Performance fabrics are all the rage, but what does “performance” mean? Read on about this popular upholstery cover— which Nathan Anthony customers love to specify for their furniture selections. 

Photo: Khai Mai President and Chief Engineer at Nathan Anthony

What is Performance?

Image courtesy of Ultrasuede

In the context of fabric for residential home furnishings, performance typically refers to durability or cleanability, and, in some cases, to both. Durability offers insurance against everyday wear and tear, and cleanability refers primarily to stain and odor resistance. 

Why Performance? 

Do your design clients have children? Pets? Are they playing host or hostess to chic soirees in the living room? Will an all-white sectional in these homes spur the biting of nails and gnashing of teeth? Relax; you’ve got this. 

What to Look For? 

Double Rub Count

The “double rub count” term originated with a piece of heavy canvas repeatedly rubbed using a mechanized arm. Every back and forth motion of the arm counts as one “double rub.” The motion is meant to replicate the abrasive effects of normal use, and the friction that occurs when you sit down and stand up from sitting. The test continues until there are signs of significant wear, which is defined as two yarn breaks. Fabrics with a higher double rub count will offer more durability and longer-lasting wear. Look for a high count, starting at 10,000 double rubs or greater, when covering upholstered furniture items that will be used more frequently. 

Crypton Finish

Crypton offers exceptional protection from water- and oil-based stains, moisture and odors. The fibers in a Crypton fabric are permanently transformed through a chemical immersion process, which includes an impenetrable moisture barrier to protect the fabric from spills and odors. Crypton assures its antimicrobial and stain-resistance technology is good for the life of the fabric. The company produces an impressive array of colors and patterns to choose from.

Nanoclean Finish

Nanoclean is an advanced fabric protector application available for use on certain upholstery fabrics. An invisible finish penetrates and forms a protective barrier around each fiber, with no impact to the fabric’s breathability. The application delivers durable, long-lasting repellency against water and oil based stains, dust, bacteria, viruses and dry soil, without affecting the touch, feel, look and the color of the fabric. 

Ultrasuede HP®

Image courtesy of Ultrasuede

Ultrasuede® is the original high-performance fabric, invented in Japan in the late ‘60s. Interior designers ask for it by name, due to its reputation for luxurious softness combined with durability. It offers 200,000 double rubs on all 97 solid colors, which makes it twice as durable as leather. Ultrafine, yet extra strong, fibers are the starting point in a proprietary, non-woven process. The fabric’s high fiber density gives it inherently beneficial properties, including cleanability. Most stains are removed with a water dampened cloth and gentle blotting. Learn more by visiting their website 

[https://www.ultrasuede.us/applications/interiors.html]    

While this is not a complete list of performance fabrics available in the marketplace, we hope you’ve gained a sense for the features and benefits to look for.

Performance Fabric at Nathan Anthony

We’ll be your wingman in the game of upholstery love! 

Your clients may do the happy dance when you choose from our wide, in-house selection of performance fabrics for your kid-, pet-, and wine-friendly interior design projects. We’ve expanded our offering to include items like the cozy (and popular) Bear Performance Plush fabric, available in a range of rich colors.

You may now search for performance fabric on our website. Click on the magnifying glass icon, and type “performance”, “50,000”, or “100,000” (for the desired double rub count); or, key in the performance fabric brand name.

Or simply CLICK HERE to locate your favorites! 

We hope you’ve found this information useful. Please don’t hesitate to write us with any additional questions at [email protected].

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