Soft floors are primarily carpet, rugs and mats made of either natural or synthetic fibers. Wool and silk rugs have been around for thousands of years and for a long time were the domain of the wealthy or nobility. I doubt if the early cave dwellers thought of weaving rugs in their times of survival but it is possible that they utilized animal skins for not only blankets but also floor covering of a sort. Other developing civilizations utilized jute and other natural fibers for everything from matting to roofing in some areas of the world. We have come a long ways since then. 


Natural fibers are primarily silk, cotton, jute and wool with each having unique properties that make them attractive to the end user. Of these, wool is probably the most common simply due to the availability of sheep in what is considered the cradle of civilization. We can include the hair from alpacas, llamas and other animals with similar fibers in other parts of the world . Today wool rugs are the exception rather than the rule due to cost and the availability of other options costing much less in most cases.


You should know at least the basic properties of wool since it should not be treated the same as nylon or other synthetic fibers. Please note that wool is sensitive to high alkaline (pH over 9) cleaners as well as chlorine bleach (pH of 11) that can actually dissolve it. Allowing certain cleaning products to dwell on wool can make it difficult to clean. Dyed wools can bleed their colors and actually cause deteriorate if scrubbed too hard. Be careful of using fabric protectors containing silicone.


Wool is a wonderful natural fabric but one should know what products and processes to use in order to avoid damage. Train front line workers to check with their supervisor before attempting to clean. 


Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…..


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or