Home Décor Fabric – Common Fiber Contents
Acrylic: A synthetic man-made fiber used in a wide variety of fabrics. It is mostly known as a strong but soft and warm prone to static build-up. It can be made to resemble wool making a nice alternative for those allergic to wool. It is found in garment fabrics as well as upholstery. Fake furs tend to be made of acrylic fibers. It also tends to be flame, oil, and fade resistant.
Cotton: One of the natural fibers (not man-made), cotton is used in many applications. It ‘breathes” well and absorbs moisture, making very popular in all types of clothing, window treatments, and upholstery.
Flax: Flax is plant from which linen is made. The fibers can be very fine or quite coarse. Flax or linen tends to be soft and durable. There are many applications for linen such as tablecloths, bed linens, tea towels, drapery and upholstery, as well as clothing.
Herculon: Also known as Olefin, it is a strong fabric resistant to stains, fading, mildew, sunlight damage, and water. It is a synthetic man-made fiber used in carpeting, ropes, vehicle interiors, outdoor fabrics and upholstery. Olefin is also easy to clean.
Nylon: Nylon is a synthetic man-made fiber that is resistant to stains and easy to clean. It is used in a wide variety of fabrics, usually blended with other fibers. It is abrasion resistant and strong – desirable traits when used luggage, carpets, shoes, outdoor equipment and upholstery.
Polyester: Polyester is a great fabric found in many applications and blended with many other fibers because of its properties such as its resistance to stretching, shrinking, mildew, and abrasion. It is a synthetic man-made polymer put into fiber form to be woven into fabrics. Polyester is everywhere – in clothing, upholstery, sheets, bedding, industrial textiles, luggage, bags, shoes, and stuffings.
Polyurethane: Polyurethane is a synthetic elastomer that is totally waterproof. It can be used in sheet form or in fiber form. It is found in synthetic or faux leather that is PVC free, extremely strong, stain resistant, soft with a true leather-like feel. Other applications include seating foam, spandex, and elastane.
PVC: Polyvinyl chloride is also known as vinyl. PVC is waterproof, durable, and resistant to wear and tear. It is used in all kinds of applications such as dining chairs for home or public, auto upholstery, outdoor covers, and anywhere it is necessary to clean often. It can be used as coatings that are applied to other fabrics, making them useful as a waterproof barrier. Vinyl is found extensively in marine applications with a topcoat applied to make it resistant to water, mildew, bacteria, and fading. It can also be made more flexible and applied to fabrics to achieve a more leather-like appearance.
Rayon: Known also as viscose, rayon is popular in upholstery fabrics because of its softness and comfort. Made from cellulose, it has excellent drape and a soft hand. It ends to have a low abrasion resistance, weakness when wet, and wrinkles easily. It makes great curtains.
Silk: Silk is considered an animal fiber made from the cocoons of the larvae of silk moth. It tends to be a lustrous fiber, stronger than one might think. It is found in many applications including home décor and upholstery. It can be found in curtain fabrics and other home furnishings. It dyes well but is easily damaged by direct sun.
Wool: Wool is a natural animal fiber made from the hair of sheep into yarns that can be used 100% by itself or blended with other fibers in many different weights. In addition to clothing, wool is found in blankets, carpeting, and curtain and upholstery fabrics.