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Pulled Wool Is Bad Wool


Wool is a splendid and revered luxury fiber for Oriental and area rugs, as well as in carpeting, apparel and other textile furnishings. Typically, wool fiber and pile is durable, long lasting and resilient, and has a pleasing luster, natural crimp and bulk. This prime quality or good wool is obtained from shearing live sheep, which removes the wool in first class condition.

But this is not always the case with what's known as pulled wool, also referred to as "dead wool." From the outset of first production or manufacture, this is a poor or bad quality, already weakened wool. Pulled wool enters the market in an already degraded or weakened form. It can and does find its way into the pile of rugs and, to a lesser extent, carpet. When pulled wool is used in rugs, they will wear prematurely, lose pile texture and yarn twist, and fade or lose color more rapidly than expected of good wool. The result is a rug or carpet that not only looks bad and worn, but will respond poorly when cleaned by what customarily is a safe and professional wet cleaning process for rugs and carpet. This is not the fault of the cleaning, but a consequence of the original fiber selection.

The fiber is called pulled wool since it is "pulled" from the hides of dead sheep as a byproduct of the slaughtering process. Hides from the sheep, containing both skin and hair-wool, are treated with strong chemicals to ease the removal of fiber. The hides are impregnated with either a chemical depilatory or a strong caustic (alkaline) chemical. As a consequence, the wool fiber is severely weakened where it emerges from the animal skin. This facilitates the later process of pulling out the wool fiber, separating it from the hide. This pulled wool, however, has already been affected. It has begun degrading and weakening even before it's spun into yarn or dyed. This is a result of its initial exposure to strong, debilitating chemicals by the process of pulling the wool from the animal skin.

There is no assured way of knowing if any Oriental rug, area rug or carpet is manufactured from pulled wool, as opposed to virgin or shorn wool. There are, however, some indications of the use of pulled wool. It is often a worn rug appearance, missing areas of pile fiber, irregular or inconsistent dyeing or coloration, fading and color loss on the upper portion of the pile tufts, loss of pile texture, irregular shading (or pile lay), and other unexpected or unsatisfactory rug response to proper cleaning.

These and other unfortunate conditions, directly resulting from the original selection of pulled wool yarn or rug pile, lead one to conclude that the textile was manufactured from its inception with pulled wool. No means are possible to correct this inherent, latent weakness or defect arising from the selection and use of pulled wool.

We have taken care to minimize the difficulties and latent damage caused by pulled wool. But some resulting damage, unanticipated texture and appearance changes following cleaning are often inevitable.

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