Woman standing on shedding oriental rug in black laced combat boots

At Steve’s Carpet Care, we often field questions from customers who are confused as to why their new carpeting seems to be shedding so much material. This excess material routinely clogs vacuum cleaners and is picked up by shoes, socks, pants and other articles of clothing. “What” people want to know “is going on?” It’s a good question and the answer is either “carpet shedding” or “carpet fuzzing”.

In this post, we're going to take a close look at these similar but different phenomena, whether or not they are a sign that you need carpet repair and whether professional carpet cleaning can solve the problem.

The Difference Between Carpet Shedding and Carpet Fuzzing

Carpet shedding happens when fibers are released from the carpet’s pile due to vacuuming or foot traffic. This phenomenon is mostly associated with new staple yarn pile carpets. With regular vacuuming, the problematic level of shedding should stop in a few months, although the carpet will continue to shed some fibers for most of its life. In most cases, carpet shedding is a normal, if sometimes unpleasant, phenomenon and not the result of a manufacturer using defective materials or defective processes.

Carpet fuzzing on the other hand is when the surface of the carpeting takes on a fuzzy appearance. This phenomenon is sometimes called “bearding” because it vaguely resembles the appearance and texture of a large fuzzy beard. Fuzzing typically occurs when fibers from the carpet come loose due to foot traffic, but that is not the only thing that can cause it. Fuzzing may also be the result of dirt and grime inside the carpet that are having an abrasive effect on the fibers, cutting them from the pile.

Alternatively, it may be a manufacturing defect resulting from poor twisting and heat setting of the yarn in the factory. Carpet cleaning services often advertise that they can take care of fuzzing, and if the fuzz is a result of a dirty carpet then they probably can. But if the fuzzing is the result of a manufacturer’s defect no amount of carpet cleaning will help.

How Long Will My Carpeting Continue To Shed?

A new carpet made using spun yarn can be expected to shed fibers pretty heavily for several months. After that, the amount of fiber shed will gradually lessen until it settles into a barely noticeable amount for the rest of the life of the carpet. If you want the shedding to run its course as quickly as possible then avoid vacuuming the carpet using a stiff, aggressive brush. If you have questions about whether your particular vacuum cleaner may exacerbate a carpet shedding problem contact the carpet manufacturer.

It can be disconcerting to see your vacuum bag stuffed with fibers shed from the carpet but it is not really something you should worry too much about. If you have pets and they somehow manage to ingest some of the fiber they should be fine in the long run but they may experience throat irritation and cats may produce Olympic-sized hairballs.

Why Does The Industry Tolerate Shedding And Fuzzing?

In truth, there is not a lot that can be done to prevent carpet shedding and carpet fuzzing. Carpet cleaning companies may be able to alleviate the problem to some degree but they won’t be able to stop the shedding and fuzzing completely.

The unfortunate fact is that carpet manufacturers are not fans of disclosing that carpets shed for the same reason auto manufacturers don’t want to tell you that the bumper on your car is made of plastic or that they used cheap parts in the transmission. Plus, carpet shedding does not present any immediate threat to life and limb so why bother turning a customer off over something that will not affect the performance of the product or the health of the owner? And for the record, salespeople are not legally compelled to disclose that a carpet may shed or produce fuzz.

If you are concerned about shedding or fuzzing the time to say something is before you buy new carpeting. Ask the salesperson if the carpet you have your eye on is prone to shedding. If they try to talk around your question then you can be pretty sure that it is. However, if the carpeting has already been installed and you want to hasten the resolution of the shedding problem consider having your carpets professionally cleaned.

How Does Carpet Cleaning Speed Up the Shedding Process?

Whether you have wall-to-wall or an area rug that is shedding, having it professionally cleaned by the experts at Steve’s Carpet Care is one way you may hasten the end of the shedding process. Professional cleaning of wall-to-wall or area rug cleaning with our truck-mounted steam cleaning machine gets right down to the base of the pile and removes many more loose fibers than straight-up vacuuming ever could.

And while some people suggest that you should never clean new carpets or rugs right away, we are here to tell you that is a myth. Brand new carpeting can be cleaned immediately after being installed and doing so may even be beneficial to everyone’s health. Why? Because the new carpet still has some trace elements in it left over from the manufacturing process. Carpet cleaning can remove most of these along with any loose fibers. Call Steve’s today at (303) 530-4900 to learn more about shedding or fuzzing or to arrange carpet or rug cleaning.

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