What Is The Best Stain Resistant Fabric? (Plus The 5 Worst Fabrics For Staining)

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If you have kids or pets or just enjoy the occasional glass of red wine, you can expect stains sooner or later. This article covers what is the best stain resistant fabric, so you can buy furniture that will withstand daily use and save you money on professional cleaning.

Table Of Contents

What Is The Best Stain Resistant Fabric?

If you’re shopping for a stain-resistant couch or other furniture, knowing the best stain-resistant fabric will save you a lot of time.  Here are the six best stain-resistant fabrics you can buy today.

1. Vinyl Fabrics

Vinyl fabrics are some of the most stain-resistant fabrics you can find, which is why restaurants and other public spaces often use them. Vinyl is a type of plastic made of chlorine and ethylene. Although it’s not the most eco-friendly option and gets very hot in the sun, it’s also affordable and highly stain-resistant.

2. Microfiber Fabrics

Microfiber is a synthetic fiber commonly made of a polyester and polyamide blend. Manufacturers split the polyester fabrics into fine strands and add the polyamide to increase the fabric’s absorption.

This results in a fabric that’s not only soft and durable but also highly resistant to stains. In fact, most liquids will simply bead on the surface and roll off instead of soaking directly into the fibers. Pretty neat, huh?

However, there is a downside to microfiber. It can be quite challenging to maintain since it requires special laundering. So, while it may be a great option for some, it may not be the best fit for everyone’s lifestyle.

3. Crypton Fabrics

Have you heard of Crypton? It’s a particular fabric brand with a unique weaving process to make it extra durable and resistant to stains. It’s made from a combination of cotton, rayon, and polyester.

But that’s not all: Crypton fabrics also protect against bacteria and mildew, making them an excellent choice for areas prone to moisture or spills. However, it’s worth noting that the fabric has a texture that’s somewhat similar to vinyl. So, if you prefer a different texture, Crypton may not be the best option for you.

4. Polyester Fabrics

High-end polyester upholstery is tough and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Plus, it’s naturally resistant to stains – score! 

But polyester isn’t usually used on its own. Instead, manufacturers blend it with other fibers like rayon or cotton to make the fabric softer. (After all, straight-up polyester can feel a bit plasticky.)

Some polyester blends are soft and durable, while others can be stiff and uncomfortable. And depending on the materials added to the polyester, some blends may be more likely to show stains than others. For instance, a polyester-cotton blend might be more susceptible to staining than a polyester-rayon or polyester-olefin blend.

5. Acrylic Fabrics

Acrylic fabrics are a go-to choice for both indoor and outdoor furniture, thanks to their impressive durability and resistance to stains, wear, and fading. They come in a wide variety of styles.

But here’s the thing: some of the lower-quality acrylic fabrics may start to develop “pills.” These are little balls of fibers that form in areas that receive more wear and tear. Thankfully, higher-quality acrylic fabrics are less likely to pill. That said, some folks find that the material can feel a bit stiff and scratchy. It all depends on your preferences!

6. Olefin Fabrics

Olefin is a tough, underrated fabric known for its durability and resistance to fading and stains, and you can use it outdoors and indoors.

Depending on the specific type of Olefin, your furniture may even be water-resistant. So, if you accidentally spill something on it, you don’t have to worry about the liquid getting absorbed into the fabric. Instead, it’ll just pool or run off, making it easy to clean up with a quick wipe.

What Are The Worst Fabrics For Stains?

Scissors and string on white fabric. Text reads: "The 5 Worst Fabrics For Stains."

The five worst fabrics for stains are cotton, leather, suede, silk, and muslin. In general, loose-weaved fabric is less stain-resistant because the loose weave lets stains sink into the fabric.


What Is Fabric Absorbency?

The absorbency of fabric is determined by the types of fibers it’s made of. Natural fibers like wool and cotton are absorbent, as are manufactured fibers like rayon and acetate. Synthetic fibers like nylon, polyester, and acrylic are not absorbent.

High-absorbency fabrics absorb water-based stains. While resistant to water-based stains, synthetic fabrics like polyester are more prone to oil and grease stains.
If you have natural fabric furniture or clothing, you can make it more stain-resistant by using chemical finishes like Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield. However, this type of treatment isn’t typically long-lasting.

Alternatively, resin treatments done at the manufacturing level can provide longer-lasting protection but may make the fabric less absorbent of sweat, leading to discomfort when wearing or sitting on it.

How Does Absorbency Affect Cleaning?

Removing stains from absorbent fabrics is much easier than from non-absorbent fabrics. 

Synthetic fibers are tough to stain but hard to clean once they’re stained, whereas natural fibers are easy to stain but easy to clean. So even though cotton is prone to staining, you can usually clean it easily.

By contrast, oily stains on synthetic fibers can be tough to remove. You may need to use dry cleaning solvents or pre-treatment products like Zout Laundry Stain Remover or Resolve Spray ‘n Wash Pre-Treat Stain Remover to clean the fabric. 

Is There A Stain Proof Fabric?

what is the best stain resistant fabric and is there one that's stain proof?

There is no 100% stain proof fabric, but Sunbrella and Revolution Fabrics come close.

What Is The Difference Between Stain Resistant And Stain Proof?

Stain resistant means a fabric is good at repelling stains. Stain proof means a fabric can never be stained (this doesn’t exist, no matter what the marketing tells you).

What Color Is Most Stain Resistant?

No color is more stain resistant than another, but dark colors like brown and black hide stains the best.

What Are The Benefits Of Stain Resistant Fabric?

Stain resistant fabric has many benefits, including being easy to handle, lasting a long time, and being resistant to sunlight, insects, waterborne stains, mildew, and abrasion.

What Stain Is Hardest To Remove?

The hardest stains to remove are the following:

1. Blood
2. Red wine
3. Ketchup and tomato sauce
4. Grass
5. Chocolate
6. Fruit and fruit juice
7. Grease
8. Ink
9. Sweat
10. Coffee

What Makes A Stain Worse?

Using hot water on a stain makes it worse and can even permanently set it in the fabric. Always make sure to use cold water on stains!

What Is The Best Stain Resistant Fabric?

The best stain-resistant fabrics are vinyl, microfiber, crypton, polyester, acrylic, and olefin.

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Lucy Henderson is a Seattle-based home décor expert and creator of Palladio Interiors. She loves writing about design trends, home-interior inspiration, and home-decorating tips. She's a fan of coziness and simplicity.