CLS Custom Upholsterers & Refinishers

Whether decorating your home for the first time or renovating, furniture is one of the most expensive items to budget for. Unfortunately, things like tears, unavoidable stains, and mildew might force you to replace your furniture, which means spending money you could have used elsewhere. To cut down on that cost, many have been turning to furniture featuring performance fabric. Are you wondering what this is? Keep reading to find out.

Performance Fabric

Performance fabric is designed to resist fading, stains, and wear and tear. These qualities make it ideal for daily use because it can handle different messes like muddy paws from your pets or spilled drinks. In addition, technology ensures that fabrics with these qualities don’t sacrifice style or comfort. The material is still comfortable and appealing, ensuring your furniture serves its intended purposes.

Performance fabrics are very durable and can withstand regular use without wearing out quickly. That’s why most commercial spaces, such as offices, boutique hotels, and retail spaces, often choose furniture made of performance fabric. That said, this material isn’t restricted to commercial spaces. You can also have your furniture reupholstered with performance fabric to enhance its durability.

Contact us today to reupholster with performance fabric! (888) 272-6623

Types of Performance Fabrics

There are multiple types of performance fabrics in the market. But the one thing they all have in common is that they’re durable. That said, look at the fabric types you will likely run into.


Crypton is particularly known for its durability and moisture- and stain-resistant capabilities. It has been engineered to resist stains, making it easy to clean and maintain. It can also repel substances like greases, oil, wine, and other liquids, preventing them from setting into the fabric. Aside from that, its moisture-resistant capabilities prevent water from penetrating the fiber, thus preventing the growth of mold and mildew. And with antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms, you can rest assured your couch won’t make you sick.


Polypropylene, also known as Olefin, is a synthetic fiber derived from a byproduct of oil and natural gas processing, making it an eco-friendly choice in the furniture industry. Like Crypton, it has some amazing properties that make it an ideal material for reupholstering furniture. For instance, it doesn’t absorb water, making it difficult for stains to adhere to the fiber.

Polypropylene is also highly resistant to fading. Its colorfast nature means that the dye is built into the fiber during production, making it part of the fiber itself. This characteristic ensures that fabrics made from polypropylene retain their color even when exposed to intense sunlight. Polypropylene is also known for its softness and ease of cleaning.


Polyester is considered a performance fabric because of its many advantageous properties. It’s known for its durability, resistance to stretching and shrinking, quick drying capabilities, and ability to resist wrinkles and abrasions.

Polyester fabrics are often treated or blended with other fibers to enhance their performance attributes, such as improving moisture-wicking properties or UV resistance. One of the brands known for producing polyester is United Fabrics. They have a fabric line called Charisma Eco, made from 100% recycled polyester, giving you an eco-friendly material to reupholster your furniture.


Nylon is rarely used alone. In most cases, it’s combined with other fibers to enhance its properties and make it more suitable as a performance fabric. Combining nylon with different materials can adjust characteristics like texture, durability, stretch, and aesthetic appeal.

For example, blending nylon with cotton can provide a softer feel and increase breathability while retaining the strength and durability of nylon. This is useful for furniture that needs a comfortable touch but must also withstand regular use. Also, combining nylon with polyester can enhance durability, color fastness, and resistance to wrinkles and shrinkage. This blend is particularly beneficial for outdoor furniture upholstery due to its improved weather resistance.


Acrylic fabric is considered a type of performance fabric because of its durability and resistance to wear and tear, making it popular for furniture reupholstery. It’s also known for resisting moisture, mildew, and UV damage, making it suitable for settings where furniture may be exposed to the elements or subjected to heavy use.

When reupholstering furniture, acrylic is frequently blended with other materials to enhance its properties and achieve the perfect balance of comfort, durability, and aesthetic appeal. For instance, mixing acrylic with natural fibers like cotton can improve the texture, making it softer and more comfortable, while blending it with synthetic fibers like polyester can enhance its strength and stain resistance.

Is Performance Fabric Right for Me?

When wondering if performance fabric is right for you, there are a couple of things to consider. Here they are:

  • If you have pets and kids, your daily life is full of sticky fingers, pet fur, muddy paws, and occasional spills. Performance fabric can make these inevitable mishaps far less stressful. Cat owners, in particular, will find that pieces upholstered with Crypton fabric, especially those with a low-pile and tightly woven 100% polyester construction, offer the best durability and ease of cleaning.
  • If you love hosting, consider performance fabric. Even the most cautious gatherings can involve the odd spill or two. With performance fabric, you won’t have to interrupt engaging conversations to deal with a wine spill. It allows you to focus on your guests instead of fretting over stains.
  • Performance fabric is an excellent choice if you love light-colored or white upholstery. Although it still gathers dust and requires regular maintenance, the upkeep is far more straightforward than other upholstery fabrics. In the event of spills or stains, cleaning up is straightforward. Most liquids will simply bead up and roll off.

But…Buyer Beware!

Now that you’ve learned about the types of performance fabrics available, you need to know that not all materials are the same quality. Unfortunately, the phrase “performance fabric” is broadly used and doesn’t always refer to the most durable of options.

True performance fabrics pass the Wyzenbeek Test, which measures durability through an exhaustive and comprehensive series of double rub tests. For residential applications, the categorization of durable fabrics is as follows:

  • Delicate Duty: Less than 3,000 double rubs. Suited for more decorative use (think: curtains, drapes or pillows)
  • Light Duty: 3,000-9,000 double rubs. Suited for occasional use or formal furniture pieces
  • Medium Duty: 9,000-15,000 double rubs. Recommended for living or family rooms
  • Heavy Duty: 30,000+ double rubs. Best for living rooms, family rooms, and similar high-traffic areas

Given the complexity and nuance associated with fabric choice, it is best to consult a professional reupholster to ensure the right choice from the start of your project. Rebuild your furniture under your terms and timing, with longevity and value built right into your piece.

If you have been thinking of reupholstering your furniture, consider using performance fabric. And if you aren’t sure where to start, CLS Custom Upholsterers & Refinishing can help. We have partnered with various brands that produce performance fabrics to give you an extensive selection of fabrics. It’s our family name on our work, and we stand behind every piece. Contact us today, and let’s get started on transforming your furniture.

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