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Published on Jan 18, 2024
Fabric protection provides a fine coating over the fabric that helps prevent the immediate absorption of any spills and the long-term absorption of oils and soils. If a spill occurs, you have a better chance of cleaning it before it’s absorbed into the fabric, creating a temporary or permanent stain.
A fabric protector also creates a thin barrier between the fabric and dirt, oils and grime that stick to lounges with everyday use. This means that when the lounge is professionally cleaned, just about all the dirt and oils should be removed in the cleaning process.
The most commonly known fabric protector is Scotchgard™ made by 3M. Electrodry has been manufacturing and applying E-Gard on carpets and lounges for over 40 years. More recently a number of companies have started manufacturing after-market fabric protectors that consumers can apply themselves.
The more absorbent the fabric, the more important it is to apply a fabric protector. Fabrics with a cotton or linen component are very absorbent, meaning they will soak up spills and stains, making permanent stains and discolouration more likely.
The other benefit of fabric protectors is that a lounge with fabric protection will always get better cleaning results than a lounge that hasn’t been treated with a fabric protector. The better the cleaning results, the better the appearance of the lounge. Accordingly, the life of a lounge with fabric protection is typically longer than an unprotected lounge.
All lounges will benefit from the application of a fabric protector. However, lounges with natural fibre will receive the most significant benefit from applying a fabric protector.
Fabric protection applied in-store on a new lounge or by a professional upholstery cleaner usually costs between $40 and $60 per seating position. Depending on the cost of the lounge suite, this can be a relatively small investment, and the application of a fabric protector is usually worth the expense.
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Fabric protectors will slow the absorption of the spill or stain into the fibre, giving you the best opportunity to treat the spill or mark before it becomes a stain. However, a good fabric protector will act as a “stain release”. This means that when the fabric is cleaned, the stains will be released and removed in the cleaning process.
Some spills and products will break down your fabric protection coating and allow staining to occur more easily. Acids and caustic solutions are the biggest concerns, meaning that spills from citrus juices and animal urine will break down a fabric protection coating if not treated immediately.
A good quality, well-applied fabric protector will last 3 – 5 years with typical levels of wear. The effectivity of the fabric protector will decrease over time with wear, so a newly applied fabric protector will be more effective than a fabric protector applied 3 years ago. A re-application from 2 years is advisable if your lounge suffers a lot of wear.
An interesting misconception about fabric protectors is that it is often assumed that the fabric protector will wash away with cleaning. What actually occurs is that the protector wears away with friction during day-to-day use of the fabric. Annual cleaning, therefore, has minimal impact on the effectiveness of your fabric protector.
Electrodry warrants our fabric protector, E-Gard, for 3 years to act as a stain release. If a customer has a lounge suite that suffers from heavy wear, we sometimes recommend a top-up coating after 2 years.
Aftermarket protectors are generally effective if applied correctly.
For most store-bought or after-market fabric protectors, we recommend you apply 2 even coatings for best results. Most stain-release products come in a 500ml container, and you will usually require 1.5 to 2 containers for a standard 5-seat lounge suite (this allows for 2 even coats). After application, you will need to brush the protector into the fabric and allow it to cure for 48 hours.
It is essential that the lounge is cleaned before you apply the protector, as the protector will “lock in” stains and soiling.
A 500ml container of a good quality fabric protector will cost approximately $50, so you should budget $100 in product cost for a 5-seat lounge.