Performance Fabrics: Bulletproof?

Today’s performance fabrics are not limited to outdoor furniture or commercial applications like the hospitality industry, where there has always been an expectation that these fabrics would feel more workman-like than luxurious.

Let me start off by saying that I am a fan of performance fabrics, especially for people that find themselves in “high danger lifestyles”. You know, kids, pets, entertainment central…fill in your risk category here!

There has been great progress in recent years in developing softer and more varied fabrics that complement even the most prestigious homes.
However, in my multiple conversations with industry types, it has been difficult for me to ascertain the life expectancy of the protection element of these fabrics. Is it really for the life of the fabric as some mused? Or is it less? Some retailers simply told me they didn’t know and for me, that wasn’t good enough. I decided to do some testing.
I mounted 4 performance fabrics on a board and pre-tested each to observe the “beading” of the liquid that I poured onto them.

Next, we did a simple extraction clean of each fabric (hot water only, no chemicals) and repeated the test. The results were the same, as the fabrics showed 100% repellency. Cleaning number 2 gave us the same results. Cleaning number 3, however, resulted in the liquid slowly starting to permeate the protection barrier, while cleaning number 4 saw a marked increase in the speed of absorption.
I am no less convinced about the value of performance fabrics, but I am certainly more informed. I summarize by saying that you do NOT need to apply additional protection initially, but fabrics should be tested after cleaning to confirm that the repellency is still intact. Be prepared to have after-market protectors like our ZebraSeal applied when needed!
On the topic of fiber protection, I am asked ALL the time if we have a 100% green product. My answer is the same every time. “Yes, we can apply a green product to your fabrics, but the only problem is it doesn’t work!!” ZebraSeal is the name given to our unique family of penetrating sealers and they are 100% environmentally friendly/child-pet safe once applied and cured. The products are heavy in nature, rather than aerosols and when applied in well-ventilated areas, they are airborne for a very short time. So, while technically not 100% green, practically speaking they are safe and effective ways of keeping your beautiful furniture at a performance fabric level year-round!