Your fabric supplier can provide key information about your fabric including suitable applications, how it can be cleaned, what its durability (rub count) is and often what its light fastness rating is.

Fabric uses are clearly indicated on fabric labels.  Symbols will indicate if a fabric is suitable for upholstery, drapery, bedding and/or accessories.

Cleaning varies by fabric type.  If there is not a Care Docket attached to your fabric, refer to your fabric supplier to confirm if your fabric can be washed or drycleaned.

Stain resistant technology is increasingly incorporated into fabrics when they are milled.  FibreGuard is a recognised quality mark for stain resistant technology.  This technique embeds the stain protection into the core of the yarn ensuring that it will last the life of the fabric.  Fibreguard and Microseal protection can also be applied in New Zealand if it is not inherent in the fabric you selected.  It is important to note that the application of these treatments will usually compromise the warranties provided by fabric suppliers.

Shrinkage of fabrics is often around 3-7 percent.  If you plan washing or drycleaning your fabric (such as loose covers), we strongly recommend pre-washing your fabric to pre-shrink it prior to it being made up.  If you wash loose covers, it can be easier to re-fit them to your furniture frames while they are still slightly damp.

Rub counts are are an indication of a fabric's abrasion resistance and durability.  Commonly used tests called Martindale or Wyzenbeek tests measure the number of rubs a fabric can withstand before it shows signs of wear and tear.  A rub count of 20,000 to 30,000 is considered suitable for light to moderate use.  A rub count of 30,000 to 50,000 or higher are considered suitable for heavy use situations.

Light fastness is of particular concern in New Zealand where our intense sunlight can fade fabrics in a short time-frame.  Fabric light fastness refers to a textiles ability to resist fading or discolouration when exposed to light.  Many fabrics now carry a light fastness rating.  Light fastness test results are commonly graded on a scale of 1 to 8.  The full light fastness scale is: 1 very extensive fading; 2 extensive fading; 3 significant fading; 4 appreciable fading; 5 moderate fading; 6 slight fading; 7 very slight fading; 8 no fading.

Outdoor fabrics made of materials such as solution-dyed acrylic and polypropylene have evolved substantially in the last decade.  Many outdoor fabrics offer benefits of enhanced light fastness, durability and washability.