How to Tell the Difference Between Silk and Wool Rugs


A rug is a very common investment. In many instances, it can be equal parts functional flooring and art. However, if you are new to rug buying or want to make a very specialized purchase, you should learn how to tell the difference between silk and wool rugs. This is not as difficult as it might seem.

Tips for Telling Difference Between Silk and Wool Rugs

Wool and silk are the most common materials used in Persian and oriental rugs for their good looks, durability and texture. Yet, there are some distinct differences. They breakdown into the following categories:

  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Ease of care
  • Best uses

Let’s look at them one by one.

Start with Costs to Tell the Difference Between Silk and Wool Rugs

One of the simplest ways to begin to tell the difference between silk and wool rugs is to look at the prices charged. Because silk is far more precious and costly, the rugs made of pure silk are often some of the most expensive. Wool is a much more common and easy to use material and will often be chosen for that alone.

The Characteristics

When your goal is to know how to tell the difference between silk and wool rugs on sight, one of the other important factors to consider is the finish of the material. Silk is going to have a slight sheen while wool rugs tend to be far more matte in their appearance. Also, the touch of a wool rug is typically very soft and less defined, while silk has thinner strands that have a recognizable feel.

The Durability

You will also come to learn that wool rugs are considered more durable than silk. They have stronger and denser piles and the natural properties of wool make these rugs amazingly resistant to stains and damage, even when you place them in higher traffic locations in the home. They are much easier to clean as you can sweep or vacuum gently on a fairly regular basis without risk of damage or harm.

Silk is also quite durable, but it can break or become damaged and stained easily. It loses that sheen we mentioned earlier if the rug is placed in a high traffic location, and it is why you will want to learn how to determine silk from wool if choosing a carpet for a busier room, hall or stairway.

The Differences Between The Materials

There are distinct differences between these two materials and how they appear when spun into threads and used in rugs. You will often hear those with familiar with rugs describing the wool rugs as blending into the background a bit more than silk rugs. This is due to the soft nature and more toned down colors of the natural wool. Yet, you can also distinguish them from one another by the type of rug, the knots, and the feel.

You may find some blended materials that give you more vibrant hues and a unique finish, but most owners find they prefer one over the other. Hopefully you now know enough to get yourself started on the search for the ideal carpet.

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