While it is true that every soft surface—wall fabric, rugs, upholstery, draperies, etc.—should be carefully pre-tested before using any spot cleaning product, for purposes of simplicity we will focus in this article specifically on seating fabrics. The same general framework of pre-testing is used on all types of interior fabrics and floor coverings.Read more
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Sisal is a fiber obtained from the leaves of plants belonging to the agave family. The actual processing of the fiber begins with the separation of the fiber from the chlorophyll, pectin, and other fleshy parts of the leaf. The leaves are crushed, and the resulting pulp is scraped from the fiber, which is washed and dried. The lustrous fiber strands range from creamy white to light brown. A fairly coarse and inflexible fiber, sisal has long been used as a material for small rugs and mats. In more recent years, sisal has enjoyed growing popularity for use in large rugs and even wall-to-wall carpet.
In this article, we will discuss only velvet fabrics, though much of the information—especially regarding maintenance—is also applicable to other pile fabrics such as chenille.Read more
Insect pests can get in your clothing... Almost everyone has seen items of clothing that have been damaged by insects before. Usually found in dark closets or out-of-the-way storage areas such as attics, clothing that has been left undisturbed—and improperly stored—for a period of time is susceptible to attack.Read more
Interior fabrics and floor coverings are subject to many different types of stains and soils, but perhaps none is more damaging than pet urine. Unchecked, it can cause fiber damage, stains that are impossible to remove, and odor problems that seem never to go away.Read more
There are many types of foods, drinks and chemicals that can cause troublesome stains on interior textiles. Most of these are fairly straightforward. For example, most people know that things like hot coffee, mustard and pet urine can cause nasty staining problems. These substances, of course, leave stains that are immediately noticeable.
There is, however, an interesting subset of staining materials that are unique in their method of action. These chemicals are completely invisible when first applied. Only days or weeks later does discoloration finally begin to appear. Instead of adding color to a fabric, these products do their damage by subtracting (destroying) the original dyes.
Have you ever wondered why your white silk sofa seems to have a yellow cast? How about that white cotton sofa that is yellowing, but only behind the pillows? Most color changes do tend to occur on white or light-colored furnishings, but there can be problems on dark colors, too.Read more
Draperies, one of the most widely used applications of vertical fabrics, are often thought to be difficult to maintain. Actually, with a little planning and a careful approach, these items can be kept clean with a minimum of effort.Read more
In this article, we will discuss the general issues of mildew growth on textiles. Due to space limitations, discussion of mildew-related health issues will be limited.Read more
For cleaning purposes, fabric manufacturers and distributors generally categorize fabrics according to colorfastness codes. These codes are typically found on fabric samples and are often included as “deck labels” on seating pieces with removable cushions. The codes are as follows:Read more
“Oriental rug” is a term that encompasses a wide variety of floor coverings, some of which have a thick pile look while others appear more flat and woven. These rugs can also be made from many different fibers such as silk, rayon and wool, but in this article, we will discuss the subset of Oriental rugs made with wool.Read more
Carpet protection film is used by many people who are remodeling in order to protect their floor coverings... But, is it the best choice? Adhesive-backed Protectors can transfer a sticky residue in certain situations.Read more
Wine stain removal is a trickier process than many online "home remedies" sources would suggest. While white and rose wines can obviously create stains, we’ll focus here on red wines. Stains from these wines are much more troublesome for the average homeowner.Read more
Using dishwashing liquid or other cleaners not designed for carpet or fabric cleaning, inevitably leads to accelerated soiling in the long run.Read more
Have you ever wondered why traffic lanes wear out faster than surrounding carpet? Is it simply because of the high traffic in those areas or is there another culprit at play? Often when we think of fabric protection, we think of spills on light-colored fabrics. However, fabric protection treatments do much more than just protect fabric from spills.
This article will focus on the nature of pet urine, coffee and ink stains, describing why these common staining materials are considered more difficult than most to remove.Read more
Removing pet urine stains can be a challenge even for professionals... Fiber content, age of the animal, how long, and how many times they use the same spot all must be considered.Read more
Reappearing stains and spots can occur on upholstered fabrics, but they are much more common on floor coverings.Read more
Problems abound when it comes to rayon rugs and goes by many different names such as Viscose, Faux Silk, Art Silk, and Bamboo Silk--only to name a few. At least one manufacturer uses a brand name, calling their rayon Luxcelle. Many different names, all the same fiber.Read more
One of the most essential performance characteristics of an upholstery fabric is abrasion resistance… the ability of the material to withstand the rubbing or abrasion it receives in day-to-day use. Many factors are directly related to abrasion resistance, including: type of yarn(s), fabric construction, construction of the furniture, and degree and type of use.Read more
Multi-fiber rugs may be elegant in design but they often require special care. In the last few years, there has been a new emphasis on rugs created with pile elements of two or more different fibers; we simply call these “multi-fiber” rugs.Read more
The WoolSafe Organization is THE source for certification of all maintenance products for wool carpets and floor coverings. As wool has become one of the more desirable fibers for residential and commercial use, this highly respected organization has grown from a single office in the United Kingdom to a worldwide presence with offices in Greece, Germany, Australia, South Africa and the United States.Read more
Shading is a change in pile direction that results in an apparent change in color due to the light reflecting in different ways. Solid color cut-pile carpets will exhibit this more often than textured or patterned carpets.Read more
The cleaning of interior textiles is a very interesting and challenging field. As you will see in this article, it is not for the faint of heart.Read more
It could be argued that there are no "bad" fabrics or floor coverings, only less than practical choices. Starting with this premise, there are several types of fabrics used for interior furnishings that are best suited to minimal-use areas such as formal living rooms and guest bedrooms. The fabrics discussed in this article should be specified only in such low-use areas.Read more
As a homeowner you may be looking for a WOW factor – to impress family and friends with a new look. But WOW can turn into "WHAT NOW?" when a fabric selection doesn't perform well. Twenty-five yards of rayon velvet chosen for a family room sectional can quickly become a headache and an eyesore!Read more
Anti-fading treatments have been around for decades, the problem is that they are just not effective, which is substantiated by independent lab testing.Read more
Oxygenated Cleaners in a washing machine is one thing, putting them on your fine fabrics and floor coverings can cause a host of problems.Read more
Cotton, durable, soft, cleanable and natural. Cotton has stood the test of time and deserves a second look when choosing a fabric.Read more
Flame retardant tickings can cause color changes to the fabrics covering them. Left unchecked it can cause damage that cannot be corrected.Read more
Properly caring for Oriental rugs, Persians, Chinese, Kilims and Dhurries can extend their useful life and protect the investment you have made in them.Read more
When buying a new vacuum cleaner, there are many things you should consider first... One of the many decisions to be made before purchasing involves the filtering system and knowing more about HEPA will make you a smarter consumer.Read more
Window treatments can be one of the most unique and expensive design elements in any room, but too often, they receive little care.Read more
Rayon chenille, rayon velvet and rayon floor coverings look great brand new but the nap can crush making them look unsightly.Read more
While silk is coveted for its elegance, texture, luster, etc., it must be used in the proper settings. Lighting is one of the critical factors to consider before using silk as a floor covering or an above-the-floor fabric.Read more