Hate is a strong word, but this fiber earns it.
Back in 2019 I wrote a blog post about viscose rugs. It remains one of our most visited posts to this day.
Why is that?
Of course I can only speculate, but when you are dealing with a fiber that turns yellow when exposed to moisture, and there is moisture EVERYWHERE, it would make sense that there are a lot of rugs out there turning yellow for “no apparent reason” since people aren’t informed about the reality of viscose. It is a fiber made from paper that has undergone a TOXIC chemical treatment to make it shine. You can learn more about viscose rugs in my previous post.
The problem is that manufacturers blend viscose with wool and cotton and other natural fibers. So we see viscose (aka rayon) more and more in upholstery because someone figured out how to make it strong enough to withstand that kind of use. Wool and cotton are strong and high quality fibers. They are more difficult to clean, but they are durable. They are also expensive, so adding viscose makes it cheaper. But, you mix in that a paper fiber and you also get a shiny, soft and more durable fabric or rug, but it still has the same tendency to yellow when exposed to moisture.
So what do the manufacturers do?
They put an S cleaning Tag on it, and tell you that it is great for your family and just needs to be dry cleaned and don’t spill any water and their conscience is clear.
But dry cleaning a sofa is not so easy. Most cleaners won’t do it. Most dry cleaning solvents are pretty toxic, and this is a process that should really only be completed by a professional. Mother Nature’s Cleaning almost always recommends a cleaning in our facility where we can use non-toxic process that usually does include water, but in a controlled environment so they dry properly and we can prevent cellulosic browning.
It’s sad because manufacturers mislead consumers by withholding information about the fabric. We see so many sofas made out of the worst materials that soil easily and are complicated to clean or hold stains permanently. We recommend protector for fibers like these if you haven’t already considered it and we are willing to go head to head with any piece of furniture and hope to come out on top – though we don’t always win and we cannot guarantee results.
Long story short, viscose is a terrible fiber and we wish people would never buy it, but they still do.
And they call us when they realize their error. So we will continue to do battle with this rotten fabric whether in area rug or upholstery form. But please be advised that we don’t always win and, when cleaning anything with a viscose content, you should have low expectations. At any rate, Mother Nature’s Cleaning will do the best possible job with your viscose, rayon, bamboo silk, art silk or whatever else they decide to call it. If anyone can clean it, we can.