Wool is the most commonly used natural fiber in carpeting. While synthetic fibers, like nylon and polyester, comprise the vast majority of the carpet fiber market, wool has its own niche in the marketplace and continues to be a sought-after fiber option.
Natural fibers such as wool have several key differences from synthetics.
Wool is a naturally resilient fiber. (The term resiliency refers to a fiber’s ability to bounce back after compression.) Being resilient means that wool has good texture retention, which is the ability of the fiber to retain its original appearance. As such, wool carpets are generally pretty durable.
We have many Burritt Bros clients who have had wool carpets in their homes for decades and they are still looking and performing well. Proper maintenance plays an important role in having your carpet last as long as possible.
It does require a bit more work to maintain a wool carpet compared to carpets made of synthetic fibers. Wool carpets must be professionally cleaned by cleaners who have experience in working with wool carpets. As a natural fiber, wool carries a slight risk of shrinking under improper maintenance, so it is imperative that it is treated correctly, by professionals who are familiar with the fiber and who can clean it effectively without damaging the carpet. It is important to do your research before choosing a professional cleaning company to clean your wool carpets. Please contact us here at Burritt Bros for recommendations for carpet cleaners.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that wool carpet will shed. Wool is a natural staple fiber, and so is prone to shedding. Staple fibers are short, and so many are left “unattached” during the manufacturing process. Some fibers shed from the carpet will diminish over time, and shedding does not mean that your carpet is falling apart.
Wool’s flame resistance is worthy of note because it differs significantly from synthetic fibers in this regard. Wool will not burn; rather it will char (blacken). For example, a lit cigarette dropped on the carpet will likely leave a noticeable mark, but will not cause the carpet to go up in flames.
Installation of carpet right in front of a wood-burning fireplace or stove is discouraged due to the sparks that may jump out and land on the floor. However, if you do choose to have carpet installed around the hearth, wool carpet is likely your best option due to its flame resistance.
As mentioned above, wool is highly absorbent. While this is not a desirable trait when it comes to staining, it can be beneficial for the household environment. When the air is humid, the wool carpet will absorb the excess moisture in the air. Consequently, when the air is drier, the fibers will release the moisture, thereby helping to keep the home’s moisture levels in balance.
For exceptionally damp areas, such as bathrooms or damp basements, wool carpet may not be suitable, as it may never completely dry out, and could cause problems associated with the moisture retention, including mildew and mold.
In humid climates, with consistent year-round temperature and humidity levels, the use of a dehumidifier in the home would be recommended to avoid the same dangers of mildew and mold.
Burritt Bros and Wool
Here at Burritt Bros, we have been known for our wool carpets for many decades. Wool is seen by many as an investment. When selected according to household conditions and properly maintained, it is true that wool carpeting can last for many years.