Silk or…

…rayon or mercerized cotton? This is the new dilemma that we are facing nowadays with some rugs that are being sold as silk to unwary consumers.

I’m seeing more and more of these rugs coming into the shop and when customers call to have their”silk” rug cleaned my first question is : Are you sure it is silk? They pause for a moment and then their answer is : I bought a silk rug, at least I thought I did, I was told it was silk, why do you ask? Then I ask them to look at the back of the rug for a tag (if there is one) and read to me what type of fiber has been used to manufacture the rug and most of the times they say: oh yes it is silk, actually it says ART silk.

Well, that little word: ART is the problem. Somehow someone has forgotten how to spell the word ARTIFICIAL or maybe it was done on purpose (most likely) and that ‘s exactly what it i s:  ARTIFICIAL SILK. It is not the natural fiber that we have know and used for centuries but it is a synthetic fiber made from polyester or could also be made of a natural fiber, cotton, called Viscose in Europe and Rayon in USA,  chemically processed( mercerized) to give it a high luster and smooth feel just like the real silk.

The problem with these rugs is that they are weak,they fade rapidly,  they do not stand up very well to foot traffic, they discolor fast with a tendency to turn yellow, they do not clean up well, so, they will not last long.

Real silk, after wool, is one of the strongest fibers. Wool will break after approximately 10000 bends, silk will break after 2500 bends and rayon will break after only a mere 75 bends, so you can see how weak this stuff is and you can also realize that your investment in one of these rugs will not yield a good return, in other words this rug will be history much, much sooner than the real thing.

Now that you know the difference about the real silk and the fake one (art or faux) the next time you look at a possible silk rug, make sure you check the label on the back and, also, make sure that that little word (ART) is not printed anywhere, that will save you some headaches.

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