ITHACA/ELMIRA carpet cleaners


June 2015

Welcome to our Monthly Newsletter!

We hope you will enjoy this month's articles. 
The topic is RUG BUYER BEWARE!--Tufted Rugs, Latex Deterioration in Tufted Rugs, Rayon Rugs. 

If there is a topic you would like us to cover in one of our upcoming newsletters, please call us at 607-272-1566 or contact us by clicking here. 

Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom for your special coupon savings!

In This Issue

Tufted Rugs - Buyer Beware!

Latex Deterioration in Tufted Rugs

Rayon Area Rugs - Buyer Beware!


Tufted rugs are area rugs that are manufactured with a hand-held tufting gun. This method can produce a very nice looking rug which can very closely imitate a handmade oriental rug.  

But 'Buyer Beware.' These are NOT hand-made rugs! They may be attractively priced and are sometimes actually sold as handmade rugs, but the long term cost can actually be higher. 

How Do You Tell the Difference Between Tufted Rugs and Handmade Hand-Knotted Rugs?

In a hand-tufted rug (so-called because the tufting gun is controlled by the crafter's hand), a gun is used to shoot the lines of yarn through fabric in loops.

The loops are then cut to form the pile.  There is nothing to hold the pile in place. Therefore, to keep the rug from falling apart, latex (glue) is lathered onto the back and then a backing, sometimes consisting of a netting material followed by a jute or a canvas-like material, is applied on top of the glue. The backing is there to hide the glue that is holding the rug together.   

Tufted Rugs: 

  • are not durable and do not wear well.
  • cannot always be satisfactorily cleaned, especially when animal or human fluids or oils have entered them, because the rug cannot be cleaned through to the backing. (The glue is an integral part of the rug and not something that can be washed out.)
  • can only be surface cleaned if relatively new.
  • may have latex that was not allowed proper time to cure, causing permanent odors to seep into the rug, often from diesel fuel from the shipping fleet. There is no known way to remove that odor.
  • have latex that will begin to deteriorate over time, depending on how well the rug is constructed.  This can cause the backing to develop ripples and buckling and become 'lumpy.' Fine grains of dust will be left on the floor beneath, causing abrasion to the floor and continued damage to the rug.
  • will need to be disposed of much sooner than other rugs. They will eventually become landfill cloggers and a threat to the environment. They are NOT 'green' products but they are often sold as environmentally 'green.'
  • have tufts that can be pulled out by hand or by a vacuum.      

Hand-Knotted Rugs: 

Continue reading here for more information and find out how ABC can help salvage a favorite tufted rug...


Beware of Latex Deterioration!

Have you taken up your area rug and found a large amount of dust-like particles under it?

Does your rug have an offensive odor that you did not smell in the store?

Is the backing on your rug coming loose?

All of the above situations are due to the fact that the backing on certain area rugs has been applied by the rug manufacturer with latex, an adhesive material. This material is used to anchor the pile to the backing, to give additional weight to the rug, and to hold the backing onto the rug.

The manner in which the latex was applied, the composition of the latex, and the amount of time the latex was allowed to cure all have an effect on the length of time before the latex starts to decay, as well as on any odor that may be emitted.

Tufted Rugs

Tufted rugs are a good example of this kind of construction using latex to hold the backing to the pile. These rugs are often confused with handmade rugs and may even be labeled as 'handmade.'

Actually, the tufting may be done by hand but it is done with a tufting gun held by the employee's hand! If your rug has a backing, it is most likely a machine-made rug, not an oriental or handmade rug, and it is inevitable that latex deterioration will eventually take place.

Tufted rugs, especially those from India, can also have an odor of 'burning rubber.' This odor may not be apparent in a large department store but may be very offensive in a consumer's home.  


In the country of manufacture, the latex is not given a chance to cure completely before it is shipped to other countries. It will pick up diesel fumes from the shipping vessel and they are forever trapped in the latex.

The latex will also hold any urine or other offensive odors that make contact with a tufted rug, making it almost impossible to effectively remove these odors.

Once you realize you have purchased one of these rugs, take it back to the store as soon as possible and you should receive your money back. If not, please contact our office at 272-1566 for more information.


Continue to here to find out...


When Rayon area rugs are brought into our plant for cleaning, most customers are genuinely surprised to find their rugs are machine-made with a manufactured or man-made fiber. Some believe their rug is silk, others that it is handmade. 

To make matters worse, Rayon area rugs are often labeled as 'artificial silk' or 'art silk,' even 'bamboo silk,' misleading the consumer to think Rayon is a 'natural' or 'green' product!  

Additionally, rugs made entirely of Rayon (or with Rayon inserts in an otherwise wool fiber design) are often sold as rugs having real silk fibers at real silk prices, further duping the unwary consumer.

What Kind of Fiber are Rayon Area Rugs Made Of?

Rayon was the first viable manufactured fiber. As early as the 1600s, scientists searched for a way to make an 'artificial silk' that would mimic real silk.

It took until 1884 for the first commercially viable man-made fiber to be produced by Hilaire de Bernigaud, Count of Chardonnay. Unfortunately, it had to be taken off the market since it was very flammable. There followed other attempts to produce a man-made fiber but they were not commercially viable until the early 20th century.

How Is It Produced?

The fiber is manufactured from reformed or regenerated cellulosic fibers that come from plants. These cellulose fibers are processed into a pulp. High heat and chemical action produce a thick solution which is chemically treated and then extruded in a similar manner t0 the way synthetic fibers such as Polyester and Nylon are made.  

However, because Rayon is made from a cellulose-based raw material, its properties are more similar to those of other natural cellulosic fibers, such as Cotton or Linen, rather than the petroleum-based Nylon and Polyester. 

The Viscose Process

Viscose or Regular Rayon is the most commonly found type of this fiber on the market today, although there are a number of other forms. In the 1890s, English chemists Cross, Bevan, and Beadle discovered the viscose process. In this process, cellulose from wood pulp or cotton fibers is processed to form a very thick and viscous solution, leading to the term 'Viscose Rayon.'  

Initially, the new fiber was called 'Artificial Silk.' In the mid 1920s, the U.S. Department of Commerce was instrumental in choosing the name 'Rayon.' It may have been because of its similarities in structure with cotton as well as its brightness. (Thus 'ray' from the sun and 'on' from cotton.) It is also French for 'ray of light.' 'Rayon' is the common name in the U.S. with 'Viscose' more commonly used in the rest of the world. 

Viscose Rayon is no longer manufactured in the United States even though it is relatively inexpensive and uses renewable resources. The viscose process requires high water and energy use, which contributes to air and water pollution. Most of the production is now in Asia with India as the largest manufacturer of the fiber.

Properties of Rayon

Rayon is a very versatile product. It can look like silk, wool, cotton or linen and it blends well with other fibers, such as wool. But it is a fiber all its own and it cannot be expected to have the same performance qualities as the other fibers.  

This fiber is more absorbent than cotton, making it very comfortable for summer fabrics, but it loses strength when wet and will stretch and shrink more than cotton. And, it will wrinkle. Fabrics made of this fiber should only be dry-cleaned. It is also extremely flammable, though it may have finishing techniques applied to make it flame retardant. 

Rayon area rugs often have pile distortion and abrasion problems that may be exacerbated during cleaning. When wet, it loses 30% to 50% of its strength. Hot water can cause dyes to run or bleed. 

Beware of Rayon Area Rugs Mislabeled as Art or Artificial Silk, Natural or Green

To find out how to tell if a rug is Rayon or Silk and for more information about Rayon rugs, please continue reading here.

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