How is Sunbrella Fabric Like a Carrot and Crypton Like a Diaper?
And what about nanotechnology and permanent protection? How exciting fabrics are becoming today! Who wouldn’t want to have beautiful fabrics remain free of stains and fading. So how do you get these and what do you ask for?
First, let’s make sure everyone knows about some of the different labels. Most of you are familiar with the original Sunbrella “canvas look” for outdoor furniture and awnings, but now you can have much more than that, and for indoors as well. Sunbrella is compared to a carrot because the color penetrates through the fabric and won’t fade or wash away since the color is added during production of the fiber. Ordinary fabric is more like a radish because the color is added to the surface and only penetrates the outer layer and will wash or fade away over time. When we demonstrate Sunbrella fabric in our showroom, we immerse it in bleach for a couple of days before the presentation with no reaction or fading of color..
In addition to the enduring color, durability and cleanability, this fabric now comes in luxurious textures and sophisticated patterns such as velvets, chenilles, rich jacquards, sheers, throws, etc. It also feels good – soft, not stiff. And all of this has a new five year warranty.
I’ve used Sunbrella here as a primary example because you are probably familiar with that brand, but there are other similar products. Some fabrics that we carry in addition to Sunbrella, and I am most familiar with, are treated with Bella Dura, Terrazzo and Weatherwize. They all can vary somewhat in the amount of double rubs, which is a way of measuring the amount of abrasion the fabric can take before showing wear, the mildew resistance, lightfastness and water repellency. They are all stain resistant, can be cleaned with soap and water and are bleach cleanable for tough stains. How great is that for indoors and out? Now you can even use solids and light colors without the worry of staining.
Now, how is Crypton like a diaper? The story is that the couple who created Crypton was shopping for diapers when they wondered “If they can do this with diapers, why can’t they do the same thing with fabrics?” Crypton evolved into a high performance finish with extreme stain resistance, moisture barrier protection, bacteria and fungal resistance, odor resistance and superior durability and cleanability. Originally it was popular for hospitals, hotels and restaurants, but now it is being used more and more in residential settings. It is even in places like the White House and Buckingham Palace.
Crypton acts like a moisture barrier while still allowing ventilating air to pass through the fibers. The barrier is permanently integrated into each fiber strand so that it won’t separate or fail because of heavy use or cleaning. Because of this moisture barrier, the fabrics will resist stains. The treatment also helps block the spread of harmful bacteria, viruses, mildew, mold and algae. I should tell you that this treatment does stiffen the fabric a little, so use it in situations where that will not matter. And also allow ventilation if necessary similar to what you would do with a leather or vinyl to let air escape when sitting.
Another product you should know about is one done with nanotechnology. This is the process of working on the nano scale – each nano scale molecule is one million times smaller than a grain of sand. It’s not only the size used, but also how those materials are engineered to perform specific functions. Traditional coatings can make fabrics feel stiff and clog the weave of the fabric. Using nanotechnology, the treatments are small enough to attach to the individual fibers without compromising the look or feel. They will also perform the expected life of the fabric. This Nanotex fabric treatment can not only treat for soil and stain, but also adds to the double rubs, sometimes even doubling the amount.
But what if you already have upholstered furniture, drapes or even carpeting that you would like to have protected, and insure that its life is not shortened by stains or fading? There is another product we have recently learned about which offers that and it can be sprayed on. It has been used previously meeting FAA Regulations for aircraft interiors. It offers permanent stain resistance and will survive many professional cleanings; permanent sun fade resistance, nearly 100% on most fabrics and carpet. It won’t change the texture or color and seals all fabrics, even silk, leather, and carpets. Additional benefits include a reduction in smoke density and flame spread, mildew resistance, and is non toxic and non allergenic, It attaches to the fibers and the fabric does not have to be clean before applying. Also it does not damage the woodwork, paint, metal or glass in any surrounding areas with overspray. There is extensive research and testing continually with all such products since there are regulations to be met before 2010 and even more stringent ones for 2015.
So, no doubt technology will continue to improve and there will be even more exciting and healthy products for you in the future. Meanwhile, the objective here is to make you aware of all the savvy solutions currently available and that you can have beautiful textures and patterns which are stain, mildew resistant and easy to clean and fade for both indoors and outdoors. Just ask!