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How Does A Homeowner Perform Silk Rug Cleaning

Before subjecting any silk rug to cleaning, it is important to make sure that the treatment process is not going to damage the material. While the tensile strength of this material is extremely high, it is still only a combination of protein and water. Its organic nature means it is susceptible to things that other materials aren’t affected by, so great care must be taken when treating the rug. For this reason, it is usually best to contact a professional experienced with handling this delicate material. This is especially true if the carpeting is precious or old. The simplest mistake can cause lasting damage.

For more than 5,000 years, different applications have been used in regards to silk and its potential is only beginning to be unlocked. However, it is still most commonly found in precious tapestries, prized for its strength, texture and beauty. It is often integrated into wool carpeting to enhance its strength, but great care will still need to be taken when treating the carpeting. There are also many artificial versions of this material (rayon is the best known), but these are commonly considered inferior to the natural product. Experts point out that rayon and other artificial versions may only last several years before they break down. A woven, natural silk rug with regular cleaning can last for centuries. There is also a fundamental difference between tufted and woven methods in quality and durability. Tufted carpeting may be less expensive, but woven material will retain its look for much longer and will withstand more foot traffic over time.

When preparing a silk rug for cleaning, the way it was made is an important consideration. The age and current state of the material must also be considered. Regular vacuuming will keep dry soil from working its way deep into the mat where it will begin tearing fibers apart. However, avoid vacuuming the fringe and set the beater brushes at their highest setting or it may agitate the fibers too much and ruin their texture. Cleaning is necessary when soil buildup affects the look or feel of the rug. It’s easy to tell when there’s too much soil present by picking it up and striking it gently. If this releases a cloud of dust, it is time to treat the material.

Dry stains should be gently removed without liquid if possible. Wet stains should be blotted up and treated with water. This material is highly sensitive to hot water, which can denature the proteins and cause the material to break down. For this reason, washing should always be done with lukewarm water instead. Also, most treatment chemicals will cause damage to the material, which is another reason most people consider consulting with a professional.

Professionals can take all of the guesswork out of the treatment process and ensure no damage is done to the delicate material. Professionals with the Rug Cleaning Technician (RCT) certification through the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification are capable of evaluating a rug and determining the best course of treatment. Finding a technician who is specialized in handling this type of material is easy by visiting the IICRC website (

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