Our 18-year old cat throws up a lot.
These episodes are usually preceded by such anguished, otherworldly cries that my husband, kids, and/or I all come running to hold her head. That, and we want to make sure she is on a hard surface and not on one of the area rugs.
It was 14 years of pet (and kid) episodes like this that convinced us to build a home with mostly hardwood floors. My son–who will surely kill me for writing this–used to instinctively seek our help first and run for the bathroom second when overcome by a bout of nausea. You can guess how that usually turned out. On one such occasion I frantically shoved him in the direction of the bathroom only to hasten the impending event. The result was a stain on our brand new carpet that never completely came out. Every family has a least one great vomit story. We have several.
By now you are wondering what any of this could possibly have to do with green building or decorating. I’ll cut to the chase: Wool worsted rugs.
We have mostly hardwood floors throughout the house but without a number of area rugs our house would sound like an echo chamber. So we chose locally made 100% wool worsted rugs for several of the rooms in the home. I’m so glad we did; because we’re not always there to hear our cat’s cries for help.
The good news is, wool worsted rugs spot clean like a dream. Despite kids, cats, and a lot of aerobic activity, these rugs (which have not yet been professionally cleaned) look brand new after two years. Spills or other forms of soiling literally seem to float above all but the very top fibers, so everything from cat vomit to Dr. Pepper cleans up really easily.
I didn’t know that wool rugs are inherently resistant to soiling when I picked them for my home. I chose them mainly because of the sustainability of the natural fiber and the fact that my particular rugs are made by a very old, local manufacturer in nearby Eden, NC. I have since become a wool rug fan.
There are some downsides, which in my opinion are far outweighed by the benefits. They do shed a lot, leading to more than the average number of dust bunnies. This shedding steadily declines over time and amazingly the rugs never seem to show any sort of wear. Wool is also a little scratchy, so it’s not really pleasant against bare skin. And, they do need to be cleaned professionally, off-site. I’ve had this confirmed by several sources – unfortunately. This is because they require a lot of space and appropriate surroundings where they can be washed and dried thoroughly in a controlled environment. The good news is that with regular vacuuming, you can get by for several years without having to do this.
Like I said, we’ve had these rugs for two years and even the rugs in the really high traffic areas like the master bedroom and family room look brand new. And trust me when I say that, as a family, we are hard on floors, furniture, and rugs.