Let’s face it: Life can be messy. Perhaps you have young kids running around putting their dirty fingers everywhere, a teenager who doesn’t clean up after themselves, or pets that drag mud all over your beautiful furniture. So what fabric is best to use? Thanks to the advanced development in last few years, there’s a whole new category of upholstery fabrics that can handle spills and stains with ease: Performance Fabrics.
What is Performance Fabric?
The term ‘performance fabric’ is used to describe any fabric specifically designed to withstand serious wear and tear while being easy to clean. The idea is simple — your pets, kids, and busy schedule are no match for the durable, stain resistant qualities of these fabrics, which makes them ideal for upholstery in hardworking spaces of your home.
“Performance fabric, which was once the material of choice for awning, outdoor furniture and the marine industry, has drastically evolved into a comfortable, stylish option for indoor and outdoor furniture and decor. With performance fabrics, you no longer have to make the choice between furniture that is practical and furniture that is stylish.”InnuWindow
Benefits of Performance Fabric
- Water resistance
- Stain resistance
- Mold and mildew resistance
- Fade resistance
- Antimicrobial traits
- Child proof
- Environmentally friendly
- Non-toxic and non-hazardous
- Quick dry
- No static
- Washable and easy to clean
Types of Performance Fabric
Olefin: Olefin has inherent performance qualities without needing to be treated. It is naturally resistant to chemicals, stains, water, mildew and abrasions. Olefin is also easy to clean. Olefin can feel fairly smooth or more textured, depending on the weave’s design.
Acrylic: Acrylic fabric is also resistant to chemicals, mildew and water and is easy to clean, but it is not as effective at resisting abrasions and is known to pill (become balled up). It looks a lot like wool and takes dye well. It is also wrinkle- and shrink-resistant.
Nylon: People tend to associate nylon with stockings, but this synthetic fabric has plenty of other applications. It’s durable and effectively resists mold and mildew and shrinkage, but it stains easily if not treated. One unique quality of nylon is that it’s elastic.
Polyester: Polyester is durable and easy to clean. It resists water, abrasions, stretching or shrinking, wrinkling and pilling. It is also resistant to most chemicals. One downside of polyester is that bacteria can multiply on it, which can result in an odor.
Maintence and Care of Performance Fabric
- Be sure to blot spills immediately. Just press a clean, soft towel on the spot in question.
- Check the specific directions for your fabric choice to determine whether you can clean it yourself with water and a mild detergent or if you have to call in the professionals for dry cleaning.
- For upholstery that plays nicely with water-based solvents, mix distilled water with water-based cleaning solutions, and mist light to medium spots (think: red wine, coffee, ketchup) with a spray bottle. To stay on the safe side, test in an inconspicuous area first.
- If you didn’t catch the spill in time, there’s no need to stress. Medium, dark and ground-in stains are no match for an extraction cleaning machine. Not sure how to use one? Rely on a professional for help.
To keep all sofas (including performance fabrics) looking their very best, rotate the cushions once a week and get your furniture professionally cleaned every year.
It’s clear now why a performance fabric is favored amongst designers and homeowners.