A Guide To Pet Friendly Fabrics For Your Home

We all love our pets – and we love our homes, too.  We certainly don’t want our cherished décor damaged by our cherished pets.  And we do spend a LOT on our pets – for 2018, pet owners spent over $72 billion on their pets (about $14 billion more than 2014!).  This includes food, vet bills, toys, and pet beds and furnishings.

So how do you know which fabrics to choose for your comfort, durability, and to keep your pets from being “in the doghouse?”  

Consider the following…

How are you using the fabric?  Window treatments, drapery, seating, upholstery, pillows, accents, bedspreads/comforters, and walls all have different functions and require different types of fabrics.  

Pet Friendly Fabrics

What level of durability do you need? Are pets allowed on the bed or furniture?  Do you have dogs, cats, or other indoor pets?  How large are the pets?  Accidents happen and we need to choose fabrics that clean easily and wear well. My rule of thumb is if they can reach it or lay on it, make it washable and durable!

In our Arizona climate, sun and heat is also very damaging to fabrics.  We need to consider using sun resistant fabrics, tinting windows, or adding high quality linings to avoid shortening the life of your fabrics.  

Fabric stain protection is also recommended on many upholstery fabrics.  But now we have lots more “CRYPTON” fabric choices than ever before!  I have a friend who calls it Kryptonite!  The fabric protection is literally integrated in the fabric at the molecular level.  Food and liquids literally roll right off!!  We also have a LOT more washable fabrics that can go in the washer and dryer, or that have a “W” rating.  The “W” rating means that you can spot clean with water vs. the expense of professional cleaning, or concern for the unknown chemicals in store-bought spot removers.*  

Some outdoor fabrics like Sunbrella are treated for soil-resistance*, yet may be cleaned with bleach. Outdoor (and “marine”) fabrics are natural choices for homes with pets.  You would be amazed at the variety of outdoor fabric choices that look perfectly at home indoors!  For our harsh sunshine, make certain the fabric is Solution Dyed Acrylic – it resists fading for far longer than other outdoor fabrics.

Other fabrics I frequently recommend for homes with pets include faux suede or micro-fibers – Ultrasuede is a popular brand name.  And now we have unbelievably gorgeous faux leathers that are also stain and microbial resistant and rated for hospitals and hotels!*.  This is terrific for anyone with in-home environmental concerns.  And let’s not forget about the durability and beauty of leather.  For pets, I recommend a distressed or weathered look if that’s your style. Nothing wipes clean like leather! Your pet’s fur and hair will not stick to leather or pleather (faux leather) making it very simple to just wipe off or vacuum it away. You should use a commercial leather product to keep your leather supple and looking new, if that’s your style. Otherwise, leather and faux leather develops a patina than many homeowners love and cherish. The good news here is that if you have pets that lie on your furniture in one certain favorite spot–it will speed up the darkening of leather to achieve your patina look much quicker.

Microfibers are synthetic and they wear like a dream in any situation. It will not scratch or rip easily and you can simply remove pet hair with a lint brush or simply wipe it with your hand. In addition, most all stains come out of microfiber fabrics easily with mild soap and water.

Denim is a rugged, durable and easy to clean fabric that makes it a great choice in more casual rooms. This casual fabric may look a bit out of place in a fancy living room, comfy family rooms and formal areas, but all rooms can benefit from denim furniture. It can be spot cleaned with mild soap and water or a baking soda paste. The tight weave of denim makes it easy to simply vacuum off any stray pet hair for easy maintenance.

You may choose to have canvas slipcovers for your furniture in a home with pets. It’s a durable cotton fabric that doesn’t wear easily and you can remove it and throw it in the washer and dryer to clean it. Canvas is also a fairly inexpensive item, so if your slipcover gets damaged, you can simply replace it at a low price point.

Rule of Thumb for Choosing Pet Friendly Fabrics

As a general rule when looking for pet friendly fabrics, you should look for anything with a tight weave in it. Keep in mind that patterns, textures and darker colors are excellent to help hide pet hair and dirt until you have a chance to clean the fabric. If your pet has white hair, it’s best to choose a lighter fabric color so that the hair is less noticeable. Keep in mind that the big four fabrics to avoid in a pet home are velvet, tweed, silk and chenille.

Some of these fabrics can be costlier than other fabrics – but many are surprisingly reasonable!  And remember that $72 billion?  Why not spend a bit more on yourself and make certain your furnishings are long lasting? Plus, the fur kids are always happier when you are happier!

Another unique tip…have those old, worn, wool rugs (that aren’t worth repairing) made into toss pillows for your fur-niture! Wool is extremely soil resistant.

*Always check fabric labels to make certain that you and your pets aren’t sensitive to the contents.  Choosing the right fabric and following the proper cleaning and care guidelines will enable you to enjoy your furnishings for years to come. 

If you would like specifications on any of the fabrics mentioned or advice on pet-friendly furnishings, just call me at 480-683-0200, or email amy@amywolffinteriors.com.