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How to Clean a Viscose Rug

Whether your viscose rug has an unfortunate stain or deep-set dirt, you may be wondering how to care for your rug. Different rug materials absorb moisture, stains, and dirt in different ways, so finding a cleaning solution for your specific rug may be daunting and intimidating. Fortunately, there are plenty of approved ways to clean your viscose rug. Keep reading for tips and tricks for cleaning fresh stains, set-in blemishes, and how to deep clean your viscose area rug.

Learn More About Cleaning Viscose Rugs

  1. What are Viscose Rugs?
  2. Viscose rugs have specific care requirements
  3. How to spot clean a viscose rug
  4. When to Go to a Professional
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

What are Viscose Rugs?

Viscose rugs are made of natural fibers from wood, cotton, or bamboo. The rugs are made by collecting the plant material and then shredding/pulping it to break down the fibers. Then, chemicals are added to filter the material and allow them to be spun into fibers. The end result is a rug that features the ultra soft, luxurious look and feel of silk area rugs. Viscose rugs also have a soft sheen that’s comparable to silk, although viscose doesn’t have the natural strength and durability of silk.

Viscose rugs have specific care requirements

Because of how the rugs are made and how the plant fibers are broken down, viscose has a lower fiber strength. This means that these rugs do not take kindly to heavy foot traffic or strong cleaners. With that, the rugs also react negatively to too much moisture with cleaning or high humidity. When the rug is exposed to heavy moisture, the cellulose-based fibers may begin to brown or yellow. That is one of the key ways that viscose rugs differ from others; unlike some popular natural rugs or synthetic rugs, water and moisture must be used very sparingly and intentionally when cleaning viscose area rugs. If the rug isn’t treated with care, then the colors may run, the rug may yellow, and the fibers may weaken. 

With all this in mind, you may be hesitant to even purchase a viscose rug. While they do require knowledgeable and intentional care, they are still beautiful accents for today’s homes. To help you make that decision and care for your viscose rug, here are some common questions and cleaning solutions for viscose rugs.

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Viscose rugs have specific care requirements

When you’re spot cleaning a viscose rug, one of the most important steps is to treat the stain as quickly as possible. That way, you prevent the stain from spreading further and deeper into the rug’s fabric and damaging other fibers. Follow the steps below to treat your rug’s stains. 

Blot The Stain

If you spill a liquid onto your rug, use a paper towel or clean lightly-colored rag to gently dap the affected area. Do not scrub or brush the area with your towel; that may remove more liquid, but it also pushes it further into the rug and spreads it to nearby fibers. 

Mix Your Cleaner

Instead of using water, use a citric or acetic acid solution. Cleaning powders of this solution are available to be mixed with a cool water to create an approved cleaning solution. This type of solution works for viscose rugs because the natural acidity prevents the rug’s fibers from yellowing. In fact, these solutions can sometimes reverse the effects of yellowing to restore your rug. 

If you do not have this type of cleaner on hand, you may use white vinegar or a mild dish soap instead. Dilute the solution with equal parts cold water and equal parts vinegar or soap. No matter what solution you use, you should use either paper towels or a light colored cloth that won’t transfer dye to the rug. 

How to spot clean a viscose rug (continued)

Apply the Cleaner

Before you use the cleaner on a prominent stain, test it on a smaller, more hidden portion of the rug. This will help you test the solution and ensure that your rug doesn’t have a negative reaction to the cleaner. After that is done, use a clean rag or paper towel to apply a very small amount of the solution to the stain. Even though this solution is approved for viscose rugs, it still uses water, so you must be careful not to oversaturate the rug. Gently scrub the rug with your rag in the direction of the weave so you do not risk breaking the fibers. 

Apply a Softener 

Lightly mist your treated area with a fabric softener solution. This will keep the fibers from hardening and keep your rug feeling soft and luxurious. Once again, avoid oversaturating the area with excessive moisture; a small amount of fabric softener and light mist is enough to treat the area.

Dry The Rug

It is important to dry your rug as soon as possible to lessen the chances of moisture damage. Hair dryers are a quick and easy solution, but they should be used on a cool, gentle setting to prevent heating the rug’s fibers and causing color bleeding. Air drying is an option, but when you leave the rug to dry, be sure that it is not drying in direct sunlight; these intense rays may damage the rug’s sheen. 

Fluff the Fibers

After the rug is dry, use a rug brush specifically made for viscose rugs, a napping brush, or your hands to lift the fibers back into place. This will help recreate a consistent pile on your rug and restore its comfort.

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When to Go to a Professional

Even with the proper at-home care, we recommend taking your viscose rug to a professional cleaner every two or three years to keep the rug beautiful and dirt-free. It is also worthwhile to go to a professional when you have deep-set stains that need to be treated. These professionals will likely use dry-cleaning methods to avoid exposing the rug’s fibers to damaging moisture and water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Regularly Clean a Viscose Rug?

Viscose area rugs should not be regularly vacuumed. However, on the rare occasions they are vacuumed, use the most gentle setting possible to avoid a beater wearing out the rug. A non-electric vacuum or carpet sweeper is a great alternative for cleaning the rug at home. When using any of these methods, the cleaner should run directly with the rug’s pile direction and grain to avoid snapping fragile fibers.

Can a viscose rug be dry cleaned?

Since viscose is so sensitive to moisture, we recommend dry cleaning as the optimal cleaning method. Professional dry cleaners and rug cleaners have the tools and knowledge to treat these rugs without excessive moisture, and they can bring your rug back to its former glory by removing hard-set stains or overall dirt. 

Can a viscose rug be steam cleaned?

Steam cleaning is not a recommended cleaning method for viscose. Even with the lighter moisture and keeping a steam cleaner at a distance, that level of moisture can still damage the rug’s fibers, cause brittleness, and yellow the rug.

Viscose area rugs are a beautiful, affordable alternative to silk rugs. Their natural softness, sheen, and lower price tag make them appealing for today’s homes. Even though these rugs require intentional, careful care, you now have the knowledge to regularly clean your rug, spot-clean it at home, and know how professionals can keep your rug as beautiful as the day you bought it.


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