The Benefits of Wool Carpeting

Wool is a popular carpeting choice for many reasons, some lesser known than others. Most buyers know that wool is one of the most durable carpet fibers and retains its attractive appearance for many years. The natural elasticity of wool endures wear and compression, and its bulk resists crushing and matting. Wool carpets last longer and, with proper care, look great years after synthetic carpets need to be replaced. Lesser known benefits of choosing a wool carpet include the following:

Wool is energy efficient and absorbs noise. Wool traps air between fibers making it a good insulator that retains heat for a warm and cozy house. Energy costs from both heating and air conditioning are reduced and so are carbon emissions. The dense cortex and trapped air reduce noise in the room, room-to-room and floor-to-floor. Sound absorption is one of the main reasons wool carpeting is used in airplanes and hotels.

Wool carpeting naturally resists compaction. The structure of a wool fiber is naturally coiled giving it a built-in "bounce-back" or resiliency. Synthetic carpets have resiliency through artificial means that can be lost over time. This gives wool carpets longevity that can outlast synthetic fiber carpets.

Wool is flame resistant. Because of its high water and nitrogen content, it is one of the safest flooring choices. Wool is difficult to ignite, does not melt, does not emit noxious fumes, burns slowly, and is self-extinguishing.

Wool is soil resistant. Its oils and scaled structure keep dirt from penetrating the fiber. Soil stays on the surface, and wool releases soil more easily than synthetic fibers. Thus, wool carpets look nicer and clean up with less effort and better results.

Wool creates a healthier environment. It removes airborne pollutants and allergens and traps dust. Wool does not promote the growth bacteria or give off harmful emissions. It also regulates humidity naturally by absorbing moisture when a room is damp and releasing moisture when a room is dry.

Wool retains color. As wool retains dye in the center of the fiber, it holds and maintains rich and complex colors without deteriorating. This characteristic of wool makes it a better carpet investment over time than synthetic carpets that must be replaced more frequently.

Wool has natural safety features. In addition to being soft and luxurious – and fire resistant -- wool resists static build up thanks to a high moisture content. It is a slip free fabric and cushions falls, which is especially important when a household includes small children and elderly people.

Wool is natural, sustainable, and biodegradable. Sheep continuously grow wool, which can be shorn every nine to 12 months. Shearing does not hurt or harm sheep in any way. The sheep's diet is grass, so wool is produced naturally. Synthetic fibers require refineries and oil, a non-renewable source of energy. Wool is made from keratin, a tough insoluble natural protein with a unique structure that decomposes without harming the planet. It releases valuable nutrients such as nitrogen and also stabilizes the ground to protect new plantings.

The quality of wool is influenced by breed, climate, diet, gender, age, health, and shearing techniques of sheep, so wool buyers have specialized knowledge that allows them to select the best wool for the product. Wool was the main fabric used for carpets until the 20th Century, so thousands of years of work by a multitude of artisans have perfected the craft of making beautiful carpets with a long life-span.

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