How To Care For A Viscose Couch
Viscose is the third most commonly used textile fiber in the world. It is made from trees but is not necessarily better for you or the environment. Many of us have a viscose couch at home due to this fabric being widely used by furniture manufacturers. What not so many people know is that viscose is a nightmare for upholstery cleaning companies – your couch cleaner will not refuse service, but they will have to put some extra work and care into couch cleaning services.
What Is Viscose?
Viscose is a semi-synthetic material derived from wood pulp. Viscose is also called rayon or artificial silk, and the name “viscose” comes from the manufacturing method, which uses a viscous organic liquid. Viscose is actually one of the three types of rayon: modal, lyocell, and viscose; each fabric is obtained differently and has unique properties.
Viscose is the oldest manufactured fiber, first being produced in 1883 as an affordable alternative to silk. It can be obtained using cellulose from various plants: pine, spruce, beech, hemlock, bamboo, eucalyptus, sugarcane, soy, and others.
Why Viscose Is Used for Upholstery
Viscose has a series of qualities that make it a popular material, used by several industries: breathability, draping well, color retention, blending well with other fibers, high absorbency, affordability, high strength, being lightweight, and not building up static electricity.
Viscose is used for couches and other types of upholstery due to its ability to maintain shape. Viscose is not elastic, but it can be blended with other textiles such as spandex to make it stretch. Another reason why this fabric is used by furniture manufacturers is the fact it can hold dye for a long time without fading. Last, but not least, viscose is cheap and enables upholstery manufacturers to reduce costs both for them and their customers, so it is no wonder this controversial material is present in couches, sofas, mattresses, and other household items.
Why Viscose Is Not Environmentally-Friendly
Viscose is considered environmentally friendly by some because it is biodegradable. However, its manufacturing process can have a negative impact on the environment.
The raw material used to obtain viscose is wood, and deforestation is a major environmental concern. To tackle this downside, major fashion brands are working with fabric manufacturers who source their cellulose from sustainably-grown forests.
Another concern is represented by the chemicals used to obtain the fabric. In order to manufacture viscose, the wood pulp needs to be chemically treated with substances such as caustic soda, ammonia, acetone, and sulphuric acid. Even if the raw material used to manufacture viscose is natural, the manufacturing process involves the use of chemicals. Many times, harmful chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide are found close to viscose manufacturing sites.
Another issue with obtaining viscose is that the manufacturing process uses a lot of water, depleting a valuable natural resource. While viscose is better than many synthetic fibers, it is less environmentally friendly than all-natural fibers.
Lately, new methods to produce viscose have been developed, such as the Lyocell process, using N-Methlymorpholine N-oxide as a solvent. This method produces less waste and is more Eco-friendly.
While Lyocell is already present in lots of consumer products, other types of viscose are being developed, such as EcoVero, an innovative fabric made with sustainable wood from controlled sources. Moreover, almost all chemicals used for the production of EcoVero are recovered and reused, reducing emissions and water and energy consumption.
Can You Clean Viscose with Water?
Washing viscose with water poses some risks such as the material shrinking and weakening of the fibers. If you wash viscose with water, you risk problems such as shrinkage, piling, and distortion. For instance, washing a viscose couch cover with water can cause shrinkage and the cover may not fit anymore after drying.
Viscose is more fragile when wet and can be damaged by wringing and twisting. It is preferable to hand wash viscose, but this may not be an option when the item you are trying to clean is a large couch cover.
Another issue known by any couch cleaner NYC is that the viscose fabric is susceptible to mildew. This means that cleaning viscose with water and not allowing upholstery to air dry completely can lead to mildew developing.
In short, you can wash viscose with water, but you risk damaging it. Instead of throwing your viscose items in the washing machine, consider the following viscose upholstery care tips.
How To Care for A Viscose Couch
Should you ditch your viscose couch? It may not be your upholstery cleaning NYC service’s favorite item to clean, but if you have viscose upholstery in your home you can still use it for a long time if you take good care of it:
- Take couch covers to the dry cleaner; dry-cleaning uses solvents instead of water and the viscose fibers are not soaked with water, which can damage them;
- You can't clean the frame of a viscose couch with water either and you can’t take it to the dry-cleaner. It is possible, however, to spot clean a viscose couch using solvent gel, or you can clean viscose upholstery with solvent powder that you can vacuum afterward;
- The best upholstery cleaning piece of advice remains vacuuming regularly. Keep your viscose couch tidy and vacuumed; using a couch cover can help to keep the viscose upholstery clean and safe from stains;
- Avoid couch steam cleaning as upholstery steam cleaning is not a suitable treatment for viscose. High temperatures can damage and shrink viscose fibers.
PristineGreen Upholstery and Carpet Cleaning can help with viscose upholstery cleaning and is also an oriental rug cleaner and an auto interior cleaner. Check our full range of services and contact us today to get a free, no-obligation quote.