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.

4 Things Your Persian Rug Dealer Wants from You

ChecklistWhat Your Persian Rug Dealer Wants from You

The main thing Mr. Ben “Behnam” Tavakolian wants for his customers is a pleasant visit while viewing the selection of fine handmade rugs available at Behnam Rugs. The next step is to help you find a Persian or Oriental rug you love and feel is a good investment.

We have listed some suggestions to help with the process of finding the rug you and your family will love for generations.That’s right- a fine, handmade rug can last hundreds of years with proper care and maintenance!

    1. Do you know the price range you are willing to invest in a fine rug?

    Knowing the range you are willing to invest when rug buying will help you and the dealer find the perfect rug for you that much faster. Your rug dealer is in the business of selling rugs, but he’s also in the business of making customers happy and if he ends up selling you a rug that’s more than you can really afford, neither of you will be happy. Beware rug dealers who consistently try to sell you rugs out of your price range. A reputable dealer will stick to your budget.

    1. Do you know why different rugs of the same size are valued differently?

    There’s absolutely no shame in not knowing why hand-knotted Persian and Oriental rugs are more expensive than carpet or why different material used in construction will change their value. Tell us why you value your pieces and we will show you our treasures during your visit also. It is possible for two rugs in the same size to be different prices. The reason may be a higher knot count, one rug is Persian and the other is not, or one rug is silk and the other is wool.

    Persian and Oriental rug sellers almost always love to let their customers know about the history of these textile works of art, the stories behind their various designs and how to tell if a rug is made of natural fibers and truly a hand-knotted rug or not.

    1. What is a quick way to evaluate the quality of your possible rug purchase?

    The design on the back of a hand-knotted Persian or Oriental rug will look almost exactly the same as the design on the rug’s front. If the design can’t be seen on the rug’s back, that’s an indication that the rug is hand-tufted or machine-made.

    Your rug seller is proud of his wares and he will be happy to show you the difference between a hand-knotted and a machine-made rug.

    1. Ask to try the rug in its new home before you buy!

    Rug dealers know that choosing the perfect rug is very important and that many homeowners can’t “see” how the rug will look in their home until their rug is actually in their home.

    That’s why it’s very common for potential buyers to take the rug they’re eyeing home for a few days to see how the rug looks and “works” in their home.

    You will have to put a deposit on the rug, of course, and if you decide the rug’s not for you, return it to the showroom in the same condition as when you took it home.

    Visit our showroom or call 972-733-0400 for more information.

Wool or Silk Persian Rug?

Sheep Make Wool, Silk Worms Make SilkWool vs. Silk Persian Rugs

Authentic Persian and Oriental rugs are made not only of the finest of wool, but also can be made of silk.

You may wonder which is better to purchase: The answer is neither. Neither is “better,” but one or the other may be a better choice depending on what you plan to do with the rug.

If you’re going to place it on a floor and walk upon it, it’s probably better to purchase a wool rug – they are much more durable. Silk rugs show wear from traffic very quickly and are better for areas where people rarely walk.

If you plan to use the rug more as a work of art – you plan to hang it on a wall, for example – a silk rug may be best because a silk rug isn’t as durable as one made of wool but does show more detail. Silk rugs often have a higher knot count than wool due to the finer nature of the fibers. This increase in labor means that many times silk rugs are more expensive than wool rugs.

Most handmade Persian rugs made today are crafted from fine wool (such as camel hair, Manchester or Kork wool). Relatively few authentic Persian rugs are made of silk today. Most on the market are antiques and therefore are rare, quite valuable and really shouldn’t be trod upon.

To choose a quality silk rug, check for the following:

  • You’ll want to make sure it’s actually made of silk. To tell if it is, pull a teeny strand of silk from the rug and burn it. If it’s silk, it should shrivel and smell like burned hair.
  • The rug should be very shiny when looking down its nap. The more noticeable the shine, the better the chances that the rug is really made of silk.
  • Note that some dealers use the term “art silk,” when talking about some rugs. This is not indicative of the artistry that went in to making the rug. Instead, it means “artificial silk.”

As for a wool rug, to make sure it’s of a high quality, check for the following:

  • While a wool rug shouldn’t be shiny, it should have a sheen or luster to it.
  • Be careful, however, because some poor quality wools are blended with artificial materials made from petroleum that falsely give the wool the sheen of a good quality wool. These wools will fall apart over time. They also can become smelly as the years go by, especially if laid on a heated floor.
  • You want to look for a rug with wool that has been hand-spun, if possible. Wools that were machine-spun are fine, but not as highly regarded. The good news is that a rug made of machine-spun wool won’t be as expensive as one that is crafted with hand-spun wool.

If you’re still unsure if a wool or a silk rug is right for you, discuss your needs with our rug experts. Stop by our showroom or call 972-733-0400 to schedule a tour.

Keep Noise Down Inside Your Home with the Help of Your Persian Rug

Persian Rugs as Noise Cancelers

Headphones on a stack of booksA gorgeous Persian rug is not only a lovely work of art in your home, but is also something that can be passed down – and greatly appreciated – from generation to generation. It can also act as something of a sound barrier in your home.

If you live in an apartment or condominium, a Persian or Oriental rug can especially help keep your day-to-day activities from becoming an annoyance to your downstairs neighbors! Rather than have a downstairs neighbor come knocking on your door complaining that she can hear your music, and your conversation, place a Persian rug on your floor to muffle the sound.

In addition, these rugs dampen the sound of heavy footsteps, something almost anyone who has lived in a downstairs apartment knows is a good thing! Buying a Persian or Oriental rug will do your neighbor a favor they will appreciate and lead to better interpersonal relations.

A rug on the floor also acts as a barrier to excessive sound from your downstairs neighbor (or noisy teens playing electric guitar in your home’s basement).

A beautiful Persian or Oriental rug on the floor will help contain that echo-chamber effect of walking, conversation, and music.

To cut the sound in your home way down, place your Persian or Oriental rug on sound-absorbing padding. Padding extends the life of your rug while also providing a safer environment with less risk of falling.

Another benefit of covering hard floors with a rug is that it helps regulate the temperature in your home. When it’s cold outside, the rug retains warm air (and helps conserve energy). It’s also much cozier and far more comfortable to sit on a rug or carpet than it is a hard surface (your baby and toddler will appreciate it).

Hanging your Oriental or Persian rug on the wall also can help buffer noise from one room to another.

Looking for a new rug? Call 972-733-0400. Have a specific style or color in mind? Fill out our rug request form.

Buying a Silk Persian Rug or Any Hand-made Silk Rug

Buying a Fine Handmade Rug

The Behnam Rugs ShowroomMost Persian and Oriental rugs are made of wool, but many beautiful designs can be found in authentic, hand-made rugs woven out of silk.

Silk Persian and Oriental rugs are just as beautiful as those made of wool. Their designs are just as intricate and are full of meaning. In fact, silk rugs tend to have an even higher knot count, resulting in crisp, clean designs with a high level of detail and beautiful sheen.

One small caveat: silk rugs tend to be more delicate than wool rugs. They will need extra care and attention.

You also want to be sure you are purchasing a rug that’s made of real silk. These rugs can also be very beautiful and if you find an artificial silk rug that you love and you wish to purchase it, do so. But do so knowing that it’s not made of real silk. Many “silk” rugs sold actually are woven of artificial fibers. Viscose silk is referred to as “art silk” by many dealers, and an inexperienced shopper usually has no idea “art silk” means artificial, or fake silk.

Most artificial silk rugs tend to be those either sold in or coming from those regions that create both real and artificial silk rugs, such as India, Turkey and sometimes Pakistan. An artificial rug never comes from Iran (where Persian rugs originated).

A real Persian or Oriental silk rug is one with its fabric/threads coming from the cocoon of the silk worm. To harvest their fiber, the cocoons are boiled or heated (to kill the worms) and then are unwound into exceedingly slender, single fibers, which are then spun into silk yarn/threads.

The fibers, when dyed, become saturated with rich colors and have an almost translucent look to them.

Although silk is not as sturdy as wool, it is by no means weak. Silk has a high tensile strength – stronger than nylon – and experts estimate that if a single fiber the diameter of a pencil were to be made, it would be able to lift a jumbo jet. Despite this, silk rugs last longer and maintain their beauty better when they are placed in low foot traffic areas.

How can you tell if your rug is real silk? Take a close look at the rug, making sure it has more than 200 knots per square inch – 500 or more knots is best. It should be clipped closely and have real silk fringe that obviously is an extension of the rug’s fabric (not sewn on).

Artificial silk rugs often have no more than 250 knots per square inch and some even have fewer than 150 knots per square inch. Their fringe also is often made of cotton.

To dig deeper, rub the pile of the rug between your palms. Real silk should feel warm; artificial fibers will stay cool.

One of the best ways to test for silk is to clip a portion of the rug’s fringe and light it with a match. If not real silk, the fringe’s ash probably will turn to powder and be smooth and emit a smell like burned paper.

The ash of a real silk rug’s fringe will turn flaky and black. It also should smell something like burning hair.

If you have questions about buying a fine, handmade rug, call the experts at Behnam Rugs at 972-733-0400.