performance upholstery in mineral aqua chesterfield

Performance Fabrics: Expectations vs. Reality

  • September 28th, 2022

You've heard of performance fabrics, but what exactly are they, and why should you use them? This article will explain all the ins and outs of these products, including how they're made, their benefits, and what to look for when purchasing a performance fabric.

What is performance fabric?

Performance fabrics are designed to be durable, stain resistant and easy to clean. They are made of a blend of synthetic fibres and natural fibres that allow the fabric to hold up well when it meets harsh chemicals or spills. Performance fabrics can be used for clothing, furniture, and other household items.

Performance fabrics are typically a mix of synthetic materials and natural fibres

Performance fabrics are typically a mix of synthetic materials and natural fibres: for a good reason!

This is because different fibre types offer different comfort levels depending on the application. Each manufacturer uses different percentages of each material to create their own unique performance fabrics, but here are some common combinations to look out for:

  • Polyester and Cotton Blends: Combining the durability of polyester with the natural feel of cotton, this blend offers a balance between strength and comfort.
  • Recycled Polyester Blends: Blending recycled polyester with other fibers helps create environmentally friendly performance fabrics. These blends retain the durability and stain resistance associated with polyester while contributing to sustainability.
  • Linen and Polyester Blends: Linen adds a natural, textured look to the fabric, while polyester enhances durability and reduces wrinkles. This blend is popular for achieving a relaxed, casual appearance with improved resilience.

Mixing yarns for their performance values in apparel fabrics is also really common. Flannel, for example, is a soft fabric known for its comfort, and is typically used in shirts or pyjamas. While it's available in 100% cotton, you can also find it in 50/50 blends of cotton and wool. Just like with our upholstery fabric examples!

What are performance fabrics used for?

As you might be guessing, performance fabrics are really versatile in interior design thanks to their enchanced specifications. But where exactly are they used, and how? Here are some common applications of performance fabrics in interiors:

Upholstery and drapery

Performance fabrics are frequently used for upholstering furniture, including sofas, chairs, and ottomans. Dining chairs, for example, can benefit from the stain resistance and durability of performance fabrics. These fabrics are also found in drapery, where they offer light filtering or blackout properties, resist fading, and be easy to clean.

Outdoor furniture, boats and RV interiors

Performance fabrics are commonly used for outdoor furniture and cushions. They are designed to withstand exposure to sunlight, moisture, and other outdoor elements while maintaining their appearance. They can also be found on boat and RV interiors due to their ability to withstand the challenges of a marine or recreational vehicle environment, including exposure to water, sunlight, and frequent use.

Commercial settings like hotels, and even healthcare

In commercial spaces and home offices, performance fabrics are used for office chairs and other furniture. These fabrics provide comfort during long hours of use and resist stains, ensuring a professional appearance.

In healthcare environments and hospitality settings, where cleanliness and durability are paramount, performance fabrics are used for upholstery, curtains, and other applications.

Public spaces like libraries, theatres, and children's pay areas

Given their resistance to spills and stains, performance fabrics are often chosen for children's furniture, playroom seating, and other areas where messes are likely to occur.

Performance furnishing fabrics and pets: the truth

Scratching and chewing are natural reflexes for animals, but with proper training they can be discouraged. Accidents do happen though which is why performance fabrics are crucial for homes with pets. It helps your furniture withstand the challenges that come with having dogs or cats at home—such as pet hair, food and drink stains from water or other liquids, jumping onto couches or chairs in celebration (or to hide): the list goes on.

Looking for technical info? Here are three mechanical textiles tests to look out for when specifying performance fabrics: What upholstery fabrics are best for when you have a dog?

Did you know? No performance fabric is immune to heavy or repeated scratching. While no fabric is completely indestructible, we can at least guarantee that FibreGuard's performance fabrics offer durability and strength to minimise damage. Learn more.

How do I clean my performance fabric products?

When it comes to cleaning your performance fabric products, there's no need to worry. A soft cloth with a bit of water will do the trick!

Avoid using bleach, as this can damage the fabric's colourfastness over time.

When you want a deeper clean for stains like mud or blood (yikes!), try spot-treating with a solution made from one part soap and five parts water (no bleach). Apply gently on top of the stain before rinsing with cold water; repeat, if necessary, until the stain has been removed completely. FibreGuard fabrics are simply easy to clean. Find out how here.

Does performance fabric soften?

Performance fabrics are made of synthetic fibres, which aren't usually soft to the touch. As such, performance fabrics sometimes stiffer than natural fibres and are therefore not ideal for clothing or bedding.

However, they can be used in upholstery and window treatments because they're durable and easy to clean. If you want a fabric with a little more flexibility than your typical performance fabric but also want it to be stain-resistant and easy-to-clean, consider using FibreGuard easy clean upholstery as it’s soft to the touch as well as high performance.

How does performance fabric work?

Synthetic fibres are more durable than natural fibres, which is why performance fabrics are made out of them. Synthetic fibres resist stains and spills better, too. They also resist mildew, mould and the fading caused by UV light—all of which can be a real problem with 'natural' fabrics.

Contract performance fabrics for commercial spaces

Contract performance fabrics for commercial spaces are specifically designed to meet the demanding requirements of high-traffic and frequently used areas in businesses. Contract fabrics are also manufactured to comply with industry standards and regulations.

This includes meeting specific performance criteria, ensuring that they meet the necessary safety and quality standards for commercial use. Learn more about the different end-use applications of performance fabrics.

4 top reasons that FibreGuard performance fabrics are market leaders

FibreGuard performance fabrics are so in demand because they're:

  1. Easy to keep clean. FibreGuard upholstery is engineered with advanced stain-repellent technology. This means our upholstery resists and repels stains, making them an excellent choice for spaces prone to spills and accidents. Learn more.
  2. Soft upholstery, forever. Despite their impressive performance features, FibreGuard fabrics maintain a soft and comfortable feel. You won't have to compromise on comfort for the sake of durability and stain resistance. Learn more.
  3. Free of forever chemicals. Our performance fabrics are PFAS-free. At FibreGuard, the safety of our customers is our top priority. That's why all our upholstery fabrics are free of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS/PFCs): otherwise known as ‘forever chemicals’. By choosing FibreGuard, you can have peace of mind knowing that our fabrics are free from risks associated with chemicals like these. Learn more.
  4. Sustainably designed. FibreGuard's upholstery is designed with a strong focus on sustainability. This is why eco-friendly, PFAS-free upholstery options such as FibreGuard are a great choice for interior design. Learn more.

Woven to Protect: performance furniture fabrics that fit perfectly everywhere

We hope that this article has cleared up what performance fabrics are, why they’re so great and how you can use them in interiors spaces. If you have any questions about our products or any other questions, please get in touch!

Our focus at FibreGuard is to be what we call ‘life-friendly’: offering fabrics ready to stand up to anything daily life can throw at them. Interested in our easy-clean fabrics? Contact our team to discuss how we can help you and your business today.