In carpet fibers and other applications, wool's texture and resilience enable it to recover well from crushing, resist soiling, and clean readily. Its unique fiber construction provides natural flame-resistance and high durability, resulting in a product that retains its appearance for years.
Wool is a complex fiber that has evolved over thousands of years with sheep to protect them from a wide range of climatic conditions.
Wool cells come in two different types: the paracortex and the orthcortex, which lie on opposite sides of the fiber and grow at slightly different rates. This causes a three-dimensional corkscrew pattern of coiled springs much like shock absorbers, giving wool high elasticity and a "memory" that allows the fibers to recover and resume normal dimensions. Wool fibers can be stretched up to 30% without rupturing and still bounce back.
Wool is also soil-resistant - releasing soil up to 25% more readily than synthetic fibers. The cuticle, or outer layer of the wool fiber, has a finely waxed surface with overlapping scales to keep soil in the upper area of the tip, where it is easily removed.
The protective membrane on the cuticle also prevents water from readily penetrating the individual wool fibers. This same waterproof membrane allows the fiber to absorb moisture in vapor form.
Water vapors coming through the cuticle pores bond with amino acids in the cortex, the main bulk of the fiber. This lets wool absorb up to 1/3 of its weight in moisture without feeling damp, making it resistant to static electricity. This moisture-absorbing property also helps wool recover from pressure marks.
Wool's high moisture content and protein constituents provide natural flame resistance.
Proper cleaning is important to maintain a wool carpet's original appearance. A planned maintenance program should take into account the likely level of soiling and cleaning costs. Facts to be considered include: traffic patterns; type of soiling, such as street grime near entrances or food and drink in refreshment areas; cleaning schedules; and personnel, equipment and resources available.
For deep cleaning, evaluate the nature and extent of soiling before deciding on the cleaning method. The accompanying chart describes types of soiling and appropriate cleaning methods.
Appropriate Wool Carpet Cleaning Methods
Spray extraction using smooth wand with direct spray nozzles:
Hot water and detergent or neutralizing rinse are sprayed into the carpet under pressure: the loosened soil is then removed by suction.
Level-loop, cut pile, and hard twist: smooth wand machines are the most suitable for use with saxony pile carpets and course-loop pile carpets.
Thorough vacuuming should proceed this treatment.DO NOT OVERWET THE CARPET.
Cylindrical or rotary brush / pad method:
A cylindrical or rotary brush / pad forces detergent into carpet pile where chemical action releases bound soil.
Cylindrical brush aggiitation is suitable for level-loop, cut pile, hard twist, and saxony carpets: rotary aggiatation ./ pad cleraning is best for level-loop pile and patterned cut pile carpets. Optional for Oriental rugs.
Carpet must be vacuumed before and after cleaning process. after carpet has dried. May leave some soil residue in carpet pile.
Impregnated compound cleaner:
Dry powder brushed into carpet uses a combination of mechanical agitation and chemical action to absorb soil.
Level-loop pile and cut pile, hard twist and saxony . Optional for plain-cut pile.
Carpet must be vacuumed both before and after impregnated compound cleaning. Much powder may be left behind in the carpet fiber.
Factory or plant cleaning:
Full-width machine: carpet is fed in at one end and sprayed with detergent solution, brushed, rinsed, and hydro-extracted . Dried separately.
All, including oriental rugs.
The most efficient technique suitable where carpet may be economically and practically removed and refitted, but can cause shrinkage in natural-fiber backed carpets.