Instead of spraying fabric to protect it, choose the right fabric to begin with

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Sheryl Novak
Sheryl Novak
Sheryl Novak is an expat Canadian and owner of SOLutions Mexico, an online furniture store in Mexico. Sign up for our free newsletters, which deliver our top headlines twice a week.
A performance fabric beats sprays anytime. Photo: Courtesy

If you had asked me 10 years ago how to keep your sofa or sectional stain free for as long as possible, I would have told you to coat it with a fabric spray. At that time, I did not know that there was a far better solution new to the market.

As soon as I found out about it, I was so amazed, I knew I would never purchase another piece of upholstered furniture without it. What is this revolutionary feature? Its called performance fabric and it is superior to after-market protective sprays in many ways.

Performance fabrics are created using polyester performance yarn which is coated with an additional stain and water-resistant finish. The manufacturing process used ensures that the protective coating is consistently applied to the fabric.

This differs from an after-market spray. Sprays are applied after the upholstered piece of furniture is built. As a result, it is doubtful that the coverage will be even nor that every part of the item will be coated.

These bare and lightly covered spots will result in your sofa, sectional or chair looking uneven in color within a few years. Because performance fabrics are engineered with stain resistance right from the beginning, your couch, sectional or chair gets complete, all-over protection everywhere.

Some upholstery fabrics do not respond well to after-market sprays. The spray can cause discoloration, shrinking, stiffening and dye bleeding. About 15 years ago, before I moved to Mexico, I sprayed a new love seat and sofa with the hopes of giving it a longer life. Unfortunately, it never had the same softness that it had before the spraying, and within a few years, I noticed the color of some areas to be lighter than others.

Performance fabrics are tested before they leave the factory to ensure that its protection can be guaranteed. That is how furniture manufacturers can offer such great warranties – they know that the materials they use will really hold up under almost any circumstance.

The most significant difference between the two options is that with an after-market spray, liquids such as urine and red wine still go right through the material and into the foam and filling. With performance fabrics that are moisture repellent, the liquid only beads up on the surface. You never have to worry about your sofa, sectional or chair cover staining nor the filling smelling or molding.

Performance fabrics cost the same as regular fabric and what is even more appealing is how many patterns and colors they come in. This summer, I got a sneak peek at the 2019 line. The colors are just stunning and perfect for any decor style common here in Mexico: beach, contemporary, modern, mid-century modern, bohemian or rustic.

Whether you are planning on renting out your home in Mexico when you are not using it, or just wanting to get the best return on your investment in your upholstered goods, there is no question that performance fabric is the way to go.

Sheryl Novak is an expat from Canada who has owned a home in Mexico for over 10 years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico, an online furniture store and an expert on sourcing all styles of furniture, for all budgets, in Mexico. 

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