Art Silk is today’s “in” fiber for area rugs, but its the next days nightmare. This fiber is being hailed as a “sustainable or green” alternative to wool or silk, but just what is it? For many Interior Designers it’s a hot topic, but for us cleaners it is also a hot topic for all the wrong reasons. The trade names “Art Silk”, “Rayon”, and “Viscose” are the titles that the consumer would see on the label of the rug. “Art Silk” is short for “Artificial Silk”, these fibers are often sold as silk, but they are not Real Silk. Often Art Silk is merely processed Bast Fibers, we would recognized these as plant fibers such as Jute or Cotton. When these fibers are processed they essentially become Paper products. I know Paper products, Really? How am I supposed to clean paper? I guess I could buy a large Eraser.

Why do I mention this issue? Recently I had a customer spend almost $9,000.00 on a “Art Silk” rug and after two months of ownership problems started to occur with the rug. First of the rug started to sprout, trade term for knots coming undone and part of the fiber sticking up higher than the rest of the rug. Second, rapid soiling and they don’t wear shoes inside the home. The real issue came when some red wine was spilled on the rug and it would not come out, remember wool and silk naturally repel liquids and paper does not. And She thought she got a “Real Silk” rug, but to her surprise and anger she did not. At the Interior Design Store, not mentioned in this article, the price tag said “Silk Rug” for $35,000.00 and she was getting a steal for under $9,000.00. Needless to say the fight is on with the Design Store.

There are some simple test to do if you are unsure about the fiber of the rug, the quickest is to do a simple burn test. Take a small clipping of the rug, from the back is fine, and using a cigarette lighter burn the fiber. If it smells like burning hair it’s wool, feathers is silk, and paper well it’s paper. This simple test can keep you from getting burned by a less than trustworthy retailer. I compare it to turning on the car and taking it for a test drive before buying.

If you would like more information give me a call and we can talk rugs. 775-813-6991 Alex Flores

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