Why Does My Rug Shed?

NZ-01 from Cadence by Loloi

When you get a new rug, do you notice the balls of fiber on your pants legs after you sit on the rug?  What about having a full bag when you are not even half-finished vacuuming?  Do you find yourself sweeping around your rug more often than ever? Rugs tend to shed. Some shed more than others. Some don’t shed at all. It’s all about the fiber and how the rug is made.

Hand-tufted and machine-made rugs are most guilty of shedding. Tufted rugs are basically ones with the fibers poked through the canvas backing. Any movement of the rug will loosen the fibers and allow them to stick to your clothes, or form dust bunnies that pile up in the corners of the room. While tufted rugs tend to produce the most shedding, hand-knotted rugs are almost shed free. Why? Because the fibers are knotted, not loose. The fibers are knotted together so they stay secure even with high foot traffic across the surface.

The rug material also factors into shedding.  Some fibers shed regardless of how the rug is made.

Rug Materials That Shed

Hargis Labyrinth from Carnival by NuLoom

Wool rugs get a bad rap when it comes to shedding, but as long as your wool rug was well made, the shedding should stop after a couple of weeks. Natural fiber rugs, like Jute, Seagrass, Sisal, and Hemp make fantastic rugs, or base rugs when layering, but they are big shedders, too.  The natural fibers can break underfoot and will leave their particles, or fiber dust, under the rug or nearby.  The shedding from these rugs is typically inconsequential and can be cleaned up rather easily.

Synthetic fiber rugs, like acrylic, viscose and nylon rugs, shed less often, but still shed from time to time. Viscose is probably the worst offender of synthetic fibers because this fiber is made from pressed pulp. Their synthetic fibers are easier to break under regular wear and tear.

Sprouting is Not Shedding

Melinda Flatweave from Ingadi by NuLoom

Hand-knotted rugs may show signs of sprouting. This means the twisted fibers are untwisting and since they are straighter, these fibers are higher than the rest of the rug’s pile.  No worries; it is natural for this to happen especially after cleaning.  But, do not pull a strand that has sprouted. It is still knotted and attached to the rest of the rug. Simply clip it with scissors at the same height as the rug pile.

You may find rug fibers after vacuuming your hand-knotted rug.  That is because once the rug is complete, the fibers are sheared to form an even pile.  Some residual breakage from the shearing may be present.

Rugs That Do Not Shed

NZ-01 from Cadence by Loloi

Great rug materials that don’t shed include cotton, leather, animal hide, silk. Cotton rugs are easy to clean and are soft and durable. Many cotton rugs are hand woven, flat woven or braided.

Leather rugs come in the form of either the animal hide with attached hair or strips of hairless leather that is hand-woven, knotted or braided together.  Most people think of animal hide rugs as being in the traditional animal shape. However, many rectangle or square rugs are made of animal hide which is cut into small pieces and handcrafted in a variety of designs including geometric shapes.

Tips to Keep the Shedding to a Minimum

PO-01 from Promenade by Loloi

To combat the problem of shedding here are some tips to keep your home clean.

  • Lightly vacuum.
  • Put high-shedding rugs in low-traffic areas.
  • Layer your rugs. This protects the high-shedders and adds style and color to a room.
  • Follow the care instructions located on the label under the rug.
  • Change rugs regularly throughout your house. This not only gives the rooms a fresh, new look but also extends the life of your rugs.
  • Use a rug pad to protect your floors. A pad will also help trap and hold broken natural fibers between cleanings.
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