MOHAIR... Special Fabrics Need Special Care

Mohair is the fiber of the Angora goat. The major sources of mohair are the United States, Turkey and South Africa. With a total herd of over a million Angora goats, Texas produces 90% of U.S. mohair.

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Mohair is a very strong fiber and has good affinity to dyes, producing colors that are clear and vibrant. The microscopic scales covering the outside of the mohair fiber are much smaller than those found on wool. Because of this, mohair fabrics do not exhibit felting. Mohair is known for its resiliency and luster. It is often blended with other fibers for selected uses.

Mohair Velvets are Common

Velvets have always been very popular interior fabrics and mohair is one of the most popular fibers for high-end velvets. The fiber gives a smooth, firm hand and a very luxurious appearance.

Pile fabrics such as mohair velvets require special care, especially when there are embossed designs involved.

Embossed Velvets

A fiber that melts when exposed to heat is said to be “thermoplastic.” Since the process of embossing fabric typically uses both heat and pressure to create a design on the surface, it makes sense that the effect is expected to be more durable on thermoplastic fibers such as nylon, polyester and olefin.

Mohair is a natural fiber and is not thermoplastic. Any embossed designs or surface effects on mohair fabrics will tend to be diminished by daily wear and especially by cleaning processes. With this in mind, pre-testing before any type of cleaning is extremely important.

As a general rule, embossed fabrics made of cotton, rayon, linen, silk, wool or mohair (as well as blends of these fibers) should never be cleaned with water or water-based detergents. The finish could easily be lost in the process. Only limited dry-cleaning techniques should be used.

Pile Distortion May Be a Problem

A major problem related to the velvet construction is crushing. This type of pile distortion is commonly observed where back cushions meet seat cushions, leaving an “impression” on the seat cushion. These marks can usually be removed with light steaming and brushing.

Mohair velvets are also susceptible to pile distortion. Fuzzing of the nap can occur when the fabric is rubbed or abraded, especially during spot removal. The fuzzed, distorted nap can create a very unsightly appearance that is difficult to correct.

Client Care

Vacuuming is important on all upholstery fabrics, but especially so on mohair velvets. The relatively loosely constructed pile of these fabrics allows dirt and soils to settle into the air spaces between the yarns.

Lightly brushing the nap with a velvet brush will remove soils missed by the vacuum. Caution must be used—avoid excessive force when using either a brush or a vacuum.

Spills are another problem entirely. Blotting liquid spills may cause nap distortion, especially if too much pressure is used. Blotting of spills should be done carefully and without rubbing.

Professional Cleaning

Mohair fabrics often carry an “S” code for cleaning purposes. This means that the fabric is colorfast to dry-cleaning solvents. As we have discussed previously, dry-cleaning is a vastly inferior method of upholstery cleaning and is suitable only for fabrics that are very lightly soiled.

With proper testing, the majority of mohair fabrics are found to be cleanable by wet (water-based) methods. The primary exception would be embossed mohair velvets. Again, these fabrics can lose their embossed designs if wet-cleaned.

The Aftercare Pros!

For field testing of fabrics or additional information to help you make good choices, call your local Fiber-Seal office. Not only do we study fabrics, but we also see them installed in homes and offices and know how they stand up to everyday use and care. While no fabric protection or aftercare program can remedy an inappropriate selection, introducing your client to Fiber-Seal at the time the fabrics are chosen will allow them to enjoy their new fabrics with confidence. It will also ease YOUR mind, knowing that Fiber-Seal will be there—and we care!

Need Help With Fabric Cleaning Or Fabric Protection?

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Always use fabric experts to clean and protect your upholstered furnishings.