Bamboo silk is the hottest new trend in rug fibres, and these stunning rugs are appearing everywhere – including at professional rug cleaners. These rugs are beautiful pieces for the home, but home owners are unaware that this soft, luxurious floor covering is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to clean. So today we are discussing the pros and cons of Bamboo Silk rugs.
What is Bamboo Silk?
Bamboo silk is simply the name given to a rug made from viscose, a blend of viscose and/or fibre removed from bamboo stalks. As a fibre, Bamboo is growing in popularity due to it being a fantastic renewable resource. Bamboo silk is also easy to grow, reaching up to 23 metres a year. Further, bamboo does not require replanting, making it an ideal clothing, linen and rug fibre. They are beautiful and very soft, with the look of more expensive silk. However, despite the use of the word “silk” bamboo silk rugs are not real silk. Viscose is a rayon fibre which reacts poorly to moisture.
Is It the Same as Art Silk?
Bamboo silk is sold under several different names. These rugs are all the same fibres – or blends of artificial fibres – which can be confusing. In fact, the different names these viscose rugs come under can sound like they are a different fibre altogether. While there are different production methods, these rugs are all essentially the same. Bamboo silk comes under a variety of different names including:
- Art Silk
- Banana Silk
- Bamboo Silk
One of the biggest cons for bamboo silk is its delicacy and issues with water. The unfortunate side of viscose and artificial silk fabrics is their poor reaction to water or other liquids. This is because water or liquids weakens the rug and changes the appearance of the fabric pile. Even spilling water on the rug will look like a stain. And these cannot be spot cleaned because they are not actually stained.
This staining look is forms because the fabric has been altered in the area of the spill. This requires professional cleaning to fix it. But even after professional cleaning the rug might look darker. As a result, bamboo silk rugs are not as hardwearing or as easy to care for as many people believe. They are best suited to rooms with little to no traffic, or as a wall piece.
Another con for bamboo silk is it being highly susceptible to crushing. This means the fibres can easily crease or flatten under foot traffic or sitting. This makes it a difficult fabric to work with and keep nice in a home, especially if it is used on the floor.
The biggest con for artificial silk rugs is their susceptibility to staining. Due to the fact that bamboo silk reacts badly to liquids, meaning anything spilled on the rug is likely to set in the fibres forever. While Woods Rug Laundry have had some success in removing stains from bamboo silk rugs, it is never a guarantee that they can be cleaned. Further, if you attempt to clean stain yourself at home, it is highly likely you will set the stain. Once a stain is set into bamboo silk or viscose fibres, it cannot be removed, even by professional cleaners.
Once a bamboo silk rug is stained, you have the choice to either live with it or throw the rug away. Unfortunately, if thousands of these rugs end up in landfill, it makes their positive environmental impact moot.
The Benefits of Bamboo Silk
Despite its many issues, bamboo silk does have many benefits. It is a wonderful component in non-pile woven fabric, in combination with fibres like cotton. Viscose accents in a rug are also lovely and any changes in colour to those accents is generally not noticeable. They are also beautiful, light weight, and as lovely an addition to your home.
However, it is important to remember that bamboo silk is not an ideal fibre for rugs in high traffic areas, or where they are likely to encounter spills. If you do have a spill or stain on your rug, it is important to have it professionally cleaned to avoid setting the stain into the fibres.
Woods Rug Laundry has received several bamboo silk rugs for cleaning. While some rugs were returned with okay results, other rugs had stains and marks that weren’t possible to clean. From our experience, bamboo silk and viscose fibres do not release stains well. This makes them difficult to clean or get a good result. Further, common stains like tea, coffee and red wine can be reduced but will still have a residual stain.
Bamboo silk rugs are beautiful pieces of art, as beautiful as real silk rugs. However, they come with many drawbacks that might make your rug difficult to live with. If you have a bamboo silk, art silk or any other kind of rayon/viscose rug with a stain, contact Woods Rug Laundry today. We can help you assess if your rug can be cleaned or repaired.