courtesy of its amazing features and characteristics, wool rug is a reasonable investment to make.
When choosing a rug for your room, one of the important factors which we feel is paramount other than the aesthetic appeal, is the material it is made of. This is the fabric which will entice unmatched features to your floor. While many will argue that synthetic rugs offer similar appearance to wool versions, but when you scratch the surface, you’ll find they don’t have the same advantages.
Wool rugs help in keeping the room insulated from heat and sound. They offer perfect warmth and cosiness to your floor. Experts prefer wool because of many key factors; few amongst them are practicality, health issue, environmental concerns, and ethical benefits.
It’s been more than eighty centuries since wool carpets came into existence. Predominantly, it’s the sheep’s fur which is used to weave wool carpets. Experts consider New Zealand’s breed, Merino to be of the best quality in the entire world. Though, other breeds from around the world are not lying far behind. Few notably premium breeds amongst them are Shetland Wool from Scottish Highlands, Merino sheep in Saxony, Vermont, South Africa and the island of Tasmania.
Not many people are aware that wool rugs are not just weaved using a sheep’s wool, but there are many rugs which are made using hair of other animals like llamas, camels, goats, alpacas and angora rabbits.
One interesting fact about wool carpets is its smell when it’s wet because of the presence of sulphur as one of the key ingredients that builds up the fabric’s structure. Here we have listed few of the most important pros and cons of wool rugs.
Pros of wool rugs
1. Wool carpets are resistant to fire/flames
Wool rugs are considered to be family friendly as they naturally possess fire retardant properties. Wool rugs don’t catch fire courtesy of the high protein and moisture content. These ingredients are the key reasons why wool smoulders and extinguish itself after coming in contact with fire.
In extreme conditions at high temperature, you will find it starting to melt, but it wouldn’t catch fire. Owing to the fire retardant features, it is popular for commercial purposes like it is used in casinos, bars, hotels, restaurants, airlines, and many other stores. Since, wool rugs don’t catch fire and burn, you don’t need to worry about harmful and dangerous toxic fumes like carbon monoxide. So, yes, it is indeed a family friendly rug.
2. Wool rugs are stain and dirt resistant
Wool rugs are treated with natural coating of light wax which makes them much more stain resistant than their synthetic counterparts. This makes them much easier to clean and maintain. They can also hide soil and dirt well. They can even hide a pound of soil per square meter and you wouldn’t even notice your rug as dirty. All of us must have noticed huge amount of soil and dirt beneath our wool rugs when we displace them after a long time. This is one of the finest examples of their dirt hiding feature. Moreover, you can clean it easily with regular brushing or vacuuming.
3. Wool rugs are water resistant
The fabric contains a key element which makes it almost a waterproof material. It is naturally occurring fatty lanolin which is present in untreated wool fibres. Yet, wool fibre is very absorbent and they can soak up to 20% of their own weight. This means light spillage is not going to lead to leakages and you can wipe them off easily.
4. Wool rugs are good for your health
Soft furnishings are prone to dust mites. These are tiny creatures making their habitat in soft furnishings like rugs. Today, a lot of people suffer from asthma, eczema and perennial allergic rhinitis. Dust mite allergy is very common and linked with these conditions. Amongst all the materials, wool rugs are considered to perform best in resisting dust mite infestation.
The fabric is a natural air filter and helps in trapping allergens and pollens. Just in case if you think that you or any of your family members does not suffer from dust mite allergy or asthma, there is still a health incentive while choosing a wool carpet. They don’t emit dangerous and toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds) like those of synthetic fibres or rugs with synthetic backings. Exposure to VOCs can lead to eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, breathing difficulty and dizziness.
5. Wool is a sustainable and eco-friendly material
It’s the manufacturing process of man-made synthetic fibres which require millions of metric tons of coal being burnt and trillion of litres of water being wasted. Thanks to the wool yarn which requires much less energy for its production as compared to synthetic fibres. It is one of the rare rug materials which doesn’t requires petroleum for its production _ a limited and non-biodegradable resource.
Not just the ease in production process, but wool is a long life fibre retaining its properties for years to come. At the end of its life cycle, wool easily biodegrades in soil without posing any harm to the environment. In fact, as it is made from amino acids, it releases nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous which are essential plant nutrients back into the soil.
To add cherry on the cake, the material is replenish able meaning wool rugs can be recycled to form new rugs.
6. Wool helps in conserving energy
Energy efficiency is yet another advantage of choosing a wool rug. The fabric is breathable and thus keeps your room warmer and drier in winters while cooler and drier in summers. So, few wool rugs in your home can save you a lot on electric bills.
7. Wool rugs are durable
Wool rugs are durable and resistant to heavy use. It’s the durability factor which makes these rugs suitable for high traffic area. Even with heavy usage, they will still remain beautiful. All you need to do is just make sure to buy a good one.
8. Wool rugs are absorbent
Since the fabric comes in different dyes, it becomes easy to create wool rugs in different eye catching colours and shades. Due to this absorbency feature, wool rugs can retain its shades over the years to come and can look amazingly beautiful. However, this absorbency factor comes with a negative attribute too as this will work well for any kinds of liquids including the undesirable one such as wine or an ink.
Cons of wool rugs
Well, you see anywhere around yet it’s hard to find any product which is perfect and without a flaw. The same applies with wool as well. It also has its own disadvantages and here is a list of them.
1. Wool rugs are expensive
Buying a premium and high end wool rug can cost you “an arm and a leg” and if you choose to go with the popular brands, then you may be looking at a month’s rent here. This is how expensive a wool rug can be. Though, not the most expensive fabric in the industry, still wool rugs is a commodity for the affluent.
2. Wool rugs have no resistance to chemicals
Alkaline substances pose extremely negative impact on wool rugs. When exposed to them for longer period of time, the fabric may lose its colour and become hard to touch. Chlorine-based bleach is another chemical which has a dooming effect on the fabric.
This is because of this reason it becomes so hard to find a rug cleaning solution with a fitting pH value; one which can clean any notorious and stubborn stain while posing no harm to the fabric. It is recommended by the experts to opt for water-based cleaning detergents with pH value between 5 and 8.
3. Wool rugs are absorbent
Just like we mentioned above, absorbency comes with positives and negatives both. Due to this characteristic, it’s very easy to dye a wool carpet. The fabric is good in retaining the colours for a very long time. Well, this may not go well with undesired spills such as wine or an ink.
DIY Tips to clean wool carpet at home
Considering the value wool rugs bring to your floor, it would be wise to be familiar with its precise cleaning process. Here we are with amazing tips to clean your wool rugs at home and keep it spotless for years to come.
1. Vacuuming your carpet frequently and on a regular basis
This is the basic rule which applies to most of the rugs. It’s important to have a regular check of your carpet for dirt and dust. The quality of your vacuum cleaner will also help to prolong your rug’s life. Always use high quality vacuum cleaner with soft bristles and good suction. Keep in mind to vacuum your rug twice a week if it receives heavy foot fall. For places with low traffic, you can do vacuuming once a week.
2. Proactively dealing with the stains
It’s crucial to act in time as soon as you notice the stains. The key here is to not let the stains seep deep into the fibres. This is why you should act immediately and tackle the affected area as soon as possible.
Here is how you can deal with the stains at home _
a. As soon as you witness any spillage, act immediately to suck in any liquid using a clean sponge or paper towel to avoid it getting seeped into the fibre.
b. Prepare a solution of ½ teaspoon of mild liquid dishwashing detergent, ¼ cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of lukewarm water. Soak the stained area with the solution.
c. Gently blot the affected area using a water dampened sponge to remove the applied homemade cleaning solution.
d. Blot dry the area using a clean white cloth.
e. Finally, let the affected area air dry for several hours.
Note: Alkaline solution or chlorine bleach can cause a serious damage to the fibres. Never use these to clean wool rugs.
We hope that we have covered all the aspects of wool rugs so that you can make a well informed and researched purchase. Just in case if we forgot any important point and you questions about it, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you and would try to revert as soon as possible.