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Many rugs marketed today as silk are in fact artificial silk rugs made of viscose fibers. Rugs made of viscose present several unique problems for those who own and clean them. If you own a viscose rug, it’s important to understand the advantages and the drawbacks of this type of fiber.

Viscose is made of wood pulp and cotton by-products. Viscose is also called faux silk, art silk, man-made silk, fake silk, rayon, banana silk, bamboo silk, lyocell and ramie. Today, designer rugs labeled as man-made silks are often viscose artificial silk. These are sometimes sold at prices that make consumers believe they have bought the real thing. And sometimes, viscose is used as a filler or silk substitute to make less required rugs that are often still labeled as real silk.

The advantage of viscose is that it can be made into fibers that are incredibly soft. No other fiber flows like viscose, and for this reason, it is popular with many designers and rug manufacturers.

However, the softness is achieved through chemical processing that makes the fibers very weak. Despite its great look, it is one of the most fragile fibers on the market today.

It’s important to know about four major drawbacks that make viscose a bad choice for everyday use.

First, viscose rugs can shed. Since viscose fibers are so weak, normal everyday traffic can break the fibers and leave the rug looking as if it’s been clawed by a cat. These fiber pulls can be pulled or trimmed by an experienced rug care professional, but the problem will likely reoccur. If these rugs are vacuumed with a strong vacuum or a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar, it will make the problem worse.

Second, viscose fibers don’t hold dye well. Dyed viscose fibers tend to bleed if you get them wet and this can be from improper cleaning or from spills and because of this, it’s important that viscose rugs are thoroughly tested prior to washing. This testing will identify when a viscose rug may need to be surface cleaned instead of emerged and washed. It’s important that you use an experienced rug cleaner if you own a viscose rug. Cleaning this type of rug is considered an advanced cleaning procedure and it’s important that you only use an experienced rug cleaner to deal with this type of fiber.

Third, viscose rugs become yellow with moisture. And again, this can happen from spills or from cleaning. It’s important that your rug cleaner use proper chemistry and get the rug dry as quickly as possible to minimize this. It’s common for viscose rugs to yellow over time. And for viscose rugs in high humidity areas, this yellowing happens even faster.

Finally, viscose rugs can become mattered and stiff after they’ve gotten wet. This can be from an improper cleaning process or from spills in the home. An experienced rug cleaner will use special brushes and hand-grooming techniques to soften and raise them up after cleaning.

There are two common scenarios where you might find viscose used in rugs. No other fiber is as soft as viscose so sometimes in spite of the disadvantages of this type of fabric; it is very deliberately chosen to achieve a certain look or effect.

Another common use of viscose is as a full or substitute for real silk. Viscose is often blended with silk, and many times these rugs are still sold and often priced as though they are the real silk. This can lead to disappointment if rug owners find out their silk rugs aren’t the real thing.

To take away from all of this is that viscose rugs are manufactured to achieve a certain look but viscose is a tricky fiber to own and to clean. These are not rugs that will stand up to regular daily use, so a family room is not the place for a viscose rug. Cleaning viscose rugs should only be attempted by an experienced rug cleaner that is familiar with the unique challenges of viscose. And even with an experienced cleaner, no viscose rug will ever look as good as it did when it was new.

If you have any questions about viscose rugs or any other rugs, call (732) 244-8080, and we’ll be happy to help. And please let us know if you like this video.