Viscose rugs (rayon rugs) are a manufactured product. The fiber is a cellulose fiber, regenerated from cotton and wood pulp by-products and made shiny with the use of a viscose liquid chemical processing.
The word, ‘viscose’ comes from ‘viscous’ or a material of a thick and sticky consistency. Viscose or viscose rayon is an inferior fiber, manufactured to copy the attributes of silk without the prohibitive cost. It is also marketed as Banana Silk, Tencel, Ramie, Lycel, and Bamboo Silk.
It is a fiber with a lot of by-products spun and processed together into staple fiber strands (short strands), and one never knows exactly what is in it.
Area rugs and other textiles made from viscose come with inherent problems as listed below:
Viscose rayon fibers are weak because the spinning of staple fibers into strands to weave means there is the possibility of a lot of breakage. Regular foot traffic, as well as vacuuming, will pull out loose strands that often make the rug look like a cat has used it as a scratching post.
A professional rug cleaner will avoid scrubbing the rug during a cleaning process. Sometimes shaving or clipping of the worst areas may be necessary.
Bleeding and Fading
Viscose rayon rugs do not readily hold dye. They fade and bleed.
The professional rug cleaner will
do a dye test to see if
it is possible to safely clean the rug without ruining it. If the dyes are not
colorfast, there are alternative
cleaning methods available.
Cellulose fibers yellow when wet, so viscose has a good chance of yellowing when it is cleaned. Spills, especially, can often become yellow areas.
The professional rug cleaner has the ability to use an acid rinse to lessen the yellowing, as well as speed drying the rug or drying it face down.
Viscose rayon rugs can become stiff and matted after they are cleaned. This makes the fibers look blotchy and makes the top pile feel like cardboard to the touch. Again, the professional rug cleaner will have solutions, combined with the laborious task of hand grooming the rug, section by section, to help loosen the stiffness.
Because the essence of the manufacture of this type of rug is trying to find a 'cheap' way to create the look of silk, there is a cost to cutting the corners of quality. A viscose rug is one of the few rugs that look worse with time, and and even professional cleaning may be unable to return the rug to its original condition. Its best look will be on the day it was purchased.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous dealers will sell these rugs at a high price, promising that they are made of real silk or have been highlighted with real silk, rather than viscose rayon fibers.
Whether or not the rug you have purchased and brought in for cleaning is real silk, or viscose rayon fake silk, our staff is trained in fiber testing and dye testing and all area rugs are pre-inspected. All results are conveyed to the customer with recommendations on how to proceed.
More in-depth information on rayon rugs can be found here. More information on cleaning these rugs can be found here. Some information contained in this article was written with permission from Lisa Wagner of rugchick.com.
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