You are getting ready for bed, fill up a glass of water and trip on the way in. Before you know it your water is no longer in your cup, and all over your brand new rug. But this one seems different… In a matter of seconds, by the time you got a rag to blot up the water the spill has changed the texture of the rug that was silky and with a sheen. You’re starting to see browning appear and you didn’t even start to experiment with all your spot cleaners, baking soda and vinegar yet (you’ll be happy you didn’t just wait).

Viscose is an umbrella term for rayon, banana silk, bamboo silk and faux silk. It’s essentially wood pulp or recycled cotton processed repeatedly until the fiber changes from cotton to a fiber that resembles silk. Honestly, the only way to tell the difference between the two is to take the fibers to a fire. If the burning fiber smells like paper, it’s viscose. If the fiber smells like hair, it’s silk. Because of how processed the fiber is, it makes it extremely fragile. And much like paper, Viscose hates water. The second it gets wet, texture change and browning occurs.

Which makes treating viscose or spotting stains nearly impossible in the home.

Truly this fiber can only be treated by professionals in a controlled environment, rather than DIY spotting like you can on a wool or polypropylene fiber. Despite the fact the fiber hates water, the only way to correct the issue would be to wash with soap and water on the front and back side of the rugs. The rug would then be treated in the spilled areas to neutralize the pH and browning of the fibers, groomed in one direction and dried in a heat controlled dry room.

Although this method is the most effective, there is always still a risk of texture change. Ultimately if you are looking to purchase a rug and are researching fibers, it’s best to stay away from viscose. For natural fibers, wool is your best bet. For synthetics, polypropylene cleans well and comes in many different styles and textures. Overall, you can also spot these better in the home!