Written by Micheal Christie*
The mere utterance of its name alone is enough to elicit controversy. On one hand there are those who love to hate upon it, on the other are those who embrace its use.
- What is Viscose?
Noted for its genuine silk-like qualities, viscose is a versatile fiber which purportedly has the same comfort properties as natural fibers. It can imitate the look and texture of wool, cotton, linen, and silk though most often in rugs it is the latter; it can be dyed and does not insulate heat which leaves the hand of viscose cool to the touch. As such, viscose has and continues to be used in a wide range of consumer products from fashion, to personal care, to interiors, and as is appropriate herein, to rugs and carpets as well.
- How popular is Viscose?
I spoke with Yasir Sheikh, CEO of ALRUG with offices in Pakistan and the United States, who goes so far as to state, “I assume that Viscose is currently the third most common material used for hand knotted rugs and its use catching on among manufacturers. I expect to see more and more Viscose rugs in the future with maturing techniques and improvement in material over the next few year.”
- How does Viscose compare to other materials?
The durability, cleanability, and appearance retention of viscose is far lower than its more entrenched counterparts of wool and silk, especially when wet. A wool fiber will bend perhaps 10,000 times before breaking, silk 2,000, but viscose a mere 70-100…Viscose also exhibits low elastic recovery with some sources calling it the lowest of all fibers. By comparison: Viscose has an elasticity-that is its ability to be starched and still return to its original shape-of approximately two to three percent whereas wool exhibits approximately thirty percent when dry and up to fifty percent when wet. Some variants of viscose such as Tencel, the most recognized brand name of lyocell, provide increased strength and exhibit higher durability and appearance retention.
At the same time, salespeople, websites, designers, and anyone really, who is selling a viscose carpet should be honest about its composition, caveats, and educated purchasing decision.
Here at Blackstone’s we take pride of making sure we provide you with up-to-date and truthful information for not just viscose but all our products. We are happy to give you more information if needed and feel free to stop by our showroom to view our products from soft sisal to viscose!
*All credit for this blog goes to Micheal Christie from Rug Insider