If you are planning to purchase upholstered furniture, then it is essential to remember that there is often more than meets the eye to this process. You will want to look beyond the furniture colors and styles to determine which type of upholstery is going to work the best in your home environment.
One of the most underrated options that is available today is polyester. This material often stands alone because of its stable, synthetic profile. That makes it useful as an outdoor fabric or as part of a blend.
When used on a couch, polyester is easy to care for while providing a highly durable experience. The one primary concern that you will want to review is that this material offers poor resistance to greasy food stains and oil contacts.
If you’re thinking about adding new furniture to your home, then these are the pros and cons of a polyester couch that you’ll want to consider.
List of the Pros of Polyester Couches
1. Polyester will resist most stains better than natural materials.
One of the primary reasons why you should consider polyester upholstery for your couch is that it will add another layer of stain resistance to your user experience. Although it can struggle with oils, it will resist the other stains better than natural fibers would. You’ll also find that this material can keep its color better over time while resisting fading issues from sunshine or artificial light exposure. That means the couch you purchase today is more likely to look the same five years from now than most other upholstery options you could choose.
2. It is possible to blend polyester with other fibers.
You could pursue a 100% polyester couch if that’s what you believe your home needs. Many people decide to use a hybrid material for their upholstery so that they can get the best of both worlds through a natural and synthetic blend. If you combine cotton with polyester strands, then the material tends to feel softer while remaining breathable. You’ll also receive a more robust weave when combining materials instead of using humanmade products for your furniture needs.
There are several blending options from which to choose if you are shopping for a polyester couch today. The humanmade strands can work with silk, wool, rayon, or even processed wood pulp to create that one-of-a-kind experience you crave for your home.
3. Polyester provides a non-allergenic material to use.
There are fewer risks of allergy development if you choose a polyester couch over a natural fabric alternative. Some people can have immediate reactions to non-synthetic choices, with cotton and wool often creating the most triggers. You can also have other allergens, such as pollen, settle into the fibers of the upholstery to create a long-term problem in the home. When you choose a polyester couch instead, then the material is naturally hypo-allergenic.
There are fewer sediment issues within the strands that develop over time because it offers a tighter weave. That means fewer sneezes, skin reactions, and breathing problems over time when choosing the synthetic option.
4. Polyester can resist more damage than natural materials.
If you have a cat at home, then you know how devastating their claws can be on your furniture. It is impossible to have a leather covering because the punctures and tears will begin forming immediately. That’s when a polyester couch becomes the better choice. It won’t stop all of the damage that your pets can cause, but it will resist the impact of their claws and teeth better than natural fibers. You’ll find that the synthetic weave will attract cat fur more readily than other materials, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider the patchwork that is necessary with the other options.
5. Polyester couches tend to be very affordable.
If you are looking for an affordable couch to bring home, then one made from polyester or a blended option with this material provides several good options. You can find several choices available on Amazon, Wayfair, and other retailers for less than $300. The Bjorn Chesterfield Settee by Andover Mills is priced as low as $275 before shipping, giving you a stylish option that would work in almost any home.
You can even find sectionals at reasonable prices when shopping for furniture with polyester upholstery. The Malta Reversible Sectional with an ottoman from Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse retails for about $810.
6. It can remain consistent in a variety of conditions.
Cleaning your polyester couch is relatively easy. A simple damp rag can often remove the dirt and debris that tends to collect on the material. Since it is a non-hygroscopic option, the upholstery will dry quickly once you clean it in this manner. The insulative properties of the weave also remain intact with this option, giving you a furniture option that remains relatively constant throughout the years. Look for a “W” cleaning symbol to know for sure if you can use this advantage.
This durability extends to the wear-and-tear features that occur with upholstery over time when using furniture like a couch. Although cheaper materials can pill or develop damage, most polyester couches can withstand abrasion and discoloration problems to maintain consistent qualities for the home.
7. You can replicate the look and feel of leather with polyester.
If you like the idea of having leather furniture at home, then polyester is an excellent choice because it offers a similar experience without the price tag. You’ll have a more durable weave when choosing the synthetic material while having access to the rich earth tones that make leather such a popular choice. There are fewer maintenance tasks to complete with polyester, which means your long-term costs are going to be lower with this advantage.
You can also replicate almost any look you prefer with polyester upholstery or a blended option. Some options might not be available in every geographic region, but there are plenty of solid choices that you can find online or through local retailers that will match up with your interior design efforts.
8. Modern polyester couches offer breathability options.
If you can remember sitting on the polyester couches that came out 20-30 years ago, then you will never forget the puddles of sweat that would develop. Your clothes would end up being soaked if it was hot outside, and you were watching a long movie or playing an epic session on your new Atari. This issue will never go away entirely because of the moisture resistance synthetic fibers offer, but manufacturers are incorporating more breathability into their furniture designs to prevent sweat accumulation.
9. You can avoid the saggy look in an older couch when choosing polyester.
The polyester fibers tend to have resilience and ‘give’ to them. That’s why it tends to be more colorfast than natural materials will be, releasing water-based stains effectively. There is more resilience to the synthetic materials in its construction, which means you can avoid the saggy look that happens frequently with couches over time when they have cotton or wool upholstery. Since the furniture can keep its shape better, the investment you make today can have more value for you over time.
List of the Cons of Polyester Couches
1. It is more expensive than other synthetic options.
If you are trying to purchase an affordable couch for your home, polyester tends to be an upholstery option that is cheaper than most natural materials. What you may not realize is that olefin is actually a better choice if you want a 100% synthetic option. Olefin is stronger than polyester, cheaper than any other synthetic material, and has more availability. If your budget is tight, then that’s the first option to look at instead of polyester.
2. Your furniture will develop static charges over time.
Synthetic upholstery, including polyester, is known for perpetuating static electricity. If you sit on the couch and move just a little, then a charge will build up that can leave a shocking experience. You can temper this disadvantage a little by maintaining an appropriate level of humidity in the home, but that isn’t a guarantee that you can avoid the issue altogether. Avoid having conductive items around the couch, and you will want to consider wearing rubber-soled shoes or slippers while relaxing to reduce the risks even further.
3. Your clothing will leave behind items on the polyester couch.
The static electricity generated by a polyester couch will create a charge that attracts numerous particles to its surface. That’s why you will see a lot of cat hair hanging out on this material if you have pets at home. It will also impact your clothing in a unique way. If there is any lint on what you’re wearing, then it will often stay behind after you stand up. Particles and debris can embed in the weave of your upholstery, creating a problem when it is time to start cleaning your furniture.
Even couches that support an extremely tight weave can struggle with this disadvantage. If you have a large family or visitors come over frequently, then a hybrid blend or a natural fiber might be a better choice for your upholstery.
4. The oils from your skin can leave permanent stains on the couch.
Polyester upholstery does not perform well when grease and oil make contact with the surface of the couch. If you like to eat in your living room while watching TV, then this material should not be your first choice. The issue with this disadvantage is that it can also produce stains from contact with human skin that doesn’t always come out of the material. Oily hands and feet are one of the most common reasons why polyester couches look smudged as they age. Professional cleaning can remove some, but not necessarily all, of this issue, so it is a disadvantage to consider for large households.
5. Cheap polyester can have a pilling problem.
When you use a low-quality synthetic upholstery for your couch, then the material can easily pill of the surface receives consistent abrasion. Some people call this issue a bobble or fuzzball. These small pieces of fiber form on top of the material as the fibers loosen from their weave. It creates an undesired look for your furniture because the small balls of material remain anchored to the surface by the protruding fibers that haven’t yet broken.
There are several ways that you remove pilling from your polyester couch, with the quickest being a shaver or remover. A pumice stone can be useful in a pinch. Natural fibers pill just as much as synthetic ones, but the latter tend to experience more severe damage over time. When a fabric is made from longer fibers, then it is less likely to experience this issue.
6. Polyester couches are more vulnerable to heat.
If you were to apply a hot substance to a natural upholstery, it could singe or burn. When this circumstance happens with a polyester couch, then the materials can melt. The synthetic fibers don’t have the same level of heat tolerance as natural ones, which means you must avoid heat sources with this furniture.
Placing a polyester couch near something like a baseboard heater is enough to cause this disadvantage to occur. You can also cause damage by placing a space heater too close to your furniture. You’ll want to keep the unit at least 18 inches away from standard sources and have a stock of blankets available to use when you feel cold to protect your investment.
7. You can clean polyester couches with a soft brush.
If you are concerned about debris on your polyester couch, then a soft brush will usually remove the problem areas without damaging the surface of the product. Items that might be sharp can come off quickly when you run a tape roller over the area. Lint brushes are effective at the removal of cat hair. As long as the materials you use are not overly abrasive, you’ll find that it is quite easy to care for your new furniture without much difficulty.
If you want an affordable sofa option, then a polyester couch is a legitimate choice to consider. It will stand up well to sunlight exposure, resist pet damage, and stay strong during daily use. It won’t harbor water-based stains, but can be vulnerable to heat and oils.
You will want to check the label on your couch to see what upholstery weave it contains. Any product that says it is a 100% microfiber material is a polyester furniture choice. Some sofas contain “green” materials that are usually poly-cotton blends. Manufacturers are also using an olefin-poly mix to keep costs down on some items.
The pros and cons of a polyester couch generally place the debate on the positive side of an investment. Every home is different, so consider your usage habits and indoor environment carefully before spending your hard-earned money.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.