February 5, 2021

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From Plastic To All Natural : Protecting Upholstery

Do you know anyone who still has plastic Slip Covers ( Plastic Protectors) on their Furniture? It was’nt that long ago many Americans covered their furniture to protect it from stains dirt and so forth. You could go to anyone of your friends grandmothers house and 9 out of 10 of them would have their furniture adorned with these magic Covers. Protecting Upholstery was no joke to this age group.

Plastic Slip Covers The Origin

What is a Slipcover Wikipedia has the following definition.

A slipcover (also called loose cover) is a fitted protective cover that may be slipped off and on a piece of upholstered furniture. Slipcovers are usually made of cloth. Slipcovers slip on and off, they come fresh, and may be removed for seasonal change, cleaning, moving, or storage.

Slipcovers are sometimes defined as “clothing for furniture”. Indeed, they are tailored just as clothing is, and are fitted loosely or snugly to the taste of the owner or tailor. Some people order furniture upholstered in plain muslin with the intention of using slipcovers only.

So basically a Slipcover Clothing for your Furniture. But where did they come from?

As far back as the mid evil times people covered the furniture with cloth or canvas to protect from things like dust and insects Rodents and the elements. It is true that slipcovers originally were strictly for protection but as time went on they evolved into something more. A Fashion Statement.

Around the turn of the 18th Century Tailors were making the rich English Ladies Slipcovers made of fine breathable Fabrics to be used in the Summer months. These Covers were ornately decorated with patterns and lace.

The practice of displaying ornate Slipcovers continued after the end of the Victorian Era. The only major change was the adjustment to a looser fit during the summer months.

Imagine it’s the 1950s The country is experiencing unprecedented growth. We were developing new fabrics’ polyester, rayon, vinyl. Quickly it became quite fashionable to cover furniture with a new modern material. You guessed it The Cler Vinyl Slipcover was born. This marvel of science remained popular and widely used into the 60s to the early 70s.

There’s an old saying Every Dog Has Its Day. Well Slipcovers enjoyed quite a ride used in one form or another for Hundreds of years. But Progress waits for no one and the winds of change were blowing. While the Carpet Cleaning Business was well-established. Fabric Protection Industry was just getting started.

Scotchgard : What the heck is it

According to Wikipedia the definition is as follows.

Scotchgard is a 3M brand of products, a stain and durable water repellent applied to fabric, furniture, and carpets to protect them from stains.

The original formula was discovered by Chemist Patsy Sherman and Samule Smith by accident in 1952. Modest sales began in 1956 but by 1973 the two Chemists obtained the patent for the Formula. By this time Slipcovers had fallen out of fashion.

This miracle formula was it have your furniture Scotchgarded and no more stains just wipe up the mess and the furniture was supposed to be good as new. What they did’nt tell was that it needed to be repeated. So what was next on the horizon?

New Products hit the market

The 1980 brought change not only change in personal style but change to the fabric protection industry. Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning were still necessary but new products were being developed to compete with the Giant Schotchgard. This virgining multi million dollar industry was getting more competitive. I

Today there any number of Fabric Protectors out there here are a few.

  • Vactra Spray: For 25 years this Fabric Protector Spray has been manufactured in Atlanta the trademark is registered. A popular alternative to Schotchgard. The Company website says the product is safe to use on Carpet, Furniture and Clothing. The website also says the product is Non-Toxic and Environmentaly Friendly.
  • Forcefield ,Upholstery, Rug and Fabric Protector: Helping Fabric retain its new look longer Forcefield Upholstery, Rug and Fabric Protector can be safely applied to Clothing’ Carpets, Rugs and Furniture. The Company boasts the product is safe on all fabrics’ including Suede, Leather and Silk.

The evolution does not stop there what’s next you ask?

Super Fabrics : How Far Will They Go?

Today it may not even be necessary To Spray Protectant on our fabrics’. With the advancements in technology we now have what I call Super Fabrics. If you have not heard here are some of the fabrics’ and their rather unique properties

  • Crypton Super Fabrics: With a complete Green Line of Wall Fabrics, Mattresses and Upholstery. The applications are especially good for Homes with pets and Commercial use. The Fabric is treated with a moisture barrier that is built in and resists Odors, Stains and Bacteria. Crypton Super Fabrics also include Leather, Suede and Outdoor Fabrics.
  • Nano Care Fabrics: Nano-Tex Manufactures these Stain Repellent Fabrics. They start with ordinary fabrics’ like cotton then its interwoven with nano fibers that are waterproof. This increases the Surface Tension and Density of the fabric. When Liquids is spilled on this fabric it will not be absorbed. In Fact Companies like Eddie Baur and Lee Jeans are using Nano Care Fabric to make Slacks.


We have advanced a long way in protecting our furniture from Slipcovers to Spray on Fabric Protectors to Water Repellent Fabrics. There will always be a need for services like Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning But with the development of Super Fabrics it should make the job a lot easier.

I hope this was an educational and informative article leave a comment below and I will respond as soon as possible.