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When your wool rug sheds more than your cat

We wanted to title this article “The care and feeding of your pet rug”, because honestly, there are times when you find yourself walking around with little shed-fibres stuck to your black pants, and it feels like you’ve added a new fur baby to the family. Does that mean a switch to synthetic area rugs only? Of course not! What is does mean, is that like a pet, your wool rug may need special care.


As wall-to-wall carpeting has fallen out of favour, area rugs remain in vogue. Even people who love hardwood flooring or laminate usually add an area rug or two. They’re great for giving the little ones a soft place to play, add texture and colour to your home’s décor and are an incredible asset when you need help defining an open-concept space.

Caring for Your Wool Rug

Chances are, if you’ve purchased a wool rug rather than a synthetic, you already know the advantages of selecting a natural fibre. They are warm and soft underfoot, flame resistant, long lasting, and since wool is a renewable fibre, they are considered environmentally friendly. That said, since a wool rug sheds, it also tends to require more care than a synthetic rug.
Before we start talking about how to reduce the shedding, you should know that most wool rugs shed. Some rugs shed more than others, or for a longer span of time. Here are some ways to fight the fluff:

1. Use a Rug Pad
Your first line of defense against your wool rug’s shedding is to add a good quality rug pad. The pad will absorb some of the shock when the rug is walked on, and can help prevent excess shedding.

When choosing a rug pad, it’s best to select a size that’s one inch less in length and width, to ensure that it’s completely covered by the rug.

2. Groom Your Rug
As with the care of a furry house pet, your wool rug also needs to be groomed. There are specially-made rug combs, brushes, and rakes that can be used to removes loose fibres without damaging the rug. Groom it weekly, or as needed.

3. Vacuum Gently 1-2 times per week
Daily vacuuming is not going to make your rug shed less. A regular 1-2 times per week with a low-pressure vacuum is sufficient. Ensure that your vacuum isn’t at a “close to the ground” setting and, if you can, turn the beater brush off. These steps will help you avoid any unnecessary pulling on the rug, which can dislodge more fibres (aka worsen the shedding).

4. Move your Rug to a Low Traffic Area
If possible, move your wool rug to a lower traffic area in your home. If it’s in a space that tends to be frequented by kids or guests, the movement through these areas can exacerbate the shedding.

5. Get Rid of Your Black Clothing (just kidding?)
Again, like pet hair, the fibres shed by your wool rug are naturally attracted to your clothing: socks, pants, you name it. If your clothes are black and your rug is lighter …let’s just say you may want to carry a lint brush.

Honestly, the message here is not to let the nuisance of light shedding detract from your enjoyment of a beautiful wool rug. The good news is that most wool rugs stop shedding after a while. The not so good news is that “a while” can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of years. It really depends on the quality of wool used in the rug

—Explore to connect with local flooring experts and other home improvement contractors.

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