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Viscose Made Area Rugs – Know What Your Buying

The above is a picture of the American Viscose plant in Front Royal, Virginia

A quality 5X7 hand-knotted silk area rug can cost $5000.00 or more, whereas a “faux silk” Viscose area rug can be had for a couple of hundred dollars.  In upscale showrooms, we’ve seen retailers charge thousands of dollars for Viscose to an unsuspecting buyer.  Basically, what the client just purchased was an overpriced, chemically treated fake silk rug.

Viscose, to the untrained eye, is designed to look like silk for rock bottom pricing.  Many people purchase rugs made of Viscose because of their “designer look,” believing that these rugs are just as good as the “real thing.”

What is Viscose?

Viscose is a form of rayon made from wood pulp and cellulose that goes through a chemical process to give this fiber a silk-like finish.  The manufacturing process of Viscose is so toxic that these plants closed in the United States, and many of their former sites are now on labeled as an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund clean-up site.

A former plant site in Front Royal, Virginia, manufactured Viscose from 1940 until 1989. The plant was closed after being cited for more than 2,000 environmental violations over five years, including emissions of PCBs into the nearby Shenandoah River.  The clean-up and remediation of this site took 25 years and (2014) cost $150 million.

Viscose goes by many names in the retail world, “art silk, faux silk, man-made silk, bamboo silk, banana silk, rayon, Luxcelle, etc.

In the industry, Viscose rugs are considered “throw-away” rugs due to their construction and propensity to stain and develop traffic lanes.  Many times, Viscose rugs are used by designers and home stagers to stage a home for sale.  These rugs are beautiful, and as long as you don’t spill something on them or walk on them too much, they should last a few years.   These rugs are not made to last. A natural silk rug can last over 100 years.

Caring For Viscose Rugs

If you are inclined to purchase a Viscose-made rug, the FIRST THING you need to do is have a professional apply a quality fabric protector to help repel stains.

Remember, Viscose rugs are manufactured using wool pulp, so basically, these rugs are made from expensive paper, so a quality protector is vital.

Pet Accidents

Pet accidents (feces, urine, vomit) are usually the “kiss of death” to Viscose area rugs.  Alkaline and acid components of accidents can heavily discolor Viscose and cause permanent fiber and color damage.  No amount of professional washing can reverse this damage.  When an accident occurs, you must act quickly.

Here’s what to do if your pet has an accident.  Mix two parts of tonic, spring, or filtered water with one part of WHITE vinegar.  Take a white paper towel or cotton cloth, and dab DO NOT RUB, as much of the stain/moisture up as possible (if a solid, you can use a spoon).

After dabbing, apply your water/vinegar mixture to the cloth or paper towel and dab, picking up as much of the accident as possible.  Take another paper towel and blot up as much moisture as you can and then place a clean cotton towel (or paper towel) on the stain and weigh down for 24-hours.  If the stain remains, contact Oriental Rug Salon for further advice.

Vacuuming

When vacuuming Viscose area rugs, take your time and if your vacuum cleaner has beater bars, turn them off.  Beater bars can damage the soft Viscose surface by engaging loose fibers or damaging the Viscose face yarns.

Spills On Viscose Area Rugs

When cleaning a spill on your Viscose rug, always use a white paper towel or white cotton cloth.  NEVER scrub a spill.  On Viscose, carefully blot, and if the spill contains no color (such as a water spill), place a white cotton cloth over the spill after blotting and weigh the cloth down with some books, a weight, or other heavy object and leave for 24-hours.  This weighted action will help pull the moisture from the fibers and foundation and hopefully save your area rug.

If you spill a drink on your area rug containing colors such as coffee, tea, soda, etc., mix two parts of tonic, spring, or filtered water with one-part WHITE vinegar.

Blot the area with your vinegar and water mixture by applying to a white cotton cloth or paper towel and carefully blot the spill, neutralizing as much of the dyes in the spill as possible.

When satisfied with your blotting, switch to a cotton towel or paper cloth and blot as much of the remaining moisture as possible.  Apply a clean white cloth or paper towel to the blotted area and weigh down for 24-hours.

Oriental Rug Salon is a WoolSafe Approved Service Provider, certified by the prestigious Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification and the International Carpet & Rug Institute.  Our cleaning solutions are allergen-free and certified safe for wool and silk.  Our cleaning solutions are safe for pets and infants.

When purchasing Viscose rugs, understand its limitations, which are many.  For about the same price as a Viscose rug, you can buy a formerly loved “real” Oriental or Persian area rug with character, made with love, and more durable.

For more information about Oriental Rug Salon, please visit us online at www.OrientalRugSalon.com or “call us on the carpet” any time at 239-424-8171.