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Why Carpets Shed and What To Do About It

After new carpet is installed, certain changes, such as fluffing or shedding, are common and usually no cause for worry. Shedding tends to resolve itself with regular vacuuming. If the problem persists, however, then there is a cause for concern. Keep reading to learn more.

What is carpet shedding?

According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, carpet shedding is defined as: “Appearance on carpet surface of loose fiber fragments left during manufacture; not a defect, but a characteristic that disappears after carpet use and vacuuming.” Depending on the cause of the problem, carpet shedding may present itself overtly, as wads of fluff gathered up like tumbleweeds, or covertly, as tiny fibers in your vacuum canister or sticking to your clothing.

Why do only some carpets shed?

The reasons for carpet shedding vary, from poor fiber quality to low quality construction to improper care. With carpet made from staple or spun fibers, yarn is made of many short strands, twisted together to form the carpet texture, and loose filaments remain after the manufacturing process. Some shedding is normal, and the problem resolves itself with regular vacuuming. With carpet made from continuous filament fibers, one long string is twisted and heat set to form texture-retaining, wear-resistant yarn. Shedding is rare with this type of carpet.

Rugs can shed, too.

After wool or silk rug weaving, rugs are often sheared, leaving behind tiny pieces of rug fiber. Unless your rug has been damaged by heavy traffic, flooding, or insects, shedding should not be a problem. Vacuuming should resolve shedding in new rugs in a relatively short amount of time. For artificial silk or rugs made with plant-based materials, turn the beater brush off on your vacuum cleaner, and use a horse hair brush to groom the rug, as needed.

What is the difference between shedding and sprouting?

When isolated strands pop up with vacuuming, this is called sprouting. With shedding, fibers are no longer connected to the carpet, but with sprouting, fibers remain attached. To resolve the problem, simply clip sprouts to an even height with the surrounding pile. Do not pull sprouts!

Professional cleaning can help.

Over the course of time, new carpet shedding tends to resolve itself with regular vacuuming. Professional cleaning can speed up the normal shedding process by extracting loose fibers all at once instead of waiting weeks or even months for your regular vacuuming to resolve the problem.

You may have heard that new carpet should not be professionally cleaned right away, because the protective treatment will be washed away, and the carpet will get dirty faster. Although the actual concern is valid, the concept itself is a myth. Protective treatments are specially designed to easily withstand professional carpet cleaning. The myth likely started because very cheap carpet cleaning services use less expensive, lower quality detergents, leaving a sticky residue that attracts dirt.

Check your carpet warranty.

Although most carpet warranties do not cover shedding, it would not hurt to check. If your carpet has excessive, prolonged shedding, even with regular professional cleaning, the problem is likely due to poor quality. Replacing the carpet with a higher quality carpet may be your only option.

If excessive or prolonged carpet shedding is covered by your warranty, the installer or the retailer should replace the carpet for you. If you have problems getting the installer or the retailer to help, try contacting the manufacturer.

This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.