Welcome to Our Monthly Newsletter!
We hope you will enjoy this month's articles.
This month's topic is:
PET FRIENDLY HOMES
Pet Friendly Carpets & Rugs
Pet Friendly Upholstery Fabric
Pet friendly Flooring
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In This Issue
To help in finding the best pet friendly carpets and rugs for homes with cats and dogs, we can start by looking at how the 5 most common fibers rank for the 5 fiber characteristics that specifically relate to living with pets.
The 5 major carpet and rug fibers are Wool, Nylon, Polyester, Olefin, and Acrylic. Blends of these major fibers, as well as additions of other fibers such as Rayon and Silk can also be found, especially in area rugs. The percentages of the individual fibers will offer clues as to what to expect from the blend.
It is always possible that new fibers will enter the market. If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office at 607-272-1566.
This is the ability of the carpet or rug fiber to return to its original state after a thorough vacuuming and/or a professional carpet cleaning. It is also descriptive of the strength of the fibers.
Fibers with excellent resiliency and durability are Wool and Nylon. Acrylic and Polyester are moderately resilient and Olefin has poor resiliency. Fibers such as Rayon and Silk can not stand up to pet abuse.
This describes the ability of the fiber to be cleaned to a satisfactory level.
All of the 5 major fibers (Wool, Nylon, Polyester, Olefin, and Acrylic) have good to excellent cleanability under normal circumstances.
Affinity to Oil
Oil-based stains such as dog oils may be very difficult to remove, if at all, from a fiber that has a high affinity to oil.
Olefin and Polyester have high affinity to oil. Nylon and Acrylic have moderate affinity. Wool has low affinity to oil-based stains.
This characteristic describes how easy or hard it will be to remove ordinary spots and spills from the carpet or rug. It also describes the ability to repel water-based spills.
Olefin and Polyester have excellent water-based spills and stain repellency. Nylon, Acrylic, and Wool have good stain repellency.
This is especially important when choosing pet friendly area rugs. Although every precaution can be taken to avoid the 'accidents' that can happen with pets in the home, it is comforting to know certain types of rug fibers will be less expensive to replace should that option become necessary.
For wall-to-wall carpets, first look for a type of carpet specifically manufactured with pets in mind, one that is both stain and odor resistant, if possible. Smartstrand and Stainmaster brand carpeting may be viable options. (Please be aware that carpet warranties may not cover urine stains.)
Choose cut pile rather than looped pile. Pets can get their claws caught in the looped pile and their hair can get embedded more easily. Never choose a Berber style of carpet for this reason.
Look for a carpet color that will closely match your pet's hair or a patterned carpet design to camouflage the hair. The main color of the pattern should be similar to the animal's hair color.
Rayon (and Rayon fibers blended with other fibers) would be a poor choice as fibers for pet friendly carpets and rugs. Rayon, a man-made fiber, neither wears nor cleans well. Read about rayon fiber and rugs here.
The biggest advantage to having area rugs in a home with pets is the machine made synthetic rugs are generally less expensive to replace than wall-to-wall carpets. Area rugs of intrinsic value such as Oriental and other handmade rugs (usually made of wool), can be successfully deodorized, cleaned, and repaired in a rug cleaning plant such as ABC.
CAUTION: Please avoid the following types of area rugs in homes with pets:
Avoid rugs with a glued on backing at all costs! These are known as tufted rugs. The pile is hand or machine-tufted onto a foundation. Glue is then used to hold a backing material to the foundation of the rug. Urine and other liquids can go through to the glue that holds the backing onto the rug and cannot be removed effectively by any method. Learn more about tufted rugs here.
Rayon area rugs are to be avoided as well. Rayon is a man-made fiber developed to look and feel like silk. Rayon rugs are neither durable nor easily cleanable and not good choices for pet friendly rugs. Read more about rayon rugs here.
To learn how to remove urine odor and more information on pet friendly carpets and rugs, please continue reading here.
Choosing the most sensible pet friendly upholstery fabric for a home shared with cats and dogs can be daunting.
Obviously, pet hair can be a major nuisance. But hair is not the only type of havoc our pets can wreak on our furniture. Scratching, chewing, and drooling are always a possibility. Add urine, feces, and vomit and it becomes clear the type of upholstery fabric a responsible pet owner chooses will help to determine how comfortably the owner and the pets are able to share the same space.
Pets require a long-term commitment from us. If we carefully choose the type of pet friendly upholstery fabric that will stand up well to their natural instincts, we will go a long way towards providing them a home we all can share comfortably and one we can be proud to entertain family and friends in as well.
One of the most important points to consider when looking for pet friendly upholstery fabric is the tightness of the weave. The tighter the weave, the easier it will be to remove pet hair and the hair does not get embedded. Scratch marks are also fairly easy to brush off or buff out. Spills usually bead up before being absorbed by the fabric, making them easier to clean. Tighter weaves are also much more durable than more open or larger weaves and they don't tend to fray and wear as easily.
Additionally, if new upholstery has a fabric tag or label (on the decking which holds the cushions), check the cleaning codes. S is for solvent or dry cleaning, W is for water-based cleaning and S-W can be cleaned with either dry or wet cleaning. An X means the fabric can only be vacuumed. Your choice for a pet friendly fabric should be the W code.
Microfiber is recommended as an excellent choice for a pet friendly upholstery fabric because of its extremely tight weave. Denier is the unit that measures the tightness of a knit and microfibers are smaller than 1 denier.
Microfiber (sometimes known as Ultrasuede, Microsuede, or Faux Suede) is manufactured from a combination of synthetic fibers, but it is the tightness of the weave that makes it extremely easy to clean and maintain with animals in the home.
NOTE: Microfiber made from polyester fibers is not as long-lasting as regular polyester fabrics. Microfiber fabric made from nylon is much more durable but not as easy to find.
Hair can be removed with a lint brush and spots can be cleaned up with a water-based cleaner. Pet claws are less likely to cause damage. Microfiber comes in a wide variety of colors and is also soft to the touch, making it a very desirable upholstery fabric in general. For those who are allergic or sensitive to cat dander, Microfiber is so dense these allergens can be vacuumed away before guests arrive at your home.
Leather is also a very good choice for a pet friendly upholstery fabric. It does not attract pet hair and if some does get on it, it will wipe off easily with a dust cloth. It resists stains, wear, and tear and is always elegant looking. Leather, though, is expensive and sometimes requires special cleaning procedures to prevent discoloration and fading.
If scratching is a problem with your pet, you may want to look into purchasing distressed leather, which will help to hide scratches. Be aware that leather is not immune to puncture holes (such as from cats' claws) which may cause larger tears or rips over time.
There are many different types of leather. For pet households, look for Finished or Semi-Aniline leather. Because of the topical applications it receives during the finishing process, it is the type of leather with the highest range of uses, especially suited to the automotive, aviation, and marine markets. General maintenance of this type of leather would be to occasionally wipe it down with a damp cloth. Read here for more information about leather.
Although wool is an expensive choice, it is definitely a pet friendly upholstery fabric. Although natural fibers such as wool are durable and resilient, they do absorb stains more quickly than man-made fabrics. On the other hand, they will clean up more easily and with better results.
An advantage wool has is that it is naturally flame retardant.
CAUTION: Never use bleach on a wool fabric!
Nylon is a pet friendly upholstery fabric option. Even though it may tend to wrinkle, it will resist most stains, wear, and fading (unless it is in direct sunlight). Since it is synthesized from petroleum, oil-based stains may be more difficult to remove.
It is a less expensive option and comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Nylon is often blended with other fibers.
Acrylic is a synthetic fiber that was developed as imitation wool. Acrylic fabric is a good pet friendly upholstery fabric option and is soft and light. The fibers are resistant to oils, sunlight exposure, and fading. In addition, Acrylic fibers are more resilient than many other fibers.
A large number of outdoor fabrics contain Acrylic fibers. Be aware that low quality Acrylics may pill excessively in areas of high abrasion, whereas high quality Acrylics are manufactured to pill much less.
Polyester is synthesized from petroleum and because oil and water do not mix, although it does withstand liquids, it is attracted to oils, such as dog oils. It can wrinkle and shrink as well.
Polyester is usually blended with other fibers for upholstery. This is done to reduce fading, add wrinkle resistance, and eliminate crushing of napped fabrics.
It has limited use as a pet friendly upholstery fabric.
Olefin is another fabric synthesized from petroleum. It is widely known by the brand name of 'Herculon.' It has many good qualities, such as resistance to moisture and stains, including a majority of chemicals such as bleach. It is also resistant to heat and insects. However, the fiber does not hold dyes well so it is limited in color and pattern selection. It will attract oils, and is easily damaged by friction.
It has limited use as a pet friendly upholstery fabric, especially if you have a pet with excessive body oils.
Cotton comes in a variety of colors and patterns and is easy to clean. Because Cotton is a flat weave, it will stand up better to fraying and wear. Unfortunately it absorbs liquid easily and tends to wrinkle and fade, making it not the best choice for a pet friendly upholstery fabric.
Velvet is a wonderfully luxurious fabric and is commonly found as Nylon or Cotton Velvet. Pet hair is relatively easy to remove from it. Stains can be more difficult to remove, though.
Velvet may not be able to stand up to more rambunctious pets because of its tendency to crush, which may cause permanent damage to the fabric.
In general, Velvet is a less pet friendly upholstery fabric option.
Rayon, a man-made fiber, is less expensive than Leather, Wool, Cotton, and other natural fibers. Although it resists fading and mildew, it is not a durable fiber and it will show wear very quickly.
Rayon will absorb liquids more than cotton, loses strength when wet, and will wrinkle, shrink, and stretch, making it not a pet friendly upholstery fabric option.
Acetate is a fiber developed as imitation silk. It is resistant to mildew, pilling and shrinking but is not resistant to soil. It also tends to wear, wrinkle, and fade from the sun. Thus it is not a good choice for a pet friendly upholstery fabric.
Silk cannot withstand any moisture and is very difficult to clean. It stains and rips easily and is definitely not a pet friendly upholstery fabric.
Linen's open weave makes it not a pet friendly upholstery fabric, especially if the pet is a cat with claws!
No matter what we do, it seems pet hair somehow finds its way onto the upholstery fabric in our homes. Of course, the amount and frequency depends on the type of animal and the amount of hair it sheds (as well as the number of animals!).
Avoid tweed fabrics at all costs! Pet hair tends to embed itself in the weave, making it very difficult to remove.
Choosing an upholstery fabric with a pattern can help to camouflage hair (as well as marks or stains.) The secret is to make sure the main color of the pattern and the color of the pet hairs are very similar.
To learn how to remove pet hair, as well as tips for handling scratches, urine, vomit, drooling, etc., as well as tips for maintaining your upholstery fabric, please continue reading here.
In this article, we explore pet friendly flooring options. These include hardwood, hardwood alternatives, and tile flooring, which are the most popular types of hard surface flooring that can be found in our homes today.
The damage that can be done to wall-to-wall carpets and rugs by our pets usually centers on pet 'accidents' such as urine, feces, and vomit. With hard surface flooring, the major damage comes from dents and scratches from pet claws (though damage from urine can come in a close second). Tile floors are easier to keep clean, but they can be slippery and cold and thus may be a less pet friendly flooring option than wood or wood alternative flooring.
No wood flooring is 100% scratch resistant, but it is important to know which ones will take the assault better than others. Keep in mind also that our pets are not the only ones responsible for the scratching and denting of wood floors.
All hardwood flooring will dent and scratch over time, although there are some hardwoods that can take a beating and last longer. The advantage to hardwood flooring is that it can be sanded and renewed several times. Unfortunately, this can be a time-consuming and messy job. If you choose and maintain your hardwood flooring carefully, you may be able to extend its beauty and perhaps avoid having to go through the process of sanding and sealing altogether.
It is best to avoid softer woods such as birch, cedar, pine, redwood, and fir. Also avoid American Cherry, American Walnut, and Carbonized Bamboo (caramel colored). Please note: Brazilian Cherry and Walnut are harder than American Cherry and Walnut. The process of carbonizing bamboo softens the end product.
The more durable hardwoods include oak, cherry, maple, hickory, elm, mahogany, and sycamore. See the Janka Scale of Hardness for more information. Harder hardwoods such as Hickory are usually a good choice but you cannot just look at hardness by itself when you have pets in the home:
To learn about urine damage to hardwood floors as well as the different alternatives to hardwood, please continue reading here.
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