Silk is a beautiful and robust fiber. Many people think that you have to use baby silk. The artificial silk fibers called rayon and viscose are weak and yellow. They also lose their color and crack at a rapid rate.
Silk is a strong fabric with a high tensile force. It has many unique properties, which may be used for other purposes than just making beautiful textiles and fabrics. This short TED video shares the magic of silk for other uses.
Silk is strong and can weave intricate patterns with knot counts exceeding 1500 knots/square inch.
The strands of silk would break if they were not strong. This is why the real thing will be thinner and more flexible, with more intricate designs.
Here is a natural silk Qum carpet (hand-woven in Persia).
You can find silk rugs in countries other than the Middle East. They are also found in China, India, and Turkey. Their construction is thin, colorful, and delicate.
Rug cleaners, especially those new to the business, are afraid of handling silk rugs.
They should be.
It isn’t because silk can’t be washed. Yes, it is. The dyes are the problem, not the fibers.
If they are accidentally bled, it is costly to replace silk rugs – especially those with fine weaves. You may have to contact your insurance agent if you want this covered.
A small silk rug can cost thousands of dollars – especially if the quality is excellent.
If you’re a rug cleaner and you have a silk carpet on your hands, here are some questions to ask:
What is the difference between real silk and artificial silk?
It is not necessary to clean it differently because rayon/viscose are inferior fibers. You must treat them very gently to be able to follow the same cleaning steps as you would with silk. What matters most is the value of the rug and whether or not you’re insured in case your lack of expertise damages the rug during cleaning. You want to make sure it’s the real deal.
The more valuable a rug is, with some exceptions (there will ALWAYS be exceptions in the world of rugs), the thinner the pile nap and the higher the number of knots per square inch. This is only for silk, not for wool. Wool rugs are worth a lot more than silk rugs.
Are you familiar with the cleaning of silk
You can wash a silk carpet quickly if you have a rug-cleaning machine with a roller wringer. A quick and thorough wash is required for a silk carpet. Use the correct dye-stabilizing solution. Keep the cleaning solution acidic. Remove excess water as quickly as possible.
It is important to master fiber and dye tests and pre-inspection so you can know what to do with the fabric to clean it or if it cannot be cleaned safely.
Some rug companies will dry-clean silk rugs if you have the capability
We wash our rugs. I do not like the residue on the fibers. I prefer them to be truly clean. Dry cleaning solvents irritate my skin, so I don’t use them. Our roller-wringer allows us to remove moisture from the rug in less than a minute. This allows the rug to be laid out flat and dried very quickly. You should not wash any silk or fake silk rugs if you don’t have a wringer. You can hire a rug cleaning service that has experience with silk.
The new upholstery pro by Sapphire Scientific is another tool that I’ve found to be extremely effective for cleaning silk fabric furniture, silk rugs, which are too delicate to soak fully in a washing machine due to dye migration risk, and rayon/viscose carpets that cannot take any agitation.
This tool is ideal for riskier fabrics and fibers because it delivers moisture in a controlled and thorough manner.
Jim Pemberton is an expert on fine fabric care and has successfully used this tool to clean and restore microfiber, rayon, and older (i.e., fragile) upholstery. This tool is perfect for cleaning fragile upholstery. It leaves no marks, delivers excellent cleaning, and allows you to control moisture delivery and removal.
I have used this tool to clean rugs I normally would not touch due to the risk of cleaning them properly. The tool has been used on real silk rugs, which were too fragile due to their age to be washed properly, and rayon rugs too dirty to even brush.
This is also great for spot-cleaning rugs, where you want to focus on a particular area of the rug without having to submerge the whole rug.
It is a must-have tool for any professional rug cleaner or fabric specialist
Even the best tools in untrained hands will result in a disaster. If you’re just starting in the rug-cleaning profession, you should plan on getting your education first through classes and hands-on training with rugs you already own. If you’re serious about learning how to clean rugs, then don’t try it on someone else’s rug. eBay offers a wide variety of cheap rugs for you to practice on.
While you’re at it, you can also find a rug cleaning company that has been in business for many years to take on the textiles your clients have sent you. It’s sometimes the easiest thing to do to give your clients valuable textiles to more experienced hands.
If you own an investment silk carpet and read this article, I feel the silk rug should not be placed on the floor. Why? It is not weak. It is.
Silk fibers are smooth and have a single filament. This means that they do not have pockets to conceal dirt like wool. Silk rugs and cotton and rayon rugs will look dirtier faster than wool rugs if exposed to the same amount of foot traffic or dust. The fiber is what makes it so.