Many of us have, from time to time, seen odd bands in our carpets. These bands stretch across the entire width of the device, spaced out closely at first but then farther and farther apart as the rug goes on. These marks are somewhat mysterious in nature, as they often simply appear, particularly in the winter. However, they’re really nothing to worry about. They’re simply what are called ‘crush marks,’ compressions caused by the carpet’s weight. To get rid of them, steam only the areas of the carpet where the marks have developed. Unfortunately, carpets made of polypropylene or olefin will not respond to this treatment. On such rugs these marks are basically permanent. On the other hand, crush marks which develop on nylon rugs will often just go away on their own with time. This is a very common problem, one seen on a wide variety of rugs in a number of desperate applications. Unless you have a polypropylene or olefin carpet, it is also completely treatable.
If you’ve purchased a carpet composed of spun yarn you’ve likely encountered shedding, the separating of loose fibers from the remainder of a given rug. Many people believe shedding to be a defect or a problem, when it is in fact a perfectly natural process. Spun yarn is composed of short fibers of wool, nylon or a variety of other materials, all of which shed easily. Generally this problem will resolve itself over time, with fiber loss occurring far less frequently later in a rug’s lifespan. Still, the sight of a carpet going through this process can be worrisome. As such, let’s go over why and how shedding occurs, as this will explain its presence.
- Thickness: The thicker and heavier the yarn the more easily it will shed.
- Tightness: The tighter the fibers that make up your rug are twisted together, the less likely the product is to shed, as the fibers are being effectively held in place.
- Use: Generally, high traffic areas will experience shedding faster, so if there’s a part of your rug that people step on with more frequency, perhaps a portion of it which lies in front of a doorway or a commonly used item, that area is very likely to shed.
- Vacuuming: Areas which do not experience heavy traffic are more vulnerable than the rest of the rug when it comes to the influence of a vacuum cleaner. During the process of vacuuming, these areas will likely give up a good deal of fiber, so be sure to use a cleaner with an adjustable brush. In fact, when cleaning a carpet of any kind one should only use vacuums marked with the CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) seal of approval.
Remember, though shedding can look scary, with balls of fiber resting on the surface of your carpet to seemingly advertise its decline, it’s a perfectly natural process. Just because you see some loose fibers on recently cleaned or highly trafficked areas, that doesn’t mean that your rug is falling apart. If you’ve purchased a rug with thick, loosely twisted, short yarn, then shedding is less of a possibility than it is a guarantee. Don’t be worried when you see it, and certainly don’t throw your rug away. It’s a normal, non-destructive process that many rugs go through early in their lives.