Owning an oriental rug cleaning shop we see rugs from all over the world come in for cleaning. Some rugs are hand woven, some are machine made, some are made of synthetic fibers, some natural fibers and some are even made of pantyhose (yes, pantyhose). However, one fiber is better suited to rugs then all the rest, wool. Why is this the case? What makes wool fibers so desirable in a rug? The reasons listed below come from years of experience in the oriental rug cleaning industry.
First, wool fibers are very durable. The cuticles up and down a wool fiber allow them to bend easily without breaking. These fibers will stand up to years of foot traffic when they are properly cared for. We routinely see wool rugs come in our oriental rug cleaning shop in Houston that are over 50 years old and still look great. Since wool fibers accept and hold dye easily the colors on rugs can look great for generations. Just like other fine antiques, a fine wool rug will pick up a little patina over the years and really take on a character all it’s on. Machine made rugs with synthetic fibers will not be able to stand the test of time like a fine hand-knotted wool rug.
Another reason why wool is great for rugs is that it is fire resistant. Unlike many synthetic fibers that will burn, wool fiber will not hold a flame. Wool also has some natural oils in it that give it some protection against liquids that are spilled on it. Usually just blotting up the spill quickly will take care of the problem. Although, periodic oriental rug cleaning is still recommended.
Lastly, another great attribute of wool is that it is great for the environment, it’s a renewable resource. Wool comes from sheep. These sheep are kind of like people, they need haircuts every once in a while. After the haircut the wool is then cleaned and turned into fibers that could eventually end up on your living room floor. The sheep then go back to grazing and growing more hair so the process can start over.