Copyright © 2007 Rugs Direct®
Although many fine-quality area rugs are made of fibers other than wool, to a purist - especially when it comes to Oriental rugs - there is nothing that matches the natural beauty and properties of natural wool. But not just any wool, mind you. It even matters from which part of the sheep the wool is taken, where the sheep was raised and even how old it is!
Wool from the shoulder and flank sections is regarded as the most desirable fleece on a sheep. Sheep from high, mountainous regions have longer fleece, which is also highly desirable. There is debate over whether wool taken in the winter or summer is better. Winter fleece can create thicker and heavier wool, while spring fleece is softer and finer. Each has its own benefits. Lambs that are between eight and 14 months old produce a very excellent wool called "kork." It is very thin and silky and actually became popular in England before finding its way to the Middle East.
So why is wool considered such a superior material for area rugs? There are seven generally agreed-upon reasons:
- Wool resists wrinkles. It is resilient and springs back into shape quickly.
- Wool resists soiling. Because the fiber is so complex, dirt and stains have a hard time penetrating it.
- Wool is durable. Again, because of the multi-part, complex fiber, it resists wear better than almost any other natural or most man-made materials.
- Wool repels moisture. Liquids simple don't penetrate wool very well. It actually sheds water.
- Wool retains its shape. The same properties that help wool resist wrinkles also help it keep its shape and size.
- Wool resists flames. It is amazingly fire-retardant and does not support sustained combustion.
- Wool insulates. Just like wool clothing is comfortable in all seasons because of the layer of air it keeps next to the skin, wool rugs insulate the floor from any major temperature changes.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, wool is an all-natural fiber that is completely renewable and recyclable. You can enjoy your all-wool area rug free from guilt! And about how many products can you comfortably say that today?