What are Performance Fabrics

What are Performance Fabrics?

Real life is messy.

In the typical household, new furniture has a lifespan of five to nine years. That’s a lot of gatherings, celebrations, and time with friends and family. The potential for wear and tear is significant to say the least. But today’s savvy consumers can boost the life of their furniture by shopping for pieces that use performance driven fabrics that can remain useable longer than fabrics available in the past.

How are performance fabrics better than other fabrics?

Performance fabrics are designed and engineered to withstand more stringent conditions than other fabrics. The goal is to create a more durable product, while maintaining a beautiful aesthetic, and easy cleanability for the consumer. Whether the objective is to resist stains, offer a long wearing fabric, combat UV fading, or repel microbes, performance can be engineered into the fibers or added during a fabric finishing process to meet the needs of modern life.

  • Stain resistance: Worried about spills from your children or pets? A stain resistant performance fabric offers cleanability and even repellency to certain types of spills.
  • Wear resistance: Is your home the go-to gathering place for friends and family? Wear resistant performance fabrics are often created with fibers that wear up to ten times longer than that of an average fabric.
  • Mold/Mildew resistance: Do you or a loved one struggle with allergies? Mold and mildew resistant fabrics help combat microbes, keeping harmful allergens from attaching to the fabric.
  • UV/Fade resistance: Worried about the bright colors of your outdoor furniture fading? UV and fade resistant fabrics aim to maintain color consistency longer than traditional fabrics.

What to Look for in Performance Fabrics

A variety of competing claims can make choosing the right performance fabric a difficult decision. Here are some questions to consider. Will the fabric be inside or outdoors? If outdoor, select fabrics with high UV or fade resistance at a minimum. If inside, look for materials that are durable, cleanable, washable, and sustainable.


  • Will the fabric meet 30,000 double rubs or higher?

Cleanability and Washability:

  • Does the fabric repel liquids or other types of stains?
  • Can the fabric be spot cleaned or laundered?
  • What are the washing recommendations? Ask the furniture manufacturer or retailer.


  • Is the fabric made from natural fibers and/or have recycled content? (Target 30% recycled content or higher)
  • Are there any chemicals of concern in the product?
  • Does the fabric have any 3rd party certifications like UL GREENGUARD® Gold certification (Indoor Air Quality) or Unifi U Trust® certification (recycled content verification)?

Where does Milliken Specialty Interiors fit in?

Milliken Specialty Interiors offers innovative performance solutions through purposeful and intentional design that do not harm the environment. By engineering performance enhancements, Milliken’s fabrics can offer performance without the harmful PVCs, fire retardants, or other potential chemicals of concern.