A Guide to Wool Carpets
Wool carpets have been a popular choice for many years. Synthetic fiber carpets are becoming common, but wool retains its position in the carpeting industry.
It comes in a variety of qualities and price points. It’s best to understand wool’s characteristics before making a purchase. You also get to know how wool carpets stack up with other options.
Wool Carpets at a Glance
Wool carpets are natural fiber carpets made from sheep hair. Wool’s durability and aesthetic make it a popular choice for homes and offices. Despite its soft texture, wool is a hard-wearing carpet fiber.
The high-end carpet material outlasts synthetic fibers. Most manufacturers and retailers give wool carpets a life expectancy of 20-50 years.
Wool Carpet Types
There are two types of wool carpets to choose from. One type comprises 100% wool, while the other uses a blend of wool and other fibers.
1. 100% Wool Carpet
Natural wool carpets, also known as 100% wool carpets, are woven from pure wool fibers. They’re hand-made and feel soft on both sides. New Zealand wool is the best natural fiber. It’s white and stronger than wool from Britain or elsewhere.
A wool carpet is easy to vacuum and maintain. It’s resistant to soiling, but the fiber absorbs liquid spills and stains. In such an incident, you should treat the spill immediately.
The downside with 100% wool carpets is that they shed. Wool carpets also burn when exposed to flames, so avoid placing one near a fireplace.
2. Wool Blend
The wool blend carpet comprises 80% wool and 20% synthetic fiber. Synthetic fibers enhance the carpet’s stain resistance and reduce shedding. Nylon, propylene, and polyester are synthetic fibers common in wool blend carpets.
Wool and silk blend carpets are also popular for their unique patterns and resilience. When choosing a wool-blend carpet or rug, check the percentage of the wool fiber. Higher wool content offers better insulation and desirable wool properties.
How to Clean a Wool Carpet
Wool carpet fibers are short and delicate. Avoid using harsh cleaning solutions, bleaches, and scrubbing the carpet.
Vacuum your wool carpet at least twice every month. It keeps dirt and grime from adhering to the fibers and restores the carpet pile. Spread out the carpet on your patio and vacuum on both sides.
It’s best to use a cylindrical brush vacuum cleaner. You can also shake off loose dirt from wool carpets. Hang it over your clothesline and use a broom to hit the carpet.
2. Carpet Extractor
Professionals use a carpet extractor to deep clean wool rugs. While steam cleaning carpets is effective, avoid using hot water and harsh detergents. Run the extractor over the carpet to avoid flooding in the area.
Dry your wool carpet in an airy space to prevent mold and mildew growth. If kept wet for a long time, wool carpets can also develop an unpleasant odor.
3. Household Detergents
A gentle household detergent can clean up wool carpet stains. Avoid using detergents with chlorine, ammonia, or other bleaches on your wool carpet.
- Mix your household detergent with a bucket of cold water. Dip a sponge in the water and use it to scrub your carpet.
- Use a second sponge dipped in plain water to rinse the soap and dirt. To avoid over wetting your carpet, work in small sections.
- Hang the rug outside to speed up the drying time.
Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning and maintenance instructions. When using a wool carpet in high-traffic areas, it’s best to seek professional cleaning services. Deep cleaning your carpet at least once a year helps increase its longevity.
4. Wool Carpet Stain Removal Tips
You should treat liquid spills immediately to avoid staining your wool carpet. Use vinegar and cool water to dampen a clean cloth, then dab the affected area. Blot the spill with a dry cloth till the carpet dries. You can also use salt to remove red wine and fruit juice spills.
When spot cleaning, don’t rub the liquid on other carpet areas. It causes the stain to spread and penetrate deeper into the fibers. Instead, use a round spoon to scoop up the liquid, rinse and blot the area dry.
Wool Carpets Pros & Cons
Natural wool carpets have several advantages over synthetic options. But they also have some undesirable properties. As a result, manufacturers blend wool with other fibers to improve the carpet’s quality.
- Durable – With proper maintenance, a wool carpet outlasts synthetic carpets and other flooring options. Wool has high resilience, which makes it bounce back when stepped on. As a result, wool carpets retain their original pile height in high-traffic areas.
- Resistant to Soiling and Dirt – The outer scales on wool fibers repel dirt and dust particles. Solid fibers are also effective at hiding dirt, which reduces the need for frequent vacuuming.
- Sustainable – Production of wool carpets is energy efficient, unlike synthetic carpets. As an organic fiber, wool is biodegradable. The fiber decomposes when disposed of and is recycled without harming the environment. Wool carpets are also more durable and require fewer replacements.
- Hypoallergenic – Wool is the ideal carpet fiber for homeowners with allergies. It absorbs moisture from the air and traps dust as well. Rooms with wool carpeting have less smoke, dust, pollen, and allergens produced by dust mites. Vacuuming also releases particles from the carpet fibers.
- Insulation – Wool’s insulation properties make it a sought-after fabric for carpeting and winter clothes. It has millions of tiny air pockets, which trap heat between the fibers. Wool carpets are warm and cozy during winter and cushion against outside noise.
- Expensive – Natural wool is one of the most expensive carpeting options despite its sustainability. Most homeowners settle for synthetic carpets within their budget. Combining wool with nylon or polyester makes the carpet affordable without ruining its desirable characteristics.
Natural vs. Blended Wool Carpets
Wool blend carpets have many desirable properties. They also cost less than pure wool carpets. Nylon and wool blends are the most popular. Both fabrics are best-performing fibers, which makes the carpet durable.
However, blending a wool carpet makes it less soft than a natural one. The carpet attains a different texture from nylon, olefin, acrylic, or polyester. Blending synthetic fibers creates a less desirable quality compared to natural options.
Wool Carpet vs. Synthetic Carpet
Choosing between wool and synthetic carpets comes down to use and durability. While nylon and polyester are less durable, they offer better stain resistance. A synthetic one would suffice when buying a carpet for your kids’ rooms or the dining area.
If you want a luxurious carpet for your bedroom, consider getting a wool carpet. Wool carpets maintain their original appearance over a 20–25 year lifespan. Synthetic carpets, however, need a replacement every 3-5 years.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How often should I clean a wool carpet?
It’s necessary to deep clean a wool carpet once every year. Deep cleaning removes all embedded dirt and stains and should be done by professional cleaners. You can also restore the look of your wool carpet by vacuuming it twice every month.
How long do wool carpets last?
Wool carpets have a lifespan of 25 years. High-quality wool carpets last up to 50 years without losing their aesthetic appeal. The structure of wool fiber gives it resilience from foot traffic and furniture marks.
What’s the difference between wool and polypropylene carpets?
Propylene carpets are treated to attain great stain resistance. Unlike wool carpet production, these chemical treatments emit hazardous chemicals into the air. While wool carpets are softer and more luxurious, they’re more difficult to maintain.
Can I use a wool carpet with underfloor heating?
Wool carpets are thick and have more thermal resistance. As such, the carpet may not transfer heat as effectively. When using underfloor heating, choose a wool carpet with a lower R-value (thermal resistance).
Wool carpeting is a good choice for any home. Despite being more expensive than synthetic carpets, wool is more hardwearing. Natural wool carpets are hand-made, making them an eco-friendly flooring option.
When selecting a natural wool carpet, check the color and purity of the fiber. A good quality carpet costs around $15 per square foot, with lower qualities costing around $5 per square foot.