What is Mohair Made of?
Mohair is a fiber that is produced from the fleece of the Angora goat. Although mohair is a type of wool, it is never referred to as wool. The term wool is usually reserved for fibers produced by various types of sheep.
The Angora goat, sometimes referred to as the mohair goat, is thought to have descended from wild herds of Central Asia and its name is derived from Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. Introduced to many countries of the world in the last two centuries, most mohair comes from the two largest producers of Angora goats are South Africa and the United States. About 90% of U.S. mohair comes from Texas.
As a hair fiber, mohair shares many characteristics with wool, including its excellent resiliency. This means that mohair fabric recovers readily from crushing. The fiber also differs from wool in some areas. Unlike most wools, mohair is a lustrous fiber, primarily due to the scales on the outside of the fiber. Compared to wool, mohair scales are much thinner and anchored closer to the body of the fiber. The smoother surface allows more light to be reflected, resulting in higher luster.
Mohair upholstery fabric is almost exclusively velvet, though it is often used in plain woven fabric for apparel. Mohair fabric is unique in that most upholstery fabrics are made using a single construction, while most other fibers are typically applied in several different constructions. Mohair velvet upholstery fabric is commonly used in many different applications around the home: such as a mohair sofa, mohair rug, mohair chair and even mohair pillow. Like other velvet fabrics, mohair velvet typically has a cotton ground yarn, which is the yarn holding the velvet in place. The 100% mohair fabric pile forms the surface of the fabric, which determines how it should be cleaned and maintained.
As it is by far the most popular style, we will discuss the care of primarily mohair velvet. Mohair velvet is one of the top performing fabrics of all velvets. Since mohair is exceptionally resilient, velvets made with this fiber tend to resist crushing, and generally hold their appearance over time.
Gentle vacuuming and routine damp dusting can tackle light soiling on mohair velvets. When a deeper cleaning is needed, professional upholstery cleaning will yield the best results. Although many mohair fabrics are labeled as “dry-clean only,” professional fabric cleaning companies that specialize in cleaning fine fabrics will typically— after proper pretesting— use a gentle water-based cleaning method. It is important to leave deeper cleaning to a professional fabric cleaning service so that you don’t accidentally use the wrong cleaning solution, leaving you with a ruined mohair sofa.
Unfortunately, mohair stains easily due to its inherent high absorbency. Experienced fabric protection companies can help reduce the repellency of mohair upholstery fabric. Soils and spills should always be lightly blotted, never rubbed! After spot cleaning, the nap should be gently brushed in one direction.
Beware of Gaufrage
There is one exception to look out for if you need to wet-clean mohair fabric— gaufrage patterns.
Gaufrage, a fancy term for embossing, is sometimes used to create interesting designs on fabrics. This process uses heat and pressure to create areas of flattened pile. The gaufrage effect is somewhat fragile on mohair velvet, as it is with velvets made from cotton, silk, and all other natural fibers. Any type of rubbing will tend to diminish this effect. Water-based spills “relax” the pile, causing it to begin regaining its original, upright position. Embossed mohair fabric cannot be wet-cleaned without damaging the pattern.
Fabric Care Service
The Fiber-Seal Fabric Care System has been trusted to care for fine furnishings around the nation for over 50 years. Our fabric protection service allows spills and soils to be easily blotted away, which is especially helpful to mohair fabric owners. Additionally, we offer fabric cleaning services using our Fiber-Seal cleaning products and methods for the best results. We offer complimentary spot cleaning on protected furnishings, so there’s no need to worry about ruining your new mohair chair! Click here to contact your local service center for a free consultation.