Here at Modsy, we’re big fans of wool rugs. When walking people through how to choose a rug, we turn to wool over and over again. In fact, if we could only choose one rug material for the rest of our lives, it would be wool. Why, you ask? Well, there are so many reasons that wool is our MVP rug material.
Today, we’re breaking down the benefits of wool carpeting and unpacking why this hard-working natural fiber is one of our favorites. Read on for some wool rug pros and cons to help you see if a wool rug is right for you.
Here are 6 reasons to love wool rugs and wool carpets:
1. Wool Rugs Are Durable and Long-Lasting
When you invest your money into something for your home, you want it to last, right? Right. Well, with a wool rug, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. While they tend to cost more on the front end, the durability of wool makes these rugs very long-lasting—so, the “cost-per-use” breakdown ends up being much less over time than with a less expensive rug. Wool rugs can last well over 50 years if you treat them well, so while they’re an investment, you’ll get to enjoy them for a longer period of time than with other rug materials. There’s a reason why so many of the antique and vintage rugs you see out there are 100% wool—because it’s a material that’s made to last and has stood the test of time!
One notable area that this durability shows up is in how easily wool recovers from indenting caused by the pressure of furniture legs. Over the lifespan of a wool rug, you’ll inevitably move once or twice—and, in moving, you’ll likely uncover some deep indents in your rug from your furniture legs. But the elasticity of wool fibers means that it will easily spring back into shape!
2. Wool is Non-Toxic and Antimicrobial
Wool—which comes from sheep—is an all-natural material and is naturally non-toxic. And, with so many toxins floating around in the world, it’s nice to have one less thing to worry about! It’s also naturally antimicrobial—which essentially means it cleans itself. When something is antimicrobial, it means that it inhibits or kills the growth of microorganisms. So, you won’t find mold, mildew, bacteria, or mites growing on your wool rugs. This also helps wool resist absorbing odors, which keeps your rug and room smelling more fresh!
Bonus: Wool also naturally has very high levels of nitrogen and a high water content, which makes wool flame-resistant as well!
3. Wool is an Environmentally Friendly and Renewable Resource
In addition to being a natural material, it’s worth noting that wool is a renewable resource. Adult sheep naturally produce wool year-round and are shorn about once a year. Shearing doesn’t hurt a sheep—and, in fact, it’s quite necessary for a sheep’s health and hygiene. Excess wool can impede a sheep’s ability to regulate its temperature, causing overheating, and can also trap urine and feces which attracts pests. So, shearing a sheep is a necessary and compassionate practice, and results in beautiful, environmentally friendly products. (If only an annual haircut for us yielded such great results!)
But it is a process to turn wool into rugs (or any other wool product, like clothing or blankets). After shearing, wool must be washed, sorted, carded, combed, spun, formed into yarn, and then dyed before it can be woven into a rug. This lengthy process is one of the reasons we cite when customers ask us, “why are rugs so expensive?”
4. Wool Rugs Are Easier to Clean Than Other Materials
Wool fibers have a waxy outer coating which is what helps make wool antimicrobial. But this same coating helps wool repel liquids—a wonderful quality when it comes to rugs! If you spill anything on a wool rug, liquid will be slow to absorb, and in some cases it even rolls right off. So, you can easily dab and soak up any spills before they soak into your rug. Just make sure you get to it quickly so you don’t tempt fate! But even if you find a spill after it’s dried, a solution of dish soap and water can pick up most stains in a wool rug!
This stain-resistant quality makes wool rugs great for homes with kids and pets, where spills and messes are inevitable. And it’s also a great material for rugs in high-traffic areas. (Just opt for a low-pile wool rug in these areas, which will be easier to vacuum and clean!)
Read Next: How to Clean Your Upholstery
5. Wool Rugs Are Resistant to Color Fading
The same natural coating that makes wool antimicrobial and water resistant also helps its color absorption and retention—which is a great quality for dyed and colorful wool rugs. If you buy a wool rug that wasn’t chemically treated during the production process, you’ll find that the wool will be extremely fade-resistant—resulting in beautiful, brilliantly colored rugs for years and years. (Chemically processed wool removes its natural protective properties, which makes it more susceptible to color fading, but leaves the wool softer and silkier.) So, even in antique wool rugs you’ll still see rich, saturated colors because wool holds onto color so well. However, to help the color last as long as possible, keep your rug—wool, or any other material—out of constant, direct sunlight.
6. Wool Rugs Are Highly Versatile
Wool rugs are highly versatile, and you can almost certainly find a wool rug in your preferred style. They’re made in both high and low-pile designs, so you can find a wool rug at the plushness you desire. They’re also made in a wide variety of colors and patterns. From vintage-inspired to modern, geometric to organic, patterned or solid-colored—you can find a wool rug to suit your style and color scheme.
Other Wool Rug Considerations
Some people may call these the cons of wool. Others might just classify them as things to con-sider before purchasing. Either way, keep these three things in mind when shopping for a wool rug!
Like we mentioned earlier, wool rugs tend to be more expensive than other rug materials. Among natural fiber rugs, wool is just behind silk as the most expensive material. And wool rugs tend to be significantly more expensive than synthetic fibers. But when it comes to natural vs synthetic rugs, we really do believe that wool rugs pay for themselves over time with how long they last. So, if you can stretch your budget to get a wool rug, we’d encourage you to do so.
Wool sheds a lot at first. It does come from an animal, after all—and most animals shed! However, with the way wool is woven into rugs, the shedding decreases over time. Regular vacuuming can help mitigate shedding and keep your rug looking fresh. Shoot for a quick vacuum about three times a week! One other thing to note: hand-knotted rugs shed less than power-loomed wool rugs. So, look at the production process of a rug if this is a concern!
Some people are allergic to wool—so, obviously that’s something you’d want to consider before purchasing a wool rug. If it’s a significant allergy, we’d recommend skipping this material in your home decor altogether. Cotton and silk are great alternatives if you want to stay in the natural fibers realm. However, for someone with a mild allergy to wool and only flares up with direct contact, you could still opt for a wool rug if you feel the benefits outweigh the allergy—but be cautious about how you interact with it. Basically, avoid sitting or laying directly on the rug, and rinse off after cleaning your wool rug.
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