Pet Friendly Fabrics

Home Décor Fabrics – What’s best for pets?

When it comes to selecting fabric for a home with kids and pets, here some things to consider.  The fabric needs to be easy to clean or keep clean, resist stains and odors, claw-friendly, and not be a magnet for fur/hair.  Below is a list with descriptions of the various fabrics on the market that are better for the pet-friendly household:

1.       Leather:  After considering various expert opinions, leather seems to come out on top as a favorite for the pet-friendly home.  It cleans easily and fur/hair does not stick to it.  Leather ages well and can be conditioned periodically to minimize claw marks that will happen.  A caution would be to stay away from very smooth, shiny finishes.  Cost is also a serious consideration as leather can be very expensive.

2.       Pleather or Ultraleather:  These are man-made leather-like fabrics that are amazing.  Fur does not stick to them, clean with just soap and water, and they resist claws.  The cost of these fabrics can be rather expensive, but tend to be well worth-it.  These are NOT to be confused with leather composites, which tend to peel.

3.       Tight-weave fabrics:  There are many fabrics on the market that woven tightly, making them resistant to claws.  Some good examples are man-made microfiber, canvas, and denim.  Pick darker shades of colors or match the color of your pet(s) so that the fur/hair will not show as easily.

4.       Outdoor fabrics:  Outdoor fabrics come in a wide variety of textures, colors and patterns.  They are easy to clean, bacteria-resistant, and scratch and claw resistant.  Sunbrella makes some amazing fabrics that, in addition to resisting sun damage, are beautiful for indoor and outdoor applications.

5.       Synthetics:  Also known as man-made fabrics, many newer synthetic fabrics have been introduced.  Ultrasuede or microfiber fabrics have become very popular as durable and easy to clean.  They are also stain-resistant and the fur is easy to clean off.

6.       Large patterns:  Fabrics with larger patterns, tend to hide the dirt better, so you don’t have to worry about every single little spot!  Just clean according to the manufacturers’ directions periodically.

7.       Technology:  Fabric finishes have come a long way.  The best, easiest to clean and care for currently, are those fabrics that have been put through the Crypton process.  These fabrics repel dirt, moisture, and odor like not other process on the market.  Perfect for high-use areas and well as kids and pets.  Another alternative and less expensive option is Scotchgard, which is pretty good at resisting spills and dirt.  It can re-applied as needed after any necessary cleaning.

8.       Vinyl:  Vinyl comes in all kinds of colors, thicknesses, and textures.  They are easy to clean and resist punctures.  However, they do not breathe well, making them not so comfortable.  But they are a great choice for kitchens, outdoor furniture, and vehicles.

Fabrics to avoid:

1.       Loose weave fabrics:  Claws get caught in the fibers and fur sticks to them, making very difficult to keep clean and looking nice.

2.       Silk:  Silk is fragile.  It snags and stains easily, making it not a good choice for an active household.

3.       Suede:  Even though suede is leather and looks good, cleaning it is a problem.  It shows water spots easily, which will make it unsightly in short order.

4.       Chenille:  Claws are a big problem with chenille fabrics.

5.       Tweeds:  Again, claws get caught and fur gets trapped in the fibers.

6.       Cotton:  While cotton is cleaned with water-based cleaners, they will tend to look worn out in a short amount of time and tear easily.  The exceptions are utility cottons such as canvas and denim.

7.       Rayon:  Rayon tends to be too weak and cleaning it is tricky.

8.       Acetate:  Similar to rayon.

9.       Velvet:  Velvets for the home market are beautiful, however, spot cleaning it tends to ruin that area – the pile does not bounce back.

When all else fails, cost is prohibitive, or you can’t part with that heirloom sofa from grandma, slipcovers are a good option.  Use a high quality, easy-to-clean, and easy-to-remove slipcover.  There are good options on the market.  Or, you can make your own – learn how at Home Décor Learning Center!