Legend says rugs silk fibre was discovered by accident in China around 2600 BC, where an empress accidentally dropped a cocoon into a cup of hot tea. This resulted in in gum outside the fibres to melt displaying one continuous fibre.
Most common form of silk fibres available are Bombyx mori, fed on mulberry leaves and this silk is less tougher and rougher and could be easily bleached then wild silk worms.
Characteristic of Silk Rugs
* Hygroscopic- could hold upto 30% of body weight in water without feeling wet.
* Low specific Gravity- it has low density and has “rungs” in air space which act as insulation and allow the fibre to breathe.
* Strength in Fineness- its strength, given in equal diameters, is stronger than any other natural fibre including Nylon and steel wire.
* Abrasive- Silk could be easily abraised and hence is not considered as best choice of fibre for rugs. Silk rugs should be cleaned frequently to avoid abrasion.
* Susceptible for sun fading
Cleaning Process for Silk Rugs
Low priced silk rugs are prone to pile distortion and colour to bleed. If more aggressive cleaner is applied could lead to colour loss. Keep away from chlorine as silk easily melts in chlorine.
*Test of colourfast
*If colour runs contact customer to discuss further and apply colourfast
*Vacuum both sides of rug
*Light spray a PH neutral cleaner to the pile of rug
*Extract with cold water (as hot water could and fibre rinse so pile is left down
*Bonnet clean (Dry Clean) with dry pad
*Repeat the extraction process
*Repeat the bonnet clean process
*Extract the excess water
*Apply additional treatment, such as deodorising, protection if opted
*Flat dry the rug if colour bleeds or else dry on the rack
NB: with the improvement in technology and enhancement of fibre making process, there is a trend to replace Silk Fibres with Rayon or mercerized cotton. Distinguishing both with naked eye could be very hard even for the trained professionals. If Rayon is used the label may read “art. Silk”, “a. silk” (artificial silk) or even “faux soie”, French for fake silk.