Surprisingly, polyester fibers had already been around for half a century by the time neon-colored separates made the fashion scene in the 1970s. Thank DuPont scientist W. H. Caruthers for the invention in the late 1930s.
By the time WWII was declared, the world had found myriad uses for this fiber, like Nehru jackets, bell bottom pants and other garments today’s generation refers to as downright tacky!
That stated, polyester has found a home within the upholstered furniture industry.
Today’s polyester sofa choices are so diverse, you may decide you can’t live without one.
In this article we will discuss the main pros and cons of polyester when used as couch material for homes.
How polyester fibers are made
Created via “long-chain polymers composed of at least 85 percent by weight of an ester and a di-hydric alcohol and a terephthalic acid,”.
According to the Professor Plastics website, plastic is spun until it melts and is then forced through a dispenser that extrudes viscous liquids into resins.
Threads emerge from the process that are used to produce an endless number of products. No wonder polyester was able to successfully make the leap from fashion to furnishings!
So in short, polyester is a synthetic man-made material that can be used as upholstery fabric for sofas and other home furniture.
Is Polyester a Good Fabric for Sofas?
You won’t find a stronger, more elastic, wrinkle- and mildew-resistant yarn, so in terms of longevity, your polyester couch will stand the test of time.
Why do consumers love or hate polyester textiles? Keep reading to see the pros and cons of choosing a polyester couch for your home.
Main Pros of Polyester Couch
- Few upholstery fabrics resist stains and fading from sun exposure as effectively as does polyester.
- It’s possible to blend polyester with other fibers — silk, wool, rayon, cotton — to produce a hybrid textile that feels softer and produces a “more robust weave.”
- Polyester is an ideal pick for households of family members suffering from allergies and sensitivities.
- Unlike textiles made of natural fibers, polyester can sustain more damage without requiring repair or retirement.
- Affordability is a major attraction for people on budgets and there are many grades of poly on the market.
- Polyester couches come in all configurations: love seats, sectionals, settees, and sofas.
- It’s easy to clean and dries quickly after being cleaned with a damp rag or mild upholstery cleaner.
- Polyester is produced in so many unique ways and myriad colors shoppers may not be able to tell a poly couch from one made of natural textiles.
- Today’s polyester is more breathable than it was decades ago so you may not sweat as much.
- Whether featuring springs or foam interiors, polyester-covered sofas tend to sag more slowly over time.
Main Cons of Polyester Couch
- Even though polyester does a great job of resisting claw damage, it attracts so much pet hair, you will find yourself in perpetual fur removal mode.
- Polyester is considered to be the cheapest upholstery textile on the market, but companies can produce cheaper furnishing using Olefin and other synthetic options.
- In addition to pet hair adherence, your clothing will leave more residue behind than it will when seated on sofas made with natural materials.
- Static electricity is a major downside to owning a polyester couch – especially in winter when air is dry.
- You could spend more on your power bill in winter if you install a humidifier to counteract static electricity.
- While polyester is prized for stain resistancy, skin oils, skin hydrating products and cooking oils can all leave permanent stains, especially if you eat on your couch.
- The lowest grades of polyester will peal easily, turning couch pillow surfaces into a festival of protruding fibers. Using a shaver could even out the surface, but in using one, the fabric could lose durability.
- Poly couches should never be placed in close proximity to baseboards and space heaters. If exposed to high heat, polyester threads could melt and return to their original plastic state.
- Using abrasive cleaning tools on a polyester couch can weaken the weave and damage the surface, so stick to a soft brush if you must use one.
- Polyester is rarely categorized as a “green” alternative, even if it is sold as a microfiber couch since this is another name for poly.
Polyester Textile Cleaning Protocols
Like all textiles used to upholster furniture, there are a series of steps to be taken to go about the task of cleaning couches covered with synthetic fabrics and you’ll want to try them in the order they’re listed below.
- Vacuuming is the first remedy. It will stop dirt, dust, and pet hair from penetrating the material and clean up the surface so you can assess stains that remain. Do it weekly to stay ahead of potential build-up.
- Some experts recommend sprinkling deodorizing baking soda over the couch before vacuuming.
- If the polyester couch you acquire can tolerate water per the manufacturer’s direction, mix 1 teaspoon each of white vinegar and mild laundry soap into 1 quart of warm water and use a microfiber towel to spot clean. Use a clean cloth soaked in fresh cold water to remove residue that remains.
- For large expanses of dirt and stain, Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cleaning Lab staffers recommend investing in a portable cleaning machine like the Bissell Little Green appliance.
- Use fans if necessary to dry couch surfaces thoroughly so mold and mildew don’t get a foothold in the fabric. Alternately, a hair blow dryer will do.
- To clean pet soil, both white vinegar and baking soda can help eliminate odors.
- If sticky substances like chewing gum stick to your polyester couch surface, use an ice cube to freeze the gum so it gets hard and peels right off.
Do Polyester Couches Peel?
According to research undertaken by the Journal of Industrial Textiles, ultraviolet-cured polyester cords adhere to rubber under heat and pressure to improve fabric strength.
A scientific peel test was performed. Conclusions? “acrylated epoxies strongly depend on the acrylic acid content” and ratio of plastic, thus peeling is possible but not inevitable since the chemical makeup of the polyester determines peeling potential.
If that’s too much technical jargon for you, consider this explanation found on the Epic Home Ideas website.
Polyester textiles, when exposed to high pressure, can trigger what’s called a “de-laminating effect,” whereby the fabric literally begins to peel away from its backing material. Further, if exposed to extreme temperatures, polyester fabrics may start to crack, a first step in causing peel-off, too.
How Durable are Couches Made of Polyester Fabric?
Very durable, especially when compared to other synthetic and natural textiles.
Polyester upholstery not only offers impeccable water resistance, sustains many types of damage, and rebuffs a variety of stains but since colors also stand up to direct sunlight, imperceptible fading over time won’t come close to that of other textiles used for furnishings.
Further, because it’s so durable and sturdy, you’ll find a wealth of couches and sofas made of polyester that are manufactured exclusively for outdoor settings like patios, porches, and decks.
Top International Polyester Yarn Manufacturers
Because the use of polyester and poly blends is increasing at a meteoric pace, manufacturers dominating the industry are starting to emerge, according to furniture industry experts.
According to Verified Market Research experts, “Polyester Fiber Market size was valued at over USD 90 Billion in 2020 is projected to reach over USD 168.1 Billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 8.17% from 2021 to 2028.”
These 7 companies are driving the market:
- Alpek: Nuevo Leon, Mexico
- Bombay Dyeing: Mumbai, India
- China Petrochemical Corporation: Beijing, China
- Indorama Ventures: Bangkok, Thailand
- Mitsui Chemicals: Tokyo, Japan
- Reliance Industries: Mumbai, India
- Toray Industries: Tokyo, Japan.
What Does the Future of Polyester Couches Look Like?
To appeal to more consumers – those who already love polyester and those who don’t – upholstered furniture projections for a variety of polyester textiles looks quite dynamic. Expect to see these changes:
- New refinements in the production of resins that make poly fibers stronger and more diverse.
- Technical changes in the equipment used to produce poly threads — e.g., extruders change the shape and feel of fibers, so they look and feel exactly like natural fibers.
- Innovating poly fiber stretching capacity so it extends beyond the typical 5X original strength, thereby producing more threads using the same amount of plastic.
- Crimping the fibers so the cloth has added texture and bulk for elasticity and more closely approximates high-end fabrics like brocades.
- Using state-of-the-art additives to the production process are expected to increase the sheen and colorfastness of new iterations of polyester fabric.
- The industry is on target to produce poly fibers so fine, they are expected to be just 1/100th of the diameter of a human hair!
Where to Purchase Polyester Sofas?
A great place to start your search is Amazon where every color, style, design, and configuration known to man is available for purchase at prices that range from $250 to $1300.
You’ll recognize plenty of brand names when you shop: Serta, Signature Design and Lifestyle Solutions.
The Best Reviews Guide just introduced their 6 picks for best polyester couches based on data collected from 112 million reviewers in December 2021.
Alternately, style experts at the popular home furnishing website Houzz are promoting new selections of contemporary couch designs that include a faux leather reclining sofa that looks and feels like the real thing.
Perhaps the biggest selection of polyester couches can be found at aggregators like Overstock and Wayfair.
Both commission furnishings directly from manufacturers who make sofas for other brands and labels.
Ready to go Shopping?
If you’ve changed your opinion about choosing a polyester couch after reading this information, you’re not alone.
Given the number of innovations debuting in just the past few years, there could come a time when you’ll be forced to check the fabric content on the furniture more closely because at first blush, you may conclude that the couch is made of natural fibers. That’s the industry objective, of course!
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