What Fabric Is Best For My Home?



Olefin is a synthetic fiber and is a very durable and consumer friendly fabric. Olefin is the base fiber that was used in what we know as Herculon (trade name), Stofnodig Markt Hoofddorp that plaid fabric that we all grew up with. This fiber by its natural chemical make-up is highly stain resistant and requires no after market stain repellent treatment. It is a fabric that will serve you well. Many fresh stains wipe off it with a damp cloth. When professionally cleaned, you can expect excellent results and many years of good use.

This fabric can be used in any room in your home or office. Olefin is blended with other fibers, (example polyester) to recreate its look so the consumer may use it as a formal fabric for a living room, or a high use fabric in a busy family room. This is a good choice for dining room or kitchen chairs.

TIP #1

Many times fabrics are blended. When purchasing this fabric, be sure it is at least 80% olefin if it is blended with another fiber. A fabric is blended with others to achieve the best characteristics of each fiber. Be sure you know what you are buying.


Nylon is also a synthetic fiber. When purchasing this fabric it is helpful to have it properly treated with a solvent base stain repellant. Unlike olefin, it is not naturally stain repellent.

Nylon is still fairly easy to maintain between professional cleanings. Fresh stains or spots are usually quite easily removed from this durable fabric. Follow fabric manufacturers directions. This fabric responds very well with steam cleaning.

Nylon is more likely to fade from sunlight than some other fabrics. No fabric likes direct sunlight. This fabric can be used in any room in the home or office. Nylon is used frequently in office furniture because of its appearance and durability. It too can be used in a formal living room, family room or anywhere else in the house you want to use it.


Polyester is also a synthetic fabric. The limitations of this fabric vary greatly from nylon or olefin. This is a fabric that when purchased is recommended to have a stain repellent applied at the time of purchase. Soil, spots, and stains do not release as readily as in the first two mentioned fabrics. Polyester can be professionally cleaned by either shampoo, or in some cases can be steam cleaned. The method used depends on the fabrics’ condition and the types of soils or stains.

Polyester is a fabric that could be used in a bedroom, living room, or other low use room of the house because of its soil and stain characteristics.

Polyester has a softer feel than olefin or nylon and is more likely to be found in a living room setting. It is also not affected by direct light as severely as some others. Polyester is fairly resistant to wear and other similar types of abrasion.

TIP #2

Synthetic fibers clean well because of low moisture absorption, which means low spot and soil absorption.


This is largely a fabric where you will find in a blend. Any time you have a high percentage of this fiber in a fabric it is extremely important that it be protected by a solvent based stain repellent. Acrylics have a poor performance for soil and stain release.

Acrylic fabrics stand up fairly well to strong light and are quite resistant to abrasion. It is for these reasons that acrylics are used in a blend of fabrics. Remember that blends are used to get the best performance of each fabric. Acrylics are strong as a blend, but alone they weaken.

The consumer should not attempt spot or stain removal. Acrylic fabrics should always be cleaned and spotted by a professional cleaner. This fabric can only be cleaned by the shampoo method, or by solvent dry cleaning.

Acrylic fabrics are quite limited as to where they should be used. Decorative living rooms or bedrooms are good environments for this fabric. Again, using a solvent base stain repellant is crucial to fabric performance.



Cotton comes in a very wide variety of fabrics, such as polished cotton, chintz, and haitian cotton. Haitian cotton we will go over next. The other cottons are similar in fiber and care characteristics.

87-90% of all cotton is manufactured from boll or seedpod of the cotton plant. Cotton is highly sensitive to moisture because it is very absorbent. It is a very strong fiber. It is for this reason that cotton can be woven into such a thin fabric. However, cotton only gives fair abrasion performance.

Cotton has very specific cleaning and spotting requirements. Use of water base products can permanently damage the cotton by leaving a water ring. It should only be professionally cleaned and spotted. It is strongly recommended that at the time of purchase, any cotton fabric should be treated with a solvent base stain repellent.

Cotton does not do well in strong sunlight. If you live in an area of high humidity or dampness, cotton should not be the fabric of choice. Cotton is prone to mildew damage because of its high moisture retention.

Cotton fabrics should only be cleaned and spotted by a professional cleaner. Though cotton can sometimes be steam cleaned with good results, in most cases they should be cleaned by the shampoo method.

Cotton is a fabric used in many areas of the house. It can be located in a high use area, such as the family room, but greater care and more frequent cleaning will be necessary. Cotton is a good fabric selection for a medium to high use living room.

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