What Fabric Is Best For My Home Interior Design?

Olefin is a synthetic fiber and is a very durable and consumer friendly textile foil. Olefin is the base fiber that was used in what we know as Herculon (trade name), 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 foil for 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 fabric foil 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 Textile foil 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 Gold stamping foil responds very well with steam cleaning.

Nylon is more likely to fade from sunlight than some other Gold stamping foil. 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 foil. 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 pigment color foil 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 eachHologram Film. Acrylics are strong as a blend, but alone they weaken.

The consumer should not attempt spot or stain removal. Acrylic Hologram Film 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 transparent hologram foil, 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.

TIP #3

Water stains are not as they appear. When water leaves a stain, it can be from a number of things. Water itself does not leave the stain. The minerals in the water are what can cause the brown ring at the edge of the stain. Depending on the source of the water, contaminants can be picked up and deposited on the fabric. In some instances, the stain may be able to be removed. In most cases, the damage from the water stain is permanent. Again, the cleaning results are dependent on the transparent hologram foil affected.


Haitian cotton is loomed by using bits of seeds, stems and other impurities in these poorly processed yarns. Moisture can cause the release of a natural dye called lignin. This results in brown staining. For this reason it is extremely risky for this fabric to be cleaned with a water base cleaning method. Special shampoos have been formulated for the professional cleaner to use in the cleaning of haitian cotton. Many times the results are quite poor and the cleaning cost is high. Solvent dry cleaning can be used safely on this fabric, but the results are not very good.

Haitian cotton now comes in many weaves and colors. When purchasing fabrics, great care should be taken when reading the label with the fabric content. This fabric is frequently used in family rooms because of its fiber strength. Haitian cotton would be an unwise choice due to the fabrics poor cleaning and spotting characteristics. If cleaned satisfactorily, applying a solvent base stain repellent is a must.

TIP #4

It is important to remember that there is no relationship between the fabrics cost and how it will perform for you.


Wool is a fiber that can be used as a fabric for upholstery. Many times you will find wool blended with other fibers to get the best part of each fiber.

Wool is not a good fabric to use in a high use area of your home. Direct sunlight and food stains can damage wool fairly easily. Being a natural fiber, wool does not respond well to the spotting remedies available. The same stain that will come out of nylon will not come out of wool. This is due to the fact that the same spotting remedies used on nylon will damage the wool and cannot be safely used.

Wool can be cleaned satisfactorily depending on the types of soil. Oil type soils (example: soil from animal fur) can be removed quite well. Solvent dry cleaning is the safest cleaning method. If carefully performed, shampoo or dry foam can be used. A highly trained professional cleaner should only perform these techniques.

When purchasing this fabric, a solvent base stain repellent should be applied. After cleaning, a re-application of a solvent base stain repellent should also be performed. This will help maintain the fabrics level of stain resistance, as well as preventing some soils and stains from becoming permanent.

TIP #5

When choosing a fabric, be aware of the color you choose. The color of a fabric can be as important as the fabric itself. If used in a bedroom, a light color is fine. If used in a family room, the color should be a little darker to be more soil hiding.


Acetate is a fabric that will almost never be used as an upholstery fabric unless blended with other fabrics. Acetate is made from cellulose obtained from wood pulp.

Acetates resistance to soil and stains is poor to fair. It does not wear very well and is easily damaged by abrasion. This fabric should not be cleaned by any wet method as acetate is weakened when wet. Solvent dry cleaning is the only safe method of cleaning with limited results.

If this fabric is purchased, it is imperative that solvent base stain repellent be applied. Acetate is not a fabric I would recommend for any area of your home.


Rayon is also a very poor choice of fabrics. Most times, rayon is blended with other fabrics. This fabric is manufactured from regenerated wood pulp.

Rayon is less resistant to soil and stains than acetate. This fabric can be easily damaged by direct sunlight. It has very poor wear durability and is abraded easily.

Rayon should only be solvent dry cleaning. This fabric is weakened when wet and therefore should never be cleaned by a wet method. When purchased or cleaned, this fabric should always be treated with a solvent base stain repellent.

Rayon is also not a fabric I would recommend as an upholstery fabric. It is frequently used in drapery fabric. It does well in this environment because of the different soils. As a drapery fabric it performs well. However, even here, rayon is blended with other fibers.


Linen is a fiber that is not too frequently used in upholstery fabrics, unless blended with other fibers. When blended, linen can add certain textures and visual characteristics that appeal to some consumers.

Linen has very poor resistance to abrasion. This fabric cannot be used in strong sunlight as this weakens the dyes and fiber. Severe weakening of this fiber can occur in as little as two weeks. Linen does not hold its shape well because it is not very dimensionally stable.

Linen does not perform well with soils or stains. It is highly absorbent which causes the soils and stains to become deeply set into the fiber. For this reason, cleaning and spotting methods are very limited. Linen should only be solvent dry cleaned. Most soils of upholstery are water base and will not release with solvent. The cleaning cost can be very high with minimal results.

Linen is easily damaged by mildew. Should you live in a humid area, this is another reason not to purchase linen.

Linen, if purchased, should always be treated by solvent base stain repellents. Stain repellents will help keep some of the soils and stains on the surface. A highly trained professional cleaner should only attempt cleaning or spotting of linen. Linen should only be used in a very low use area of your home.

Linen has many good appearance qualities. These good qualities are quickly overridden by its poor performance characteristics.


Silk used to be fabrics for kings. However, kings never had to worry about performance or long fabric life.

Silk is a protein fiber spun from the cocoons of silkworms. It is the strongest of the protein fibers. Unlike rayon or acetate, silk is not as easily damaged by mildew. This fiber performs poorly in strong light and weakens more readily than wool or cotton.

Silk is more dimensionally stable than linen, acetate, or rayon. There are still many reasons why silk should not be the fabric of choice. This fabric is highly moisture absorbent and is very susceptible to water stains. Body oils and perspiration also easily damage it. This damage is permanent. Silk has a very low resistance to wear and abrasion.

Silk performs from poor to fair on soil, spot, and stain release. Being so highly absorbent, cleaning and spotting options are very limited. Solvent dry cleaning is the only safe method of cleaning silk. You can expect poor cleaning results and high service cost.

TIP #6

This fabric should only be used in decorative, low use areas of your home. When this fabric is purchased, solvent base stain repellents are a must.


There are as many variations of fabrics as there are uses for each of them. Once you know and understand the limitations of the different fabrics, you will make better fabric choices for your future purchases. This information will give you the power of knowledge to know what you need for top fabric performance. Good luck and happy shopping.

My name is Bruce Jackson. I have been in the cleaning industry for over 3



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