Wool is a natural fiber that is ideal for area rugs and carpet because it is naturally durable, resistant to dirt, cleans well and is remarkably flame retardant. Wool is a superior natural fiber that has many benefits that synthetic fibers do not possess.
When viewed under a microscope, a single wool fiber is seen to have interlocking scales that help to protect it from soil and moisture. This unique characteristic of wool fiber is a major factor in the outstanding performance of wool rugs and carpeting.
Characteristics of Wool
- Wool is very durable and resilient and over time it holds up to foot traffic abrasion better than synthetic fibers.
- Is naturally resistant to soil and dirt.
- Is a non-allergenic fiber that does not promote the growth of dust mites or bacteria.
- Is an excellent insulator of sound and temperature.
- Has natural flame retardant properties and is self extinguishing.
- Does not give off harmful emissions.
- Can be recycled, is biodegradable and is a renewable resource.
New Zealand Wool Rugs
One of the great benefits of wool is that it is a renewable resource. A sheep is sheered once per year in the spring, and depending on the breed, will produce anywhere from 3-30 pounds of wool per sheep.
Wool from New Zealand, the Himalayas and British Isles are optimal for rug weaving because of the cooler climate. A cooler climate aids in developing higher lanolin content in the wool. Lanolin is a softening substance in the skin of sheep, and good quality wool rugs have high lanolin content. This enables the fibers to be stronger, more insulating and creates a natural built-in resistance to soil and dirt. Many of the wool rugs and wall to wall carpeting we sell in our store is made of fine New Zealand wool.
Wool Rugs vs. Synthetic Rugs
From a price standpoint synthetic or man made rugs tend to be more economical, but they do not hold up as long as wool rugs. Many hand tufted wool rugs are competitively priced and may be a less expensive alternative to hand knotted rugs. And they are still considered hand made wool rugs.
Wool rugs do shed, so more vacuuming may be necessary, whereas synthetic rugs do not shed. Synthetic rugs are made of petroleum products and are not a renewable resource like wool. Wool rugs typically hold up much longer and will outlast a synthetic rug; therefore is a better investment of your money.
Hand Knotted Wool Rugs vs. Machine Made Wool Rugs
Oriental rug weavers have known for centuries that wool is the optimal fiber for rug weaving, but machine made wool area rugs have been improved to the point that they can compete with some hand knotted rugs. The prices of some top notch machine made wool rugs such as Karastan and Nourison are comparable to the pricing of some hand knotted Oriental rugs. The options for wool rugs in both categories is tremendous!
Care of Wool Rugs
Wool rugs are fairly easy to care for. We recommend a professional rug cleaning every 3-5 years, depending on soiling. Regular washing will bring our the softness of the wool and refresh the colors. Moth proofing is also a service we offer that may be necessary for your wool rugs if you notice moths or larvae in your home. Wool rugs can also have a stain guard treatment applied to help with spills.
Wool rugs have always been a mainstay at Mark Gonsenhauser’s Rug and Carpet Superstore and the selection we offer is unlimited! Affordable wool rugs are plentiful in our inventory so come by our Virginia Beach rug store and our knowledgeable staff will show you all of your options!