Different fibres and textiles
Our laboratory tests textiles from the manufacturers we work with on the daily. According to these tests we make our recommendations for maintaining textiles. But why do we need to test those different textiles?
The clean-ability and ease of use for textiles is highly dependent on the materials that are used, but also on the method of production. Wool for example is normally quite easy to clean because of its natural properties. Lanolin gives it a natural protection. Woollen felt however is produced by matting, condensing and pressing wool fibres together. Whilst this process creates very sturdy and remarkably versatile material, felt is more sensitive to water. Water can cause the felt to change its appearance to a more wrinkly and almost lumpy texture. The water changes the fibres and this damage is permanent.
Cotton has high absorbent qualities, which makes the material a favourite amongst manufacturers as the colour dyes are absorbed easily. The downside of these high absorbing properties is that spilled liquids such coffee, wine and beer will be absorbed just as easily. The same property can be used for linen. Both are good at absorbing liquids. Next to that we have silk, which is easily damaged by water. Caution is needed when dealing with silk. Our own products, that are produced on water basis, are not suitable for silk textiles. Which is why we can only recommend using dry cleaning methods for silk.
Just like woollen felt has its own properties, chenille fabrics also have their properties. Chenille fabrics are known for their shading and are often not suitable for wet cleaning. Liquids can cause the fibres of chenille textiles to cling together.
In a nutshell: textiles seem straightforward and easy in use, but still the same old rule applies. Check the recommendations before you start cleaning your upholstery. Because even water can cause irreversible damage to some textiles.
cotton: open structure which makes it vulnerable to liquids. Prone to shrinkage and creasing
linen: open structure which makes it vulnerable to liquids. Prone to shrinkage and creasing
wool: elastic, good natural protection against filth/grime, durable, good UV value (?)
silk: very vulnerable, prone to UV-light, should not get wet
acryl: moderately durable, good UV value?, mostly used in combination with other fibres
nylon: (polyamide) durable
polyamide: (nylon) durable
polyester: strong material, most commonly used synthetic fibre, durable, good UV value
polyurethane: often used as top-finish in artificial leathers or in microfibres
trevira CS: fire retardant polyester
viscose: often used in combination with natural fibres or wood, prone to shrinkage and creasing
Composition of fibres in textiles
Textiles can be composed out of a wide range of different fibres and materials. The properties of those fibres influence the clean-ability of the textile.
Ask for a copy of the textile composition when buying your furniture. According to the materials used you can determine the restrictions on cleaning yourself.