The Big Risks with Viscose Rugs

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What is a Viscose Rug Made Of?

Viscose may be sold under different names or even trade names. Rayon, Tensel, Modal, to name a few. It is sometimes referred to as Faux Silk or ‘Art Silk’ which is short for artificial silk.

Viscose is made from plant material that can come from paper waste, wood chip or cotton by-products. Even bamboo can be used as a source of the plant material. Hence you may hear or see the term ‘Bamboo silk’.

How Long Will a Viscose Rug Last?

Viscose rugs are sometimes known as “disposable rugs” because they have a short life under normal foot traffic. It is best to avoid using them in areas with any foot traffic or any chance of spills.

When new, viscose can look good, but it can cost a lot in maintenance and corrective work due to the many risks associated with it.

Can a Viscose Rug Get Wet?

A simple spill of water can create a yellow/brown mark on a viscose rug. This is called cellulosic browning and is caused by the plant material which makes up the rug.

When viscose gets wet it can become up to 70% weaker, so any scrubbing is risky.

Professional cleaners can sometimes mitigate the cellulosic browning but not always.

How to Clean a Viscose Rug

Even when cleaned properly, viscose fibres inherently have a long list of problems, so avoiding no issues at all is very difficult.

Even if issues don’t present after the first clean, it becomes increasingly more likely over time.

Ideally, viscose rugs would be cleaned at a dedicated rug cleaning facility which is set up with assisted drying equipment.

If cleaning insitu:

  • Use a specialised wand such as an upholstery tool. 
  • Use a WoolSafe Approved detergent.
  • An acid rinse may be needed as alkalis tend to break the fibre down quite quickly.
  • Drying the rug face down may lessen cellulosic browning and wick any that occurs to the back side of the rug. 

Risks Associated With Viscose

  • Viscose has a high risk of colour migration or dye bleeding.
  • Viscose is made from plant matter which can turn yellow over time or due to light exposure and turn yellow/brown when wet. A simple spill of water can create what looks like a pet urine stain.
  • Viscose is an incredibly weak fibre. Simply using it, walking over it or cleaning it can create a shaggy appearance or cause damage. Strength tests of different fibres have revealed that while wool fibres can be bent 10,000 times before breaking and silk fibres can be bent 2,000 times, viscose fibres can break after being bent only 70 times!


What Next?

Now that you know all about viscose rugs, you may want to consider buying a rug which contains a more durable fibre, or at the least, consider it’s placement and use in your space.


If you have any other questions or if we may assist in any way please feel free to contact us at info@nicethreads.com.au or 0404 494 114.

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