Jessica McClaine | November 7, 2017

What Is a Stain Resistant Fabric?

We can all agree that messes on furniture are no fun. In fact, a big headache is a more accurate description. And I don’t know about you, but I do everything I can to try to avoid headaches. That’s why stain-resistant fabric options are so important.

But first, a quick quiz to test your fabric knowledge:

A stain-resistant fabric is...

  1. A. A type of performance fabric that doesn’t lose its original color when you dump your dinner on it
  2. B. Used to make stylish and affordable furniture for your home
    1. C. The reason your couch can remain a beautiful ivory color instead of resembling the hide of a brown and white cow.
  3. D. All of the above


The correct answer is D, all of the above.

Often people don’t give much thought to what it really means when we say “stain-resistant fabric.” And when you hear furniture cleaning companies or showroom salespeople offering an additional stain protection treatment, it can be confusing. When you have your love seat treated, that’s just a spray protection that, while helpful, is temporary and may not be applied evenly on every part of your piece. After a few months or after spot cleaning, the treatment will need to be applied again.

It’s something totally different when we talk about furniture already made with stain-resistant fabrics. Here, the protection is built into the fabric. You’ll sometimes hear the term performance fabric used also. Stain resistance, like water repellency, is one of the several beneficial qualities of a performance fabric.

Lucky for us, when it comes to home furnishings, manufacturers are meeting the customer’s need for fabrics that resist stains. And that’s important because sofas and chairs are major purchases that should last a long time. According to a survey by Furniture Today, 55 percent of consumers who purchase a sofa plan to keep it for 10 years or longer. The fabric used to construct that sofa will be a major factor in determining if it still looks good after a decade of daily use.

So, it’s important to do your homework before making that purchase. If it says stain-resistant, that’s a good start, but ask questions to find out what makes it resist stains. Does it start with a performance fabric? Is the fabric also treated after it’s woven to resist stains and give a barrier protection that prevents spills and stains from soaking into the cushions? Find out which companies are leading the way with fabrics that are stylish and comfortable while maintaining their color through years of daily use (or abuse) from kids and pets.

Then when you go shopping, you can ask if the dealer offers these options. Impress them with your fabric IQ!

Performance Fabrics - 7 Reasons Why

Jessica McClaine

Jessica McClaine

Jessica is a digital marketing and online sales coordinator with a background in textile design. She’s passionate about anything creative or DIY. That’s probably why she and her husband bought a fixer-upper with "great bones," but in need of lots of work. Send Jessica your favorite meme or connect with her to share your creative ideas, or to ask her anything about LiveSmart fabric.