Carpet shedding. What you need to know.


Carpet shedding. What you need to know.

Shedding Rug fibers

Detachment of carpet fibers. These are easily released because the mat is cheaply made.

Carpets can come off for a variety of reasons. Shedding can be due to poor fiber quality, poor construction quality, or poor owner care.

I get emails on a weekly basis asking what to do with a dead carpet. Here’s an overview of comMOn carpet reMOval scenarios and if there are any tips to help.


In the case of hand-knotted rugs, they are often cut after the weaving process to create the ideal pile height for the style. The shearing process itself can leave smAll fibers that can be seen as “flaking” when the carpet is new. The best quality production houses will wash their rugs after they are created to reMOve this residue, but even with this attention to detail, some cut pieces can be lost.

With the best quality rugs, shedding will stop very soon after the sale because the loose threads will be vacuumed up.

The problem with carpet shedding occurs when the shedding does not stop. This is usuAlly the result of poor quality fibers or poor quality construction.

A good quality standard pile height real silk or hand knotted wool rug should not shed.

It takes a certain strength in the wool and silk thread to twist and hand knot a rug. This means that Traditional hand-knotted rugs will not shed unless there has been some type of serious damage to the rug (ie very heavy traffic, water damage, or MOth damage).

Sometimes, in a rug with good quality wool, the cutting process is not of a high quality and the manufacturers lose some threads in the process. These stray strands can show up with general use and vacuuming, and these Areas look as if a cat has scratched the carpet.

Poor Shearing on a good quality rug

A poor cut on a good quality wool rug causes strands to sprout in the field. These can be cut with scissors.

To tell the difference between carpet made from bad, brittle wool, or just a bad haircut with the clipping tool, pull these fiber pulls/buds. If it’s bad wool, it will separate and come loose. If it’s a bad construction, the whole knot will come off. However, if it doesn’t come loose easily, then it’s just a missing thread that needs to be cut. Take your scissors and give the strand a snip.

Pulling a fiber from a rug

When you can easily pull a knot completely out of a rug, it’s poorly done.


People who buy Shag or large thick wool rugs come to believe that all wool rugs shed.

Wool starts out as short staple fibers that are spun, twisted, and gathered into yarn. However, in the center, the wool is short strands mixed with these longer strand creations. This means that the longer and larger the wool construction, the more It’s likely that the owner has loose short strands.

The quality of the wool in these rugs can be very good or very poor. Very good quality rugs will stop shedding after several months, as all the short “loose” piles become loose and shed with use. Very poor quality rugs will shed over their lifetime and wear thinner in high use areas because they break down with use.


Bad wool shedding

Wool breaks in poor condition and sheds in transit areas.


Chunky wool shedding

Wool sheds thick due to its length. Good quality wool, molting will stop. Poor quality wool, will shed throughout its life.

Shedding chunky wool

Shed styles of thick wool.

A tip for Shagier wool rugs is to use a horsehair brush to comb out any loose clumps, as vacuuming can be a problem. A beater bar brush vacuum is never a good choice for these rugs, any vacuum is usually done with a hand tool.

Another tip on thick, Shag rugs is to take the rug outside when landscapers are around, and have them use their leaf blower to fluff up and blow away dust and “stuff.” on those fibers (works much better than a vacuum on these rugs).


Tufted rugs are rugs that are held together with a latex glue backing. These rugs have a material that covers the back.

Shedding tufted wool rug

Indian tufted wool rugs will shed if the quality of the wool is poor.

In India, wool that is not strong enough to be used in hand-knotted rugs is used in lower-quality production wool rugs, such as “hand-knotted” carpeting and “tufted” rugs These are rugs that are sold through online rug stores for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars.

With these rugs, if you take your thumbnail and scratch hard at the front wool fibers, you can break them and the texture of the wool is rough instead of soft to the touch.

Every time I get an email from a consumer complaining that a new carpet is shedding a lot or has odor issues, I know the carpet is 9 times out of 10 from India. (The tenth is from Morocco.)

There are very high quality wool and silk tufted rugs produced by companies such as V’Soske, Edward Fields, Custom Looms and other makers of high value custom tufted rugs. When these rugs have fibers that are pulling out, it is due to heavy traffic, aggressive damage from the beater bar vacuum, or moths.

Shedding high-quality tufted rug

High quality V’Soske tufted rug that has loops that break in a high traffic area. All hook and loop rugs can tear under regular foot traffic.

looped wool rug

The rolled wool custom rug is coming off in traffic areas.

Some tufted rugs are constructed in a hook style, and the loops in areas with heavy foot traffic can break and appear. Obviously, poor quality fibers break mores often with less friction, but even the best quality fibers can break with constant friction. It is extremely important not to use beater bar brush vacuums on hook style rugs or rugs where poor quality fibers have been used.


These fibers do not have the longevity of wool, cotton, or real silk. These fibers also don’t have the flexibility and durability so they will break and flake off in high traffic areas.

These fibers splinter and fray in the process of creating the braids, basketry, or large knots used in the typical styles of these rugs. The fibers have a straw texture and break and break easily in high traffic areas.


Jute braiding causes fiber breakage in the creation process.

Shedding new sisal

New sisal and jute carpet with broken fibers. This will continue in all traffic areas.

Use a horsehair brush to loosen any small pieces, then follow up with a hand vac to help pick up any small broken pieces. Using an upright beater vacuum can sometimes cause too much damage to these rugs.

These are mats that will constantly shed and wear if they are under heavy foot traffic. It is important to rotate them to even out the wear and shedding.


Viscose and all of its faux silk derivatives are the weakest fibers in the rug world today. They are by-products of chemically processed cotton and wood pulp waste, so they are essentially high-gloss newsprint. This means that of all the fibers out there, these are the most prone to shedding and fiber pull. These rugs generally in the high traffic areas seem to have cat pulls as the fibers break down. You can easily separate these threads because they have no strength.

Another negative aspect of these fibers is that when they get wet from a spill, like paper, they stain easily and can turn into “mush” if not cleaned immediately. Simple water spills can sometimes permanently damage the texture and shine of these rugs.

Shedding Viscose Rug

Viscose/rayon rugs are the most problematic in terms of shedding. They are considered “disposable” rugs because of how poorly they perform under normal use.

These rugs will continually shed and are considered “disposable” accent rugs because of these problems. A tip to help protect these rugs is to apply a fiber protector when new to help try to increase the repellency of any spills and prevent you from having to buy another rug when the first spill occurs. Protector will not protect the carpet, but it will help lessen the extent of the damage.

These rugs are also easily damaged by more durable vacuum cleaners. A better option is a lightweight cordless vacuum to help pick up and remove surface dirt and grit without breaking down the carpet fibers.Artificial silk fibers do not have the ability to hide dirt, so they quickly get dirty and show it, so they need to be vacuumed as often as countertops and floors need to be cleaned and swept.

For more information on viscose rugs and all other regenerated cellulose rugs (rayon, bamboo silk, banana silk, and Tencel), here is a post on these types of rugs.

Viscose Rugs

With this overview of the most common shedding scenarios, cleaners can provide their customers with the best advice on how to minimize the problem or advise them to purchase a higher quality carpet.

If you have a molting scenario that you have questions about, feel free to send me a note usingCONTACTform.

The best for you,


Viscose, Bamboo Silk, Banana Silk, Art Silk. What you need to know. Chick rug at home today

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PostingCarpet shedding. What you need to know.first appeared inCarpet Girl.

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