Upholstery fabric ID can provide a consumer with crucial information about the cleanability, general maintenance, and durability of upholstered furniture. It can give clues as to whether or not a certain fabric will hold up to pets, children, spills, stains, sun, etc. The plethora of different types of available upholstery fabric can be very confusing to someone seeking the best option for his or her individual or family needs.
Upholstery fabric can consist of natural or synthetic fibers and any combination of the two. The type of fabric and the type of weave as well as the particular finish that may have been applied to the fiber and the type of dye, and whether it is colorfast or not, are all matters of concern to help determine the best fit for the purchase of a quality piece of upholstered furniture (which could be one of the more expensive items to purchase for a home or business).
When a consumer has a general knowledge of upholstery fiber ID (which includes the type of weave, finish, and dyes) of the fabric covering a particular piece of upholstered furniture, he or she can then make an informed purchase decision.
There are 3 common types of natural fibers:
REGENERATED CELLULOSE FIBERS
Common Trade Names: Anso, Antron, Ultron, Zeftron, Enkaloft.
Common Trade Names: Dacron, Fortrel, Kodel, Trevira.
Common Trade Names: Acrilan, Creslan, Orlon Zefran.
There are several types of weave of upholstery fabric:
Examples of some types of upholstery finishes:
There are many different ways of applying dye to upholstery fabric. These can include but are not limited to the following:
Acid dyes are generally used for wool, silk, and nylon. Metal complex dyes can be used for wool. Dispersed dyes are used for cellulose fibers and acetate.
The consumer should be concerned about whether or not the dyes are colorfast. There are tests we can perform in our rug plant to determine this. If you are planning to purchase a piece of upholstered furniture, we would be happy to test a swatch or a small cushion.
Upholstery fabric can be cleaned with one of the following or a combination of these:
Dry Solvent is used for fabric or dyes that can be damaged with water.
Absorbent Compound and Dry Foam can be used where minimal amounts of water can be used.
The Shampoo method and Hot Water Extraction can be used where fabrics and dyes can be wet cleaned.
May need to use a combination of methods to get the best results.
Drying equipment will expedite the drying process and limit any risks.
Additionally, if new upholstery has a fabric tag or label (on the decking which holds the cushions), check the cleaning codes:
The choice for a pet for child friendly fabric should be the W code.
It is also important to note the white tag on upholstery with the "Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law" advisory ONLY pertains to the internal material of the piece of furniture. The above cleaning codes refer to the actual fabric covering and may not be tagged on every piece of furniture. When purchasing new upholstered furniture, always ask if there are manufacturer's suggestions for cleaning and spot removal available if a tag is not found.
The middle of the 20th century brought an expansion to the manufacturing of synthetic fibers. It was found that leftover waste from oil refining (normally used to fill up landfills) known as polypropylene could be manufactured into a a thin synthetic fiber called olefin to make upholstery fabric.
The olefin fibers were ideal to use in the production of car upholstery, home and office carpeting, and even some draperies. During the 1970s, an olefin fiber made by a company named Hercules, Inc. caught on in a big way and was branded as Herculon.
Further experimentation with polypropylene led to the development of the superfine fibers we today call microfibers. These fibers are even finer than silk and very resilient. They could be used in textile applications where the broader weaves and higher density of olefin could not.
Microfiber has actually been around for quite some time. In the late 1970s, Ultrasuede was introduced as microfiber made with synthetic polyester. It was only when it became very apparent consumers wanted furniture with a 'soft touch' did microfibers come into their own, because they provided the feel of suede and the softness of natural fiber textiles combined with much easier maintenance. Microsoft upholstery fabric also holds its color well so it will look fresh and new longer than many other fabrics.
There is a reason why these strong, resilient fibers can feel like more delicate natural fibers. There is enough space between the fibers to allow the material to breathe and allow body heat and moisture from the person sitting on it to migrate away, creating the cool feel that usually only comes from natural fibers. That same characteristic also gives it an extremely appealing 'soft hand'.
Microfiber is typically very strong and durable and the fibers can be woven into much tighter weaves. This has some major advantages when used as upholstery fabric:
Microfiber can also be found in drapes, linens, and mops. It is flammable so is not used much as clothing except for athletic attire because of its ability to wick moisture away from the body. It is also often used for compression leg wear to help patients increase blood flow.
Microfiber fibers today are typically made from nylon or polyester. One would think this would make them 'foolproof.' But this is not the case. There is still technical training needed to clean any upholstery fabric and this includes microfiber. They are superior to many soft textiles such as velvets and chenilles because they retain their soft texture after moderate use and cleaning with water-based solutions. But they can flatten out and become permanently distorted in heavy usage areas.
Unfortunately, most furniture store salespersons do not have adequate knowledge of upholstery fabric ID and usually cannot make accurate suggestions for where a particular piece of upholstery can be placed, for ex., out of the sun’s rays, in a home with pets and/or small children, in an area where food and drink is consumed, etc. Therefore, the more knowledge the consumer has before purchase, the better the chances the furniture will be chosen that will keep its appearance longer and be an asset for many years to come.
You are safe to leave it to the professionals at ABC to clean all your furniture. We can test for upholstery fabric ID and make sure your upholstery fabric is colorfast. We are trained to know which procedure or combination of cleaning procedures will produce the best results.We have the proper technical skills, training, and equipment. Your maintenance should include vacuuming regularly and blotting up spills as soon as possible. We will take care of the rest!
We will be happy to answer any question you may have. Our phone number is 607-272-1566. We are open from 8 to 5 Monday through Thursday, closing at 4:30 on Fridays. We are also open from 10 to 1 every Saturday for your convenience.
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