Confession: I am not a neat-freak. With two young kids and two dogs, the one thing I can guarantee is that no surface in my home is safe from spills or messes. And as much as I love pretty fabrics and cool furniture, I don’t love stressing over keeping everything clean. I need surfaces that are easy to wipe up and fabrics that are easy to maintain.
Finding the right high-performance, stain-resistant fabric is key to keeping my upholstery in good condition for a long, long time. It used to be that performance fabrics only came in a few colors and textures (like the thick, stiff canvas used for outdoor awnings), but now there are almost endless options in every color and texture – ranging from velvets, linens and chenilles, to bold colors, neutrals, and fun patterns.
Here’s an inside scoop on the most popular performance fabrics on the market, what makes them different, and some real world examples of how I’ve used them with clients.
Traditionally dyed and printed fabrics have color applied only to the surface of the fibers. Like a radish, which is red on the outside, but white on the inside. Sunbrella fabrics are like carrots. The color goes to the core of every fiber and can’t be wiped away no matter what happens to the fabric or yarn surface.
Crypton Home fabrics use a patented “repel and release” technology that resists stains, moisture and odors. This technology is integrated into each fiber of their fabric, so the resistance won’t break down over time. Crypton’s technology also prohibits the growth of bacteria and mold.
Nanotex uses a certified nanotechnology to transform the structure of fibers on an atomic level, bonding with the fibers to give them permanent stain resistant, moisture management, odor control and wrinkle resistant properties. A fabric can be treated with the Nanotex process without changing the natural characteristics of the fabric, such as how soft it feels (the “hand”) or how it drapes.
Teflon is a fluorochemical finish that is applied to fabrics. The finish repells stains without changing the fabrics inherent feel or color. If a fabric is protected with a Teflon finish, liquid spills will bead up on the surface of the fabric, rolling off and easily wiped away. Dirt and other dry soil can also be brushed off easily. The Teflon finish is generally applied to a fabric before it is upholstered onto furniture, and this is usually done by our fabric manufacturers before providing the fabric to the upholsterers.