The Dirty Little Secret Rug Manufacturers Sweep Under The Rug – Prescott AZ
Oh Boy! So what’s all the fuss about anyway? I’m Ruthie here at Arizona Oriental and it burns my bippie when folks, who have worked so hard for their money, have chosen to purchase a fine area rug and paid a handsome price for it only to find out much later that what they thought they purchased isn’t really what they bought. Rugs can cost thousands of dollars, and I’m here to say BUYER BEWARE! Did you know that manufacturers have fancy ways of disguising the fact that they have used an inferior fiber in the making of some rugs?
It’s can be very confusing for the consumer when they read the label on the back of the rug. A popular term for faux silk is Art Silk. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Truth is Art stands for artificial. It’s a man-made fiber of rayon, better known as viscose. Looks really pretty when it’s brand new and does a heck of a job at mimicking silk. The problem is it is very low performance fiber, as a matter of fact, it’s at the bottom of the heap! It is a weak fiber and will break down fast from foot traffic and soil. Due to these characteristics, cleaning success is limited. Yes we can get the rug clean, nevertheless the fibers will still look bad. We call this “uglying out” in our industry.
Another manufacturing trick is to use a low end silk, blend it with rayon (viscose) and then label the rug “made with silk”. There are two types of silk. The silk that makes beautiful, sturdy, fine area rugs come from cultivated silk worms. The worms are fed a diet conducive to exactly what is needed to produce fine silk in one long continuous silk thread inside the cocoon. Then the cocoon is boiled and the long continuous silk thread is harvested for use in making very fine, delicate long silk threads. This in turn allows the rug weavers to create masterpieces with fine silk knots, allowing for a very dense rug to be woven with very intricate design.
On the other hand, there is also wild silk. These are silk worms that are wild (not in a controlled environment, and for the worm to exit the cocoon it eats its way out, drilling a whole through the cocoon whereby breaking the long silk threads in the process.
Manufacturers use this broken silk because it is so much cheaper to purchase. This very weak fiber is then combined with rayon (viscose) another weak fiber to make a weak fiber replica of the better quality silk. This would be like putting a couple of Mercedes emblems and maybe a Mercedes mirror on a low quality automobile just so you can say it’s made by Mercedes, but all the important parts are still low quality. Even though the silk is grossly inferior to the finer silk, this process allows the manufacturer to label the rug as silk. (booo-hisss)
Don’t be so quick to judge an area rug by a label. Do your homework. Look at the back of the rug. Determine that there is a high density of tiny knots to each square inch. Super fine silk area rugs can have as much as 600 knots per square inch and it is strong. What this allows is for the weaver to have great detail in their design. Tiny flowers, leaves, animal figurines, etc. Because of the intricacy and fineness of the silk, many hours of labor is needed to create even a tiny 3x5 silk rug, hence the price that quality weavers demand.
I’m not saying that you should never buy a rug with viscose or wild silk. However keep in mind that you should not pay an extreme amount of money for these fibers. Think of these rugs as disposable. You should be aware that the life expectancy will be a couple of years to perhaps 10 years as opposed to many decades. On the other hand, quality silk rugs properly maintained can certainly be handed down through many family generations.
Now that you know what to look for, have fun shopping with YOUR EYES WIDE OPEN!
Till next time, enjoy your beautiful art for your floor and remember a clean rug is a rug that can last you a lifetime!
Arizona Oriental & Specialty Rug Care serves Prescott, Prescott Valley and Sedona, and much of the Northern Arizona areas. We meet the highest standards in professional cleaning of area rugs with rug wash specialists having earned the highest training, including certification as WOOLSAFE FIBRE CARE SPECIALISTS through the WOOLSAFE ORGANISATION. Such extraordinary certification ensures the area rugs of our client’s receive the utmost in care.
Call us for more information on silk area rugs vs. faux silk area rugs in Prescott AZ 928-445-1718, visit our website at www.ArizonaOriental.com, or stop by Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at our rug washing facility at 565 EZ Street, Prescott, AZ 86301 (pick-up and delivery also available)