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Rug Shedding + What to Avoid

Floorplan Rugs Wants You To Know Why Your Rug Is Shedding

Months of pinning ideas for your new décor. Countless hours searching for the rug that will tie it all together. And then success — Just the right thing for just the right price. But when you get it home, there’s a problem. The rug sheds. And sheds. And sheds. And no amount of vacuuming or brushing seems to alleviate the problem. 

What causes a rug to shed?

Sometimes, shedding happens briefly with a new rug and will stop within a couple of months, after light vacuuming and normal wear. If your rug is still shedding, then there are two main contributing factors:

The material and the make. 

There are two main factors that influence shedding

Material

Even among wool, it is not all the same quality. Sheep that are reared high in the mountains have long hair, naturally rich with lanolin wool to keep them warm and comfortable in high altitudes.  Wool from these high-altitude sheep is used to weave rugs of a very high, durable quality. Wool from the sheep in lower lands tends to be coarser than their highland cousins and is of a lesser quality. If these sheep are sheered too often and the wool is left short, in order to make the yarn usable, adhesives will be added to bring these short wool pieces together. The adhesive breaks down over time, and these little pieces begin to shed. 

Make

There are a number of different ways to make a rug, and the difference in quality comes down to whether a rug is:

Hand-made rugs are crafted from techniques that give structural integrity to pieces: hand-knotted rugs are made from hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of threads knotted to the rug’s cotton or wool foundation. Hand-woven rugs are made by repeatedly passing a warp through the carpet’s weft. These techniques insure that every part of the rug is integral to the rug’s structure, and therefore, less likely to come apart. 

More modern techniques are more about assembling pieces than weaving strong, durable rugs. For example, in hand-tufting, a tufting gun is used to shoot fabric “tufts” through a plastic grid. These rugs need to be backed with a polymer or glue to keep the tufts in place. Not only is the wool of lesser quality, the backing material can deteriorate and both the backing and pile will begin to shed. Machine-made rugs are made at incredible speed on a machine similar to a newspaper ream, and usually from polymer-based materials to survive this process. These synthetic materials breakdown as would other petroleum-based materials. 

When you combine lower quality wool or synthetic materials with modern rug-making techniques, it’s not uncommon for your rug to shed. 

So what do you do about it?

The best defense is a good offense: buy a hand-knotted or hand-woven rug made of natural materials. 

If that’s not an option or it’s too late for that, then you need to play good defense. There’s no perfect method to stopping shedding, but you can reduce it by preventing any further damage to your rug. 

When A Rug Sheds, It's Time To Play Defense

  1. Lightly vacuum it regularly, going with the grain of the pile and not against it.
  2. Make sure not to use a heavy beater bar or have the vacuum on the setting closest to the ground.
  3. Use a high-quality rug pad under the rug to absorb shock and reduce further damage to the pile.
  4. If possible, move it to a low-traffic area. 

Remember, a tufted rug is not meant to last more than a few years, so when it’s time to upgrade, remember to buy a hand-knotted rug, or a hand-woven one. If you’re looking for a bargain, even consider a hand-loomed rug. Always look for natural materials.

Ready for a house with rugs that don't shed? Shop our vast collection of handmade rugs.


Erin Eisinger
Erin Eisinger

Author

Floorplan CEO and Co-Founder. Designer. Storyteller. Entrepreneur.



4 Comments

JOEYFINGERS
JOEYFINGERS

June 29, 2017

Is there anything that can be sprayed on the rug to slow down the shedding? Like scotchgard

Pamela Neubacher
Pamela Neubacher

June 06, 2017

Our hand tufted Wayfair rug arrived yesterday. It’s made of viscose bamboo, not wool. It looks great, but today I noticed clumps of fuzz. It’s shedding like an angora cat. We have a good rug pad, and have hardly walked on it at all. I called the Wayfair and they are going to send a replacement. However, having read this, I assume we may have the same problem. Bummer.

Courtney Fladger
Courtney Fladger

February 02, 2017

Thank you for the very informative article. I am very happy that I read it before purchasing a rug.

Stephanie Arcella
Stephanie Arcella

January 10, 2017

What about a “hand-tufted” rug? I’m so worried about this one and whether it will shed…https://www.wayfair.com/Momeni-Harmony-Sage-Floral-Area-Rug-MM4153.html

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