Viscose rugs are trending - Do you attempt to clean them or reject them?

#1
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Viscose rugs are trending. They emerge featuring the look and feel of real silk at a fraction of the cost. They are cellulosic and have inherent issues when coming in contact with water. Do you attempt to clean them or reject them?

I recommend you understand the potential dangers to process them. Otherwise, you may create a horrible nightmare for yourself and your customer. Some service providers all over the industry have been hit hard in their pocket book to satisfy an unhappy customer. Facebook groups are talking about problems with these rugs daily. These range from pile distortion to browning.

What do you do to insure this won't happen to you?

Firstly, let me submit that you don't try to process these rugs in your customer's home. If you decide to process one, make sure you have the techniques, and know how, necessary to do it offsite in your own controlled environment.

Let's hear some horror stories. With each one presented, let's do a collective exercise and make thoughtful observations so that no one has to repeat the same mistake and so that all of us can have a prosperous coming year.

Who wants to start?

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#2
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Tom, I am cleaning viscose rugs at the customers risk only. Viscose rugs vary in quality of construction from paper thin to simulating a top quality silk rug. I have a customer who has 2 20ft.x24ft viscose rugs in their home values at $79,000 each. I have cleaned them several times on location using my TM with cold water, fine fabric prespray and neutral rinse. So far, so good. I dread the day when they are actually dirty. I have ruined several cheap viscose rugs in the shop, using similar procedures. Usually, these are the very thin ones. Pile distortion and nap reversal are the main culprits. If you have a wash pit or wash tub, you should be able to process them with a cold water wash and rinse, put them through a centrifuge and groom and dry. There will be a certain percentage that will have problems. For now, I will only do them at the customers risk and have walked away from many.
 
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Rayon is difficult enough, but the big problem is that it's sold as silk and at silk prices. I called a retailer about one that I thought we were going to have to replace to see what our cost would be. He said to bring it down and he'd give us the replacement. His cost was $400 for a rug that retailed for $6,000, so he could afford to be generous.

Use of rayon fiber is only one of the problems though. There are now three varieties of hand-loomed rayon construction; one looks like a hand-knotted rug, one looks like an Indian hand-tufted, and one looks like a high quality machine tufted rug. All of these constructions are fragile.

No tumbling, no brush scrubbing, sometimes no hanging. Often every spill is permanent.
 
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I have a viscose rug that we clean when Doug H and I teach a rug class. I let the students decide how to clean it. Some don't discover it is viscose rayon until after the cleaning. Then we correct it. Handle gently and do a lot of grooming. I would not clean a viscose rug in a customer's home unless I had iron-glad documentation that it would not come back on me. That has never happened. Ruined one $5,000 rug 27 years ago. Learned my lesson.
 
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Here is a viscose/cotton rug that the customer has me permission to destroy. (That's how I word it to the customer and they understand they have to pay me to fix or fook their rug). I presprayed it with Prochems fine fabric prespray, let it dwell for a bit. Then shampooed with a shower feed floor machine using Prochems fine fabric shampoo for cotton. Rinsed using a wand and groomed. You can see the textural changes and matting but better than it was and when it dries, we can groom some of it out. Most viscose don't clean up as well and most, we could not use a shampoo machine.
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I'll wash them as long as they are hand woven or machine woven. If they are hand tufted I'll break out the steamon demon. If they are urine soaked on the hand tufted I'll assure them of the risk. Then when all done we can use a better quality latex that will last alot longer.
 
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I still wash almost everything woven that comes through our shop. Have had PBS a couple of times also.
Only Air-Tool and pressure wash the backs.
Would love pictures of any problematic rugs, construction concerns ext. ..... Brian? Tom? Harry? Anyone?
I have washed those Restoration Hardware rugs, like BC Ron cleaned, with no problems so far
 
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Here are a couple more viscose rugs that we cleaned at the customers risk. The brown one is an 8x10, fairly thick. You can see some matting but overall not too bad and some of that will come out when it drys. The smaller grey one is paper thin and had a buttermilk stain on it. We used a mild prespray then rinsed with a wand using lukewarm neutral solution. Deodorizers with Benedict. I think it's very acceptable however, I have had similar rugs distort, mat and have severe pile reversal. As long as the customer is willing to accept the risk, I don't mind cleaning them. The more I do, the better I get.
 
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Ron, just wondering:
Why pre-spray with PC fine fabric pre-spray and then shampoo with fine fabric shampoo.
Very similar products only one is formulated as a shampoo. The dwell time gained with the pre-spray will be matched by the agitation of the shampoo. And the pre-spray will increase wetting.
 
#21
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Ron, just wondering:
Why pre-spray with PC fine fabric pre-spray and then shampoo with fine fabric shampoo.
Very similar products only one is formulated as a shampoo. The dwell time gained with the pre-spray will be matched by the agitation of the shampoo. And the pre-spray will increase wetting.
There is no problem with additional wetting. I just like to give the prespray some dwell time to break up and dissolve some of the soil. Might not be necessary but doesn't hurt. Shampooing suds it up nicely but takes a little longer to rinse. On lightly soiled rugs, we skip the shampoo step.
 
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#24
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Here is a viscose/cotton rug that the customer has me permission to destroy.
If the label says 'Ben Soliemani' you know two things: it was expensive, it is unbelievable crap.



Hand-loomed rugs that have this backing might be the worst. The latex is likely to wick up if you wet clean, and if they get any normal foot traffic they will come apart in about 18 months time. Often rows of tufts will come our when pre-vacuumed.

Identify hand-loomed by breaking the nap open and looking for a weft fiber between the tufts. Tufted and knotted rugs won't have that.
 

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