Carpet shedding and fuzzing a routinely heard complaint with new carpeting. Over the telephone or upon arrival at a carpet shedding complaint we usually hear statements such as, “My vacuum cleaner bag fills up every time I vacuum!,’ ‘My vacuum cleaner stops working because carpet shedding jams it with fuzz!,’ ‘I have tried several different vacuums and they all break or fill up with fuzz!,’ ‘I won’t have any carpet left in a few years, with all the fiber that keeps coming out!,’ ’The carpet shedding is worse than with my dog.’ ‘When sitting on this carpet in dark clothing I am covered by fuzz when I get back up!”
Carpet Shedding and the Industry
Consumers often purchase new carpet without being properly informed of its characteristics. Often they are not even told of the products most common characteristics such as carpet shedding with cut pile carpet manufactured with spun (staple) yarn. And that the loss of this fiber through carpet shedding is normal and will not affect its performance.
Unfortunately in the carpet industry not all salespeople are equally trained. While organizations such as the World Floor Covering Association – WFCA and the Carpet and Rug Institute – CRI, offer volumes of free training and libraries full of free carpet information, only a small percent of the industry take advantage of this training. The result is more carpet shedding inspections and other onsite carpet testing and inspections for companies such as The Weinheimer Group.
Now don’t get me wrong!, as an owner and carpet inspector for the independent onsite testing and inspection company the Weinheimer Group, poorly trained sales people make us money. The fact that many salespeople do not understand carpet shedding and carpet characteristics in general, keeps a roof over my head and food on my table. Regardless, we want consumers and the industry to have a better understanding of carpet concerns such as carpet shedding and that is what Carpets Wall to Wall is all about.
While there are thousands of qualified carpet salespeople that understand the product they are selling, there are as many that are more interested in making the sale than becoming educated and passing that education on to the consumer. When it comes to issues such as carpet shedding the uneducated group of salespeople are just as confused as the consumer.
Carpet Shedding is Not the Same as Carpet Fuzzing
Carpet shedding and fuzzing are used synonymously though carpet shedding and carpet fuzzing are not the same issue.
Fibers that release from the pile with foot traffic or vacuuming. Shedding is a normal characteristic associated with staple yarn (spun) cut pile carpets. It will diminish with a few months of routine vacuuming but will continue to shed to a smaller degree for the life of the carpet.
Carpet Fuzzing (Bearding)
A hairy or beard like appearance on the carpet surface that develops when fibers work loose from the yarn bundle under foot traffic. It is frequently an indication of the need for increased vacuuming thoroughness or frequency. Fuzzing may be attributed to one or more of the following: (1) Embedded dirt and grit cutting the fibers but leaving them still bound at one end. (2) Poor latex penetration of the yarn bundle. (3) Poor spinning of the yarn. Poor twisting and heat setting.
Is Carpet Shedding a Manufacturing Defect or Characteristic?
Occasionally onsite lab testing will show that the carpet fuzzing is a manufacturer related concern. Less frequently carpet shedding is found to be a manufacturing defect. Carpet shedding is normally a characteristic of the product. To determine if carpet shedding is a characteristic or defect we must first identify the yarn system. Shedding is a characteristic of spun (staple) yarn. While it may be a characteristic we must also determine if the reported concern is carpet shedding or carpet fuzzing. We then identify the cause and severity. At this point it can be determined if it is a characteristic or a defect or a combination of both.
Identifying Carpet Shedding and Carpet Fuzzing with Cut Pile Carpet
- If the carpet is manufactured with a spun (staple yarn) expect shedding to be more severe than with a continuous filament yarn.
- Briskly rub the side of the hand, back and forth across the pile to check for loose and attached appearing carpet fibers and fuzz. If most of the fuzz is releasing, this type of fuzz is usually normal for cut pile constructions that is manufactured with a spun (Staple yarn.)
- With a staple yarn product the filaments of yarn are chopped during yarn processing before being spun into yarn. Many of these short, cut filaments of yarn are not bound at the back of the carpet and work their way to the surface, often leaving areas of fuzz on the face of the carpet. Some of this fuzz is vacuumed out during each vacuuming. While the contents of a vacuum canister will appear as a lot of lost fiber it is much less than it appears to be.
- This fuzz on the surface of the pile is almost always carpet shedding, which is a characteristic and it is not a defect unless other problems are found that make it a defect.
- To check for fuzzing which is not the same as fuzz from shedding, look for long fibers that are sticking above the carpets pile face and not releasing from the yarn. Grasp the fibers between the thumb and forefinger and pull upward, if not releasing this is called carpet fuzzing or bearding. Carpet fuzzing is also a characteristic of some carpets though it may indicate a concern such as a fiber spinning or a heat setting concern, inadequate saturation on the yarn bundle with a latex or other binder, or a maintenance concern such as poor maintenance, embedded dirt and grit or the use of a vacuum cleaner that’s brushes are too stiff or aggressive for the carpet.
Identifying Carpet Shedding and Fuzzing with Looped Pile Carpet
- Carpet shedding and fuzzing also occurs with looped pile carpet. While many looped pile carpet are manufactured with continuous filament yarns which are less prone to carpet shedding, they are not immune from it. Spun synthetic yarn or a natural fiber such as wool offer the same carpet shedding concerns as outlined under cut pile carpet shedding.
- Fuzzing with fibers that do not release will also appear on loop pile continuous filament products. As with cut pile carpet this may be a manufacturing related concern, a normal characteristic for the type of area it is being used in such as rolling chair casters without chair mats, improper maintenance, abuse or even an improperly specified product for the use the carpet is experiencing.
Should I have Carpet Shedding with My Carpet?
- With new carpet expect your vacuum cleaner bag or canister to fill up with the first several vacuuming. After the carpet has been thoroughly vacuumed several times the shedding should start to diminish.
- If you have a carpet manufactured using a spun (staple) yarn system expect it to shed heavily for the first several months, taper off and shed to some degree for the life of the carpet. Follow the carpet manufacturers instructions for maintenance and care of your carpet.
- Do not use a vacuum cleaner with a stiff or aggressive brush. Many carpet manufacturers are not warranting carpet for many concerns when vacuumed with a Dyson and some other vacuums due to their aggressive nature.
- If after a few months, you have been caring for your carpet properly, vacuuming it frequently and thoroughly and you still have concerns with carpet shedding, contact the carpet dealer or carpet manufacturer.
- If you have a carpet shedding concern, the carpet manufacturer or carpet inspector will usually want an unused cutting of the carpet for testing so be sure to save some leftover pieces of carpet from the installation. You paid for the carpet so don’t allow the carpet installer to take them. You may need the remnants for a carpet repair or to make throw rugs.