Is Viscose A Good Material For Rugs?

Vintage Kaye Gabbeh Fringe from Ankara by NuLoom

Viscose, also known as rayon, is a man-made fabric produced by using carbon disulfide and sodium hydroxide to treat cellulose. Rayon is used to make shirts, curtains, jackets, area rugs, and dresses. It doesn’t trap heat and is cool to the touch. Viscose can be dyed in any color you can imagine. Viscose may be combined with wool and cotton for a more durable, attractive rug. There are many wool and viscose blend rugs available. Viscose and chenille blends are another choice, although they aren’t as stain resistant or durable as the wool blends.

Noted for its genuine silk-like qualities (it is sometimes called art silk or bamboo silk), viscose is a versatile fiber which purportedly has the same comfort properties as natural fibers. It can imitate the look and texture of wool, cotton, linen, and silk though most often in rugs it is the latter.

Viscose rugs shed easily, so avoid placing them in high-traffic areas. Viscose fibers can be bent by being walked on about 70 times. For comparison, silk rugs can bend 2,000 times before they break. Take care to prevent spills on these rugs. Viscose tends to turn yellow when water or other liquids are spilled on it. If you see yellow spots on a viscose rug, it’s probably caused by someone spilling a drink or too much moisture in the room.

Viscose Rugs Pros and Cons

NMD785A from Nomad by Safavieh

Viscose rugs come in almost limitless shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. They range in price from around $50 to $1000 so you can find at least a few rugs to fit your budget and design preferences. Rayon area rugs can be used indoors or outdoors, but remember to keep them dry. Viscose rugs are an excellent addition to a sunroom, enclosed porch, or gazebo.

Viscose is a delicate fabric so it’s not suitable for a busy home, with lots of visitors, pets, or small children. Viscose area rugs may be a better choice for people who live alone or young, pet-free couples on a budget. If you find viscose rugs to be too delicate for your needs, check out other synthetic fiber rugs, like nylon, polyester, and polypropylene.

How to Clean Viscose Rugs

Vintage Kaye Gabbeh Fringe from Ankara by NuLoom

Rayon loses half its strength when you spill liquids on it. If a viscose rug is subject to lots of spills and foot traffic, it may fall apart. To preserve a viscose area rug, use it as a wall hanging or keep it in a location where foot traffic and spilled drinks can’t harm it.  Avoid using water-based cleaners on a regular basis.

Prevent your viscose rugs from yellowing during cleaning by turning the rug face down to dry it. Vinegar and acetic acid based cleaning solutions are more likely to turn rugs yellow. Keep your viscose rugs away from high-temperature areas. Too much heat may cause the fibers to deteriorate. Dry cleaning is a viable option, but it may not remove all stains from a heavily soiled rug.

When necessary, use a mixture of white vinegar, a mild detergent, and water to clean tough stains. Apply the foam at the top of the mixture to the stain. Blot the area dry with a damp, clean white cloth. Apply a mild cleanser for common stains.

Always put viscose rugs in a cool, dry area. Heat causes viscose fibers to shrink. Use a carpet sweeper to clean dirt and debris off a viscose rug. Turn off the beater bars and use a low setting if you must use a vacuum.

Examples of Viscose Rugs

Juna from Genesis by Jaipur

A recent listing shows around 4,000 viscose or viscose blend rugs available on Plush Rugs. Contemporary and transitional styles are the most popular, but you’ll find close to 50 styles, including tropical, Ikat, shabby chic, animal print, and farmhouse made from viscose or mostly viscose.

Although it’s no surprise that most viscose rugs are small or medium-sized, there are lots of runners made from this fabric. While viscose rugs don’t fare well under a lot of foot traffic, viscose runners can be used in an upstairs hallway or any moderately-frequented location. If family members in slippers or soft-soled shoes walk over the runner, it should last for a while. You can use a viscose runner in a den or family room, as long as you keep it away from moisture and limit foot traffic.

Most viscose rugs are machine made or hand tufted. A hand tufted rug is made with a tufting gun that punches yarns through a sheet of fabric. Handcrafted and hand knotted viscose rugs are also popular. Some viscose rugs are hand hooked, braided or flat woven.

Neutral colors such as grey, ivory, brown, and beige are most popular for viscose rugs.  There are fewer green, blue, and multi-colored rugs to choose from, but they are readily available. Reds, pinks, purples, and oranges usually come in subdued tones. Multi-colored rugs and rugs with non-neutral colors are often wool/viscose blends.

If you are looking for longevity and durability in a rug, viscose may not be the best choice for you. Viscose area rugs score high on all the other features you need in a rug – color selection, design, size, comfort, and price range. There’s no reason to strike viscose rugs off your potential purchase list unless you only want to place rugs in high-traffic locations.

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