Wool is the king of rug fibers, for many reasons.
1) It’s STRONG. In durability tests it takes more than 10,000 bends to break a wool fiber. (In comparison, silk is 2,400 times before breakage, and rayon/viscose – the WORST fiber on the planet – breaks in 70.)
2) It’s VIBRANT when dyed. You have a huge variance in color possibilities with wool, it accepts and holds color amazingly well, and if it is very good quality wool it will have a fantastic sheen with that color. If you see tribal rugs you know what I mean here, great wool looks like really healthy, shiny hair.
3) It’s naturally fire resistant and spill resistant. Wool fibers won’t carry a flame, so they self-extinguish (unlike some synthetic fibers that burn like crazy). It also has a natural moisture repellency. This means when you spill on it, the liquid will be suspended for a time before it soaks into the fibers. So when you spill on a rug, if you blot it up quickly, you are often just fine.
4) Over time it gets a fantastic PATINA and look to it. Wool rugs age beautifully, at least the ones with great quality wool and dyes do. We have rugs come into our shop that are 100 plus years old, and they look fantastic.
5) They are SUSTAINABLE and the ultimate GREEN choice. Wool comes from sheep, which need to be raised and bred out in the countryside, and every year there is more fibers to sheer. It grows back. Synthetic fibers (nylon, olefin, etc.) are petroleum products (plastic) – and do not have the great look, feel, or strength as wool. If you are looking for the choice that is a better product, and also better for the planet, then wool is the winner here.
If this is a pro/con list, then one “con” is that pets LOVE natural fibers. They remind them of their fellow furry friends. So dogs do tend to be drawn to your wool rugs. And if they are not properly trained, then pet stains on wool rugs are very tough to remove. Sometimes impossible to remove.
Other than that, there is nothing more gorgeous, rich, and attractive as a great old rug.
Wool rugs… whether chosen as art for your home (like these older pieces), investment pieces to hand down to your kids, or simply an attractive, strong, elegant choice for your room – you really can’t go wrong here. Wool is the best choice for a rug if you are really, truly are looking for the best.