Updated: Sep 29, 2021
The old adage goes "you get what you pay for". But is that always true? Will they really be the knight in shining pickup truck when it comes to spills and messes? Or, are they just a sense of security we hope that we get when buying that extended warranty?
I'll keep it short and simple, I haven't bought into it yet. Let me tell you why.
Four years ago we bought a huge sectional from Macys for about $1900. The series is called the Radley, they still sell it, and it is something I would highly recommend for families who use and sometimes abuse their furniture. Our sectional is 148 inches of polyester fabric each way that has held up over so many different concoctions. We have spilled wine, ketchup, soda, cheese, enchilada sauce, pasta sauce, you name it. We have five fur babies who have had accidents once in a blue mood. Kids have gotten Cheeto dust and chocolate on it. If you saw it today, you couldn't tell. Every. Single. Mess. Has. Come. Up. Sure, its not white, but when you spill anything with high pigment like pasta sauce or wine, those stains are going to show. For this beast, all is good.
Some messes came up with a paper towel and water. Some came up with some dish soap or Tide. Some spills I had to pull up Google and see what best countered them. Every spill came up every time, especially with little effort. Now, I get it, there is an allure to hear "this fabric beads coffee and wine, you can wipe it right off." Sure, but is it worth thousands of dollars more if you can remove most stains yourself? Depends on your budget.
We are currently looking to upgrade our living room sofa to a Pottery Barn piece. I have wanted one for years and have been saving my dollars and cents in my Mad Money Jar. When I started comparing fabrics (boy was that fun), I didn't go easy on them. I went ahead and ordered several swatches and narrowed them down to what appealed to us best. We ended up with Basketweave Slub Ivory, Natural Brushed Canvas, Denim Warm White, Performance Every Day Linen by Crypton Home in Ivory, and Performance Slub Cotton White. Let me tell you, pouring coffee and wine on the fabrics, the Performance ones just wiped off as advertised. I was impressed. It didn't take any hard work what so ever. Grab a paper towel and wipe, bye Felicia! The Denim and Brushed Canvas were stained, and the Basketweave Slub Ivory took some soap and water in order to come clean. I can still hear Stephen's voice, "blot, not rub! Blot, blot, blot!"
That is when I turned up the notch. I took ketchup, pasta sauce, wine, coffee, and rubbed it into each fabric swatch. Believe me when I say, I RUBBED THAT SHIZ IN! I was pretty surprised that the performance fabrics ended up stained. Like... that isn't supposed to happen, right? Nope, stained to the point of no return when it comes to wiping or blotting. As for the the denim and canvas, lost cause. I said a slight prayer for the deceased fabric and moved on. The Basketweave Slub faired much better. It came up for the most part, and in checking the website, I discovered I could wash it! So I threw the swatch in the wash on delicate, cold, and tossed in a TidePod and said a prayer (say that three times). And well.... BAM! All Clean!
Seriously, I was impressed! Looking online at the performance fabrics I found that the majority of them were dry clean only; a NO for me. I don't have the budget for that. The Performance Slub Cotton is machine washable, but if purchasing the non-performance fabric for couple hundred less means I can wash with ease; I call it a win-win.
One thing I noticed about the Basketweave Slub Ivory and the Macys fabric on my sectional, Heavenly Chrome, both were polyester. Should we finally make the decision to upgrade our living room sofa to a Pottery Barn one, I will be choosing the non-performance one\ just because I know the fabric type and how to clean it. If that choice saves me a couple hundred, or thousands of dollars compared to performance fabrics, EVEN BETTER. With our budget, Perennials fabrics at Restoration Hardware are out of the question, even if bleachable.
Hey, if performance fabrics are in your budget and its something you want to invest in, go for it. They certainly have their advantages for wipe up with ease as long as it is not set in. However, when it comes to deep set in stains, I hope it is washable. If performance fabrics are not in your budget, then try out a few that aren't and see if they fit your lifestyle. Depending on what you are looking for, you might get much more bang for your buck. Plus, all that money you save you can use for throw pillows, blankets, and more fun things that your spouse keeps raising their eyebrow to every season.