The Ultimate Guide to Bamboo Silk Rugs
Making rugs dates back over 3,000 years, and creating a bamboo silk rug is entering a new light. From the composition of its fibers to how to maintain its appearance, here is a comprehensive guide that may answer a few unknowns you may have about bamboo rugs.
All About Bamboo Silk
The first place to start when learning about bamboo rugs is from the basics of what comprises this rug – bamboo silk. So, where does bamboo silk even come from you may ask? Well, the answer is in the question – bamboo! The process of getting bamboo silk from bamboo is a couple of steps.
Bamboo silk is a variety of viscose that occurs naturally, so the cellulose is drawn out from the bamboo. Then, this is shaped into a sticky paste that then needs to dry out. This process results in removing fiber that is both soft and silky, like a cloud, but are still sturdy. It also has antimicrobial and hypoallergenic properties.
Bamboo Silk Versus Traditional Silk
Secondly, there is a difference on how bamboo silk and traditional silk are made. Both silks are processed the same way: by drawing it out, drying it, and removing the soft fibers. The difference is how the fibers are made. Traditional silk is made with the secretions from a silk worm.
The worms make this liquid protein by emitting it from their salivary glands. While the secretion is removed from the silk worm’s mouth, it dries and then expelled like bamboo silk. While both of these fibers are plush and lavish in nature, bamboo silk can be made without harming silk worms and grow faster.
Bamboo Silk Rugs for the Long-Haul
Following up the texture of the rug is the durability. Both silks are sturdy and can last a long time, but traditional silk rugs may require more maintenance to keep up its look. In areas with high foot-traffic, bamboo rugs will not budge on its appearance. These types of rugs are so durable that even heavy furniture will not disrupt the appearance. Whereas rugs comprised of traditional silk have to stay in areas where foot-traffic is relatively lower to evade wear and tear.
With each rug receiving the care it needs respectively, each could reach over 50+ years of use. So, regarding each type of silk, bamboo and traditional can both last for decades, but rugs made with traditional silk will need more TLC.
Bamboo Silk to Wool Ratio
The next bit of information about bamboo rugs to know is how much bamboo to wool ratio is best for a soft and silky rug. The best ratio for a bamboo silk and wool rug is 30/70, and it’s also the most common. While the idea of a pure bamboo silk rug sounds rich and pillow-like, this is not the case. While these qualities are true about bamboo silk, a rug that is 100% bamboo silk would not only absorb any stains, but the sturdiness of the rug would be tested. Bamboo silk is like a sponge, and will soak up any liquid poured onto the rug.
So, by the time you grab a towel to clean up the red wine, the fibers have already absorbed all the liquid and color, and it is almost impossible to get out. Plus, a bamboo silk and wool rug will hold up against the high traffic areas. While both traditional and bamboo silk rugs are frail alone, adding wool to the rug will allow the shine of the bamboo silk with the durability of a soft fiber that will support the rug’s overall appearance.
The Feel of Bamboo Silk: The Art of Hand-washing
Hand-washing certain items you own may not happen often, but this method used to be the only way. Hand-washing makes for a softer-feeling fabric because your hands soften the fabric while you wash it. In fact, fabric softener was created in the Industrial Revolution to cut down on how hard washing machines were on fabrics. Likewise, hand-washing rugs is how you retain the soft, luxurious feel of the fibers without wearing down the overall structure of it.
The only downfall to hand-washing the rug is the loss of the shine from the bamboo silk. It’s like a double-edged sword. If you wash the rug, you will lose the shiny appearance; however, without hand-washing, the color from the dye will bleed onto anything around it, and the longevity and softness would decrease.
Clean and Care Rules of a Bamboo Silk Rug
Make sure a professional cleans your rug once a year. If a stain occurs, make sure to spot treat it. One very important rule for cleaning a stain is to never take a towel or brush and try to rub the stain away. This is because being rough with this type of rug can permanently cause damage to the structure of the rug that not even a professional can mend. These types of rugs are hand-knotted, and trying to clean a stain in this manner would ultimately destroy the makeup of the wool and bamboo silk. We have an at home rug cleaning guide with much more information on this subject.
Bamboo Silk Rugs Cost by Knot
Bamboo silk rugs are hand made, like mentioned above. Although materials, ages, patterns, and different shapes and sizes all affect the formula of making up the final price, the knot count is key. Actually, this is the universal way of coming up with a cost for rugs. Since making sure you locate an area rug that is not only in the best condition, but in the highest quality, we carry rugs from Nazmiyal (which is almost straight from the artisans’ hands to your living room). Contact our Director of Modern Rugs to find both the knotting specification, quality, and design you are looking for.
Sprouting Rugs and What to Know
Since bamboo silk and wool rugs are comprised of natural fibers and are hand-knotted, the term “sprouting” can occur. This is where it appears thread is pulled up and out of the rug. This is very common with these types of rugs, especially in high foot-traffic areas. The best thing to do is to take a pair of small, sharp scissors and trim the yarn to make the rug appear even again. NEVER pull the yarn, as this will only harm, not help, your rug.
Shedding Rugs and the Best Way to Vacuum
Yes, bamboo silk rugs will shed because of the composition of it. All natural fiber rugs, such as traditional silk, wool, and bamboo silk, shed, but the amount of fibers that fall off is due to the value of the rug. Rugs with a good quality to them should shed, but only for the first couple of weeks. However, a rug with a lower value that is not hand knotted will always shed. Vacuuming your rug can also help with shedding, but it depends on the vacuum and the direction you move it.
Never use a beater bar vacuum for a bamboo silk rug. This type of vacuum is too hard for this delicate of a rug, and is intended for synthetic rugs and carpets. Use the bristle attachment on your vacuum and move it in the way the wool fibers are leaning towards.
Bamboo Silk and Wool Rugs for the Environment
In today’s world, we are realizing how harmful plastic can be on the environment. From replacing plastic bags and plastic straws to reusable totes and metal straws, switching from plastic to something that is more natural can really benefit our planet. Switching from a synthetic rug to a wool or bamboo silk rug can also be a great change that will better our environment. Both of these types of fibers are great replacement for synthetic rugs.
Both wool and bamboo are actually two big renewable resources, and making these into rugs causes no harm to the environment. They also both have hypoallergenic and antibacterial properties. Both wool and bamboo are obtained easily on our planet. Wool comes from shearing sheep, which is both healthy and not cruel to the animal. Sheep need to be sheared to help them cool off, and this happens at least once a year.
Bamboo can also grow without farmer intervention and can thrive in most climates. It is a crop that can withstand different types of weather and grow in big quantities. There is bamboo depletion happening in some panda habitats, but not because of the making of items like rugs. There is a decrease of bamboo in these areas due to VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that are filling both landfills and the air.
Traditional Silk and VOC’s are Destroying our Planet
VOC’s can be found in your home in the form of synthetic fibers like nylon and polypropylene. The New York State Department of Health said, “[VOCs] caused cancer and affected the liver, kidney and nervous system,” of laboratory rats when they were exposed to these dangerous products. Also, they suggested, “Disposal of unneeded products containing VOCs,” or to utilize these types of products outdoors only, like an artificial rug. Also, the killing of silk worms to make natural silk rugs is inhumane.
This is because the caterpillar cannot be removed from the silk it has woven without boiling the entire piece of silk with the caterpillar still on it. To make one pound of silk from caterpillars, a total of 2,500 must be killed. Overall, buying rugs made of wool and bamboo silk not only benefit your household with a beautiful hand-knotted masterpiece, but also keep the landfills and air clean from VOCs and save silk worms lives.