What Rug Manufacturers are Sweeping Under Their Rugs – Prescott Valley AZ
What’s all the fuss about!? Ruthie here with Arizona Oriental & Specialty Rug Care in Prescott AZ and boy does it frustrate me 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 later that what they thought they had purchased isn’t really what they bought. Rugs can cost thousands of dollars, so BUYER BEWARE! Did you know that manufacturers have fancy ways of disguising the fact they have used an inferior fiber in the making of some rugs?
The label on the back of the rug can be very confusing for the consumer. Many manufacturers use the term Art Silk, which sounds a lot better than the Faux Silk it actually is. However, Art stands for artificial. This is a man-made fiber of rayon, also known as viscose. It looks really pretty when it’s brand new and certainly does a great job at mimicking silk. However, it’s a very low performance fiber – in fact, it’s at the bottom of the barrel! This is a weak fiber and will break down fast from foot traffic and soil. Because of these characteristics, cleaning success is limited. We can get the rug clean, of course, but the fibers will still look bad. In our industry, we call this “uglying out.”
Another manufacturing trick is to use a low-end silk, blend it with rayon (viscose) and stick “made with silk” on the label for the rug. There are two types of silk. The silk that makes beautiful, sturdy, fine area rugs comes from cultivated silk worms. These worms are fed a diet conducive to exactly what is needed to produce fine silk in one long, continuous thread inside the cocoon. This cocoon is then boiled and that long, continuous silk thread is harvested for use in very fine, delicate long silk threads. This in turn allows the rug weavers to create masterpieces with very fine silk knots, allowing for a very dense rug to be woven with an intricate design.
The other type of silk is called wild silk. This is made from silk worms that are wild (not in a controlled environment) and the worm exits the cocoon by eating its way out and drilling a hole through the cocoon and thus breaking the long silk threads in the process.
This broken silk is much cheaper to purchase, which is why manufacturers use it. This already weak fiber is then combined with rayon (viscose), another weak fiber, to make a weak fiber replica of the higher quality silk. This is sort of like putting some Mercedes emblems and a Mercedes mirror on a low-quality automobile just so you can say it’s made by Mercedes. All the important parts are still low quality, though! This silk is grossly inferior to fine silk, but this process allows the manufacturer to label the rug as silk (tricky, aren’t they?).
Don’t be so quick to judge an area rug by its label. Do your homework! Look at the back of the rug and determine if there is a high density of tiny knots in each square inch. Super fine silk area rugs can have as many as 600 knots per square inch and it is strong and durable. This allows for the weaver to have great detail in their design. Tiny flowers, leaves, animal figures, etc. This intricacy and fineness of the silk requires many hours of label to create even a tiny 3’ x 5’ silk rug, hence the price that quality weavers demand.
I’m not saying you should never buy a rug made with viscose or wild silk. Just keep in mind that you should not be paying an extreme amount of money for these fibers. Think of these rugs as disposable. You should be aware that the life expectancy of these rugs will range from just a couple of years to perhaps 10 years rather than many decades. Properly maintained, quality silk rugs can certainly be handed down through many generations
Now that you know what to look for, enjoy 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 Valley, Prescott, 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 vs. faux silk 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). (01-16-17)