Shedding Rug? What You Need to Know!

A shedding rug can be concerning. But rugs can shed for a number of reasons. It could be due to bad construction, bad fibre quality, or bad rug care. Today we are going to discuss the reasons why your rug might shed and tips on how to help.

shedding rug tools

Wool and Silk Hand Knotted Rugs

Hand knotted rugs are often sheared after the weaving process. This creates the ideal pile height for that style of rug. However the shearing process can leave small fibres behind that can be seen as “shedding” when the rug is new. While most rug houses will wash their rugs after they are created in order to remove this residue, even the best attention to detail can miss these tiny offcuts.

High quality rugs should stop “shedding” very shortly after sale, as any loose threads and offcuts will be vacuumed up. If the shedding does not stop, this could be the sign of a poor quality rug.

It takes a certain amount of strength to twist and hand knot a wool or silk rug. As a result, traditional hand knotted rugs should not shed unless they have sustained serious damage – such as heavy traffic, moth damage or water damage.

However, even if a rug has good quality wool or silk, the shearing process might not be high quality. This will cause the makers to miss some strands in the process. These missed strands can pop up when using the rug or vacuuming it, making those areas of the rug look rough or clawed at.

Need to know the difference between poor quality, brittle wool or a good rug with a bad haircut? Gently tug at the fibre pulls or “sprouts”. If the wool is bad, they will pull apart and pull free of the rug. If the construction is bad, the entire knot will be pulled free. However, if the thread was simply missed during shearing, it should stay firm. Simply take your scissors and trim the thread down.

Shedding from Shaggy or Chunky Wool Rugs

At the core, wool is short strands woven together to create longer stand creations. The longer and bigger the wool construction, the more likely the short strands are going to pull loose. Shaggy and chunky wool rugs, like all rugs, can either be high quality or poor quality. Good quality rugs will stop shedding after a few months as all the “loose” strands will pull free and away as the rug is used.

Poor quality rugs, however, will shed their entire lifetime and will wear down thinner in high traffic areas as the strands will break with use.

For shaggier wool rugs, you can use a horse hair brush to groom your rug and pull away loose strands as vacuuming can be an issue with these rugs.

shedding rug

Tufted Rugs and Shedding

Tufted rugs are held together with a latex glue backing. The backs of these rugs are also covered with material. These rugs are sometimes made from wool not considered strong enough to use in hand knotted rugs. Use your thumbnail to strongly scratch the front wool fibres. You can break them apart and the texture of the wool is scratchy instead of soft.

However, if your rug is made with high quality wool or silk and is carefully hooked and looped, then shedding can be due to heavy traffic, an overly aggressive vacuum, or moth damage. Low quality fibres are more likely to break than high quality fibres, but even high quality wool will break with constant friction.

Jute and Sisal Shedding Rugs

Natural fibre rugs do not have the longevity of wool, silk or even cotton. They do not have the flexibility and durability of other rugs, so they break and shed in higher traffic areas. These fibres splinter and fray in the process of creating braids, large knots or basket weaves which is how these rugs are formed. Because natural fibres have a straw-like texture, they can snap and break easily in high traffic areas.

You can also use a horse hair brush to loosen up small pieces of loose fibre from these rugs. Follow that up with a hand vacuum tool to pick up the tiny, broken pieces. However, these rugs will continue to shed and wear down under heavy foot traffic. As a result, it is important to rotate jute and sisal rugs, to even out wear and shedding.

Artificial Silk Rugs Can Shed, Too!

Viscose and other artificial silk variety rugs have the weakest fibres of all the rug types on the market. They are comprised from chemically processed wood pulp and cotton waste by-products. As a result, they are more likely to shed and have fibre pulls. When placed in high traffic areas they can look as if the rug has been clawed by cats. You can easily pull the strands apart on these rugs as they have no strength.

Artificial silk rugs will continue to shed. As a result, they are considered disposable decorative rugs. Adding a fibre protector to these rugs can slightly help lessen the extent of damage. Avoid using a vacuum cleaner on these rugs as they will be quickly damaged. Instead, use a hand vacuum and vacuum the rug gently and as often as you sweep your floors.

Need your rug professionally and safely cleaned? Contact the team at Woods Rug Laundry today for more information!