Rug Cleaning: Viscose Rayon

Folded rug on a tableRug Cleaning: Viscose Rayon

Most rugs are made of either wool, silk, wool and silk, cotton, nylon, or viscose rayon. Wool rugs can last for centuries, as can silk rugs and wool and silk rugs. Cotton rugs can last around 100 years. Nylon rugs and carpeting last almost 10 years. Lastly, viscose rayon can last between three and 10 years. If your viscose rug receives almost any amount of foot traffic and wear, expect it to last closer to three years.

If you’ve bought a machine made rug before, chances are you are familiar with viscose rayon. Even if you aren’t, viscose rayon is used in paper towels, kitchen sponges, diaper liners, and more. Though it is good for cleaning products, it is not an ideal fiber for rugs as they are exposed to foot traffic, moisture, spills, pet accidents, and dirt.

So, what exactly is viscose rayon? It is a fiber created out of regenerated cellulose. The plant pulp is heavily processed to impart shine. Also known as artificial or “art” silk, viscose rayon is often referred to by names which make the consumer believe they are being sold real silk. However, in actuality, they have been sold a rug made of what is essentially disposable paper. And it’s being sold at real silk prices!

It is not uncommon for customers to bring their brand new “silk” rug to Behnam Rugs for cleaning or appraisal. Unfortunately, when shopping abroad, many consumers are sold viscose rayon rugs and are told their rug is real silk. In particular, the individuals most likely to be tricked are visiting Turkey, China, or India, often as part of a cruise. By the time they are able to get a second opinion on these “real silk” rugs, it is too late and they have no way to get their money back. That’s why we recommend reading our blog about rug shopping abroad before purchasing a rug in a foreign country.

The best way to get reliable feedback about a rug’s materials and construction is to ask a rug cleaner. They are the one resource consumers can trust because they are not being paid commission for a sale and they have cleaned viscose rayon and know about its benefits and drawbacks. When it comes to silk fiber, consumers must be educated before making a purchase. Educate yourself by reading our blog about buying fine silk rugs.

Let’s discuss the viscose rayon creation process. Most commonly made in developing countries, viscose rayon is derived from cellulose. This material is liquefied in a chemical mixture which makes a substance that can be spun into fibers and then into thread. The thread is then woven to create the rug, usually by machine, as handmade rugs are typically made of wool or silk.

Something important to note is that Carbon Disulfide is used in the production process. The highly toxic nature of this compound and the risk of poisoning has caused concerns for worker safety. Improved technology has lowered the risks of working with this chemical and reduced the emissions of sulfur to air. However, the production process is still far from ideal. In fact, the production process is so toxic it’s banned in the U.S.

While viscose rayon is biodegradable, which is a positive trait, the production process is so wasteful it negates the eco-friendly biodegradable aspect. So while you will have purchased a rug that will degrade once you throw it out after a few years and professional cleanings, it’s not really better than a wool rug that will need far fewer cleanings and last over 100 years.

Consumers are being told lies and half-truths about viscose rayon. These claims include the following:

“Viscose rayon is a luxury material.”

While it is true that these rugs have a distinct appearance and feel, their sumptuousness quickly fades from everyday wear. They need regular grooming and are rapidly affected by foot traffic and minor soiling. They show each and every footprint. In very little time, the fibers lose color, sheen, and quality. Attempts to clean this material are often unsuccessful. Though these rugs may at first seem luxurious, you will begin thinking about a replacement within a few years. Essentially, viscose rugs are highly priced disposables. Many consumers are not informed or aware that these rugs last for only a few years before needing a replacement.

“Viscose rayon is simple to maintain.”

This is just not true. Because viscose rayon is made of regenerated cellulose, it cannot hide soil. Dirt from foot traffic and general dust in the home permeates the fibers, causing graying. In addition, foot traffic can cause shedding and breakage quite quickly. Small amounts of moisture from spills cause yellowing. Even a minor water spill can cause a permanent yellow stain and fiber damage. Cleaning up the spill only makes the soiling more obvious. Instead of spot cleaning yourself, trust the professionals to remove any spills or stains to avoid yellowing. Vacuuming can also damage the fibers and cause sprouting. Due to all of this, viscose rayon rugs require professional cleaning much more often than rugs made of other fibers. This is an added expense most consumers aren’t aware of or prepared for. Viscose rayon begins to look dirty quicker than any other rug material. In addition, folding these rugs for shipping or moving can cause unsightly and likely permanent creasing, crushing, and more.

“It’s good for the environment.”

While these rugs are indeed biodegradable, you are now aware that the creation process is toxic, wasteful, and dangerous. In addition, the rug will require many professional cleanings. A wool or silk rug that can last for centuries is a better choice, as viscose rayon rugs need to be replaced about every five years or so, increasing demand for these rugs and thus increasing the output of the far from ideal production process. This production process has been improved with newer technology but it is still quite harmful to the environment.

If you have purchased a viscose rayon rug, it is likely in need of professional cleaning. Make sure you work with a company that specializes in washing viscose rayon, like Behnam Rugs. We have been working with this fiber, as well as nylon, wool, silk, and cotton for over 40 years. Call 972-733-0400 to schedule professional hand washing.

Consider browsing our showroom for a replacement, as your viscose rayon rug will only last a few years. We carry thousands of handmade rugs constructed of materials that are much more ethically sourced and long-lasting than viscose rayon.

If you have purchased a viscose rug, place it somewhere it will not be walked on that is a low risk area for spills and stains. Consider using it as a wall hanging to maximize its lifespan. Now that you know the drawbacks to viscose rayon, we hope you feel more well-informed about the rug buying process. We highly recommend all new viscose silk rugs be sealed by a professional to protect them from spots and stains.

White Spots, Knot Heads, and Threadbare Rug Repair

knot head threadbare

What are the white spots on my rug?

Customer:

As my rug has gotten older I have noticed white spots on it. I have not used any chemicals on my rug so I don’t know why there are tiny white spots on it.

Rug Expert:

Here at Behnam Rugs we often hear rug owners ask about white spots on their rugs. We make sure before we pick up their rug for washing that we evaluate each rug and inform the customer there might be more after a good professional washing.

Mr. Ben “Behnam” Tavakolian of Behnam Rugs says:

There are two kinds of white spots that show up on your hand made rugs.

  1. Knot Heads
  2. Threadbare Spots
  • What is a knot head?
  • Do all rugs have knot heads?
  • Where are knot heads found on a rug?

 Knot heads happen naturally during the weaving process of a rug. The weaver pulls on the warp to make a knot with the wool to create the pile of the rug. Tension is needed to make the warp thread and sometimes the fiber will break. The wool or cotton thread will then need to be extended and this is where the new piece creates the imperfection. Each broken warp will be secured with two knot heads. The size of the head will depend on the size of warp and cotton yarn and density of the rug.

Where are the knot heads found?

Knot heads are found in all handmade rugs. Generally the weaver will hide the knot heads between the pile of the rug by using a combing hammer to comb down the pile of the rug to keep knot heads from being exposed on the surface.

Seeing knot heads is natural as the rug gets older and the pile gets shorter. They will begin to come to the surface. Proper rug padding will keep this from happening prematurely. Sharp micro dust, sand, and dirt in an unwashed rug will cause the rug to lose more pile due to friction of the grime against the rug’s pile. Other factors that make imperfections show on the surface faster depends on the type of rug, country of origin, and traffic pattern, but all will age your rug faster if not maintained.

Knot heads could be carefully removed by re-weaving areas or in most cases just by coloring them to match the surrounding knot heads.

  1. White spots can occur in threadbare spots.

When a rug is used in the same traffic area/ pattern for many years and not cleaned, rotated, or dusted the pile will wear faster. We recommend rotating your rug so that it wears evenly every year or so. White spots also can be a result of where the rug came from- its origins, its weave, and type of wool foundation, or if it has a cotton foundation or wool foundation.

Simple maintenance of rotating your rug, keeping it dusted, and on a 4 to 5 year washing schedule will help extend the life of your rug and keep the imperfections from showing as fast. Using your rug over correct padding will prevent the need for re-weaving or color touch up due to warp showing and looking like white spots also.

Finally, the biggest culprit behind white spots, besides the aforementioned causes, is improper vacuuming! Never vacuum a handmade rug with the beater brush extension. This extension can tug on the rug, bringing exposed white spots to the surface due to pulling. Most cases we see are brought in by individuals who have not properly cared for their rug. We are not surprised to find out these rug owners vacuum their rug regularly and use the beater brush.

We hope this information answered all your questions about knot heads and white spots on your handmade rugs. If you have more questions feel free to call and bring in your rugs for evaluation and inspection. Call 972-733-0400 to set an appointment.

Pick the Right Rug Padding

Rug padDoes My Rug Need Padding?

Yes, all rugs need padding. Whether your rug is on wood floors, vinyl, or carpet, when you walk on your rug, you do not want to move the foundation of it. Installing a pad underneath your rug helps the rug not to move, and it helps preserve the quality of the knots in your rug too.

When a rug is installed without a pad, its shape will distort over time. Your rug will lose its shape, be it rectangular or round, simply from being shifted and moved frequently. Padding will prevent this, and it will help to extend the life of your rug. In addition, a rug that is no longer perfectly shaped will lose some of its value.

When you walk on a rug with a pad installed, it feels softer and more comfortable under your feet. You also won’t have to worry about your rug slipping underneath you and causing an accident, and yes, this CAN happen on carpeted floors, too.

Because it absorbs some impact from furniture and foot traffic, padding can increase the life of your rug by as much as 40%. The most absorbent type of padding is felt. However, the placement, construction, and your personal preferences are what will help you decide which padding is best for your rug.

What Kind of Padding Do I Need?

Rug pad materials perform differently based on the material of the rug. Ask us to help you pick the right pad material for your rug. Our certified rug care specialists can give advice and input so that you choose the best padding for your situation. We will also cut the pad to the shape of your rug.

For many years, hair and jute based pads were the only varieties available. Felt pads are newer, and we recommend this material for most types of rugs. Felt is made of recycled, synthetic materials. Moths will not eat these fibers, and the synthetic fibers of felt are longer lasting than the hair and jute fibers.

The firmness and stability of synthetic felt also give it the advantage of being able to eliminate any ripples and bumps that can cause uneven wear when a rug lies on the floor without a pad. To be truly effective, a half inch thick pad is needed.

Unfortunately, felt pads can still slip underneath smaller rugs, even if the pad is dense. For smaller rugs, we recommend purchasing rubber padding. Be careful not to mix rubber pads with sponge or foam pads.

We do not recommend sponge or foam padding, as they are too soft and can bottom out- stressing the foundation of Persian and Oriental rugs. This is especially applicable to thin, finely woven rugs, flat weaves, or antique rugs. Sponge and foam pads can disintegrate and even stick to wood floors. If you have an antique rug, it is especially important you choose the proper padding to maintain the condition it is already in after 80 to 100 years of life.

One of the best types of rug pad on the market is a fourth-inch thick synthetic felt bonded to a thin, solid rubber backing. This type of pad can serve two purpose. First, it is excellent at anchoring the rug to your floor, preventing slipping.

Second, its felt layer helps to extend the life of your rug. As previously mentioned, a rug without a pad can slide around and cause serious falls and injuries. This type of padding is recommended for all scatter rugs and area rugs that do not have a thick foundation, such as antique rugs, needlepoint, Aubusson tapestries, and flat weaves.

Another benefit of this type of pad is that it can also be used on thick rugs. It is thinner than synthetic felt and will not add on to the thickness of your rug. You can even place this padding on top of carpet. It eliminates rippling, buckling, and adjusting, even on wall to wall carpeted areas.

If you have a rug in need of padding, call us at 972-733-0400. Our specialists will make sure you are informed of your options, their benefits and drawbacks, as well as the price. Rug padding is generally a very small investment that makes a big impact on the longevity and safety of the rug in your home.

Rubber or Vinyl & Felt
Rubber padding on the Left and “Black” padding on the right with vinyl and felt.

The Different Types of Oriental Rug Knots

Assorted yarn for weavingTypes of Oriental Rug Knots

The detail and value of a Persian or Oriental rug lies in the quality of its knots. The more knots per square inch, the more vivid and intricate the rug’s design.

In addition, the more KPSI (knots per square inch) a rug has, the more expensive it will be. This is expected because creating these knots by hand – and so close together – is an complex and difficult process, one that takes craftsmen years to learn and perform expertly. Persian and Oriental rugs can take years to make because of this.

There are basically two different types of knots used to make an Oriental pile rug (Persian rugs also are considered to be Oriental rugs): the “Persian” and the “Turkish.”

Persian knots are known as Senneh and Turkish knots are known as Ghiordes. They often are tied around two (a pair of) warp strings. The warp of a rug runs lengthwise and is held stationary on the frame. The weft of a rug is woven oven and under the warp strings.

Let’s discuss these knot types.

The Senneh knots are asymmetrical and may have their opening on either the right or left side of the warp strings. The Ghiordes knot is symmetric, with the ends of the knots located between the two warp strings.

Some rugs are knotted using Jufti knots. These are “false” knots and they are tied around four warps instead of two. They can be either the Turkish or Persian style.

Jufti knots use half of the material and correspondingly take only half as much time to make (but the knot may last only half as long). Some rugs, such as Bokharas, may have Jufti knots mixed in with the Persian (Senneh) knots.

While the Persian or Senneh knot is used in most regions, some rug makers in Turkey, Armenia, Azerbajan, and some parts of northwestern Iran use the Turkish or Ghirodes knot.

As for comparing the quality of a Senneh knot versus a Ghirodes knot? There is no way. But being able to identify the different type of knot will help you know where the rug was made.

Are you wondering what type of knot your Persian/Oriental rug was made with? Bring it to the rug experts at Behnam Rugs. We’d love to take a look “under the rug” to ascertain the region of its origin. Contact us at 972-733-0400.

Stay tuned for upcoming events where we educate rug lovers on the ins and outs of the rug industry. They are a great way to become more knowledgeable of the world of fine rugs.

The Difference Between Persian and Oriental Rugs

Luxury Persian Rug Showroom
A small peek into our huge showroom.

What’s the Difference Between Persian and Oriental Rugs?

As you search for a handmade rug for your home or business, you’ve no doubt noticed that the terms Persian and Oriental tend to be used interchangeably when it comes to these rugs.

So you may be wondering if there’s even a difference between them.

Our answer? There is a difference that matters because the history of a rug and the country of its origin are integral to the workmanship as well as the design of the rug.

In fact, knowing the difference between a Persian and an Oriental rug is of particular importance if you’re looking for an antique rug.

In a nutshell (and by the strictest of definitions), an Oriental rug is one that is hand-knotted in Iran, Asia, China, Russia, India, Turkey, Pakistan, Tibet, or Nepal.

As for Persian rugs, these also are Oriental rugs, but they are made only in Iran (former Persia). It’s a rectangle and square situation.

Many Persian rug designs actually hold the names of the cities in which they originated (a Tabriz design, for example). The designs’ popularity grew over time and even though the patterns now are made in different cities, the designs have retained the names of their city of origin.

A Persian rug also tends to have a thicker pile than an Oriental rug (up to 160 knots per square inch) and has extremely rich colors woven into their unique designs.

Persian rugs also are considered to be of higher quality than an Oriental rug, although hand-knotted Oriental rugs today also are of exceptional workmanship. This difference in quality also means a difference in price, with Persian rugs being worth a bit more than Oriental rugs.

A Persian rug is made by many skilled artisans, who work hundreds of hours on one rug. A 9’ x 12’ foot rug, for example, can take longer than 14 months to complete, with four to five craftsmen working on the rug for up to six hours a day.

Oriental rugs also offer beautiful workmanship, designs and colors, particularly silk rugs. While you may think the silk would be too delicate, these rugs are incredibly sturdy (although they do require a bit more care than wool rugs). Silk Oriental rugs do diverge from their Persian cousins in that they tend to use more traditional Buddhist designs and often use a palette of blue, yellow and apricot for their colors.

If you would like to learn more about the art of rugs, call us at 972-733-0400.