What's the most durable Slipcover Fabric?

Choosing the most durable slipcover fabric will depend on your household, since different homes have different needs. One of the things to consider is the rub-rating of the fabric, which indicates how many times the fabric can be rubbed by a test machine before showing signs of wear. If your furniture gets heavy use in a family room, a high rub rating is important. Most quality cotton fabrics have a rating in the 15,000 to 20,000 double-rub range, which is usually durable enough for family use.  Washing the fabric also counts as a "rub" of the fabric, so if you'll be washing your fabric very frequently, you may want something with a higher rating.  The rub rating is no guarantee against pets that scratch and dig the furniture - eventually, they'll cause damage even to a durable fabric.

Synthetic fibers often have a higher durability rating than cottons. Our Charisma Velvet scores highly at 60,000 rubs, and retains its shape and color well after many washings.  The polyester fiber is stain-resistant too, and the low-pile resists marking.  Use it to get that cozy feeling for furniture everyone is constantly lounging on.







Outdoor Canvas is another great performer at 60,000 rubs, and has a smooth finish that mimics a cotton canvas.  Since the acrylic fibers are fade-resistant, it will keep its color for a long time, despite sun exposure and repeat washings.  If you have pets or small children and expect a lot of spills, Outdoor Canvas is a great choice since the acrylic fibers repel liquids and wash up clean without much fading.  If your biggest battle is against muddy footprints and pizza sauce, you'll probably be pleased with an Outdoor Canvas.  Just remember, don't put it in the dryer at all - wash and put right back on the furniture damp to preserve its stain resistant properties. 








If you don't want a synthetic fabric, a durable cotton is the next best choice.  A Mattelasse' fabric will be sturdy because of its thick weave; while Mattelasse' is more expensive, it contains a dense weave of quality, long-strand cotton fibers.  Originally created for bedcoverings, it's designed for frequent laundering and gets softer with use.  Like any cotton, its color will fade over time, but this can add to its French-country and Shabby-chic charm.








Next in line for durability, in my opinion, would be a cotton Twill or Denim.  The twill weave's diagonal structure allows fibers to be packed closer together during weaving, producing a more dense, durable fabric than a plain weave (such as a canvas.)  However, it's important to have a quality cotton, with a high percentage of long fibers that give the fabric strength.  A cheaper cotton will contain too many short fibers and can develop frayed spots and small holes when washed (just like a cheap T-shirt). A heavy 10 to 12 oz. Twill is a great slipcover choice. Remember that cotton will fade with repeated washing, so try to wash the entire slipcover at once to maintain an even color.  If you have lots of messes, we recommend having an extra cushion cover or two made to put on the sofa in rotation - then you can wash just the cushion covers more frequently, and the rest of the slipcover every third or fourth washing as needed. 







The best way to preserve the life of your slipcover is to carefully follow cleaning instructions.  Heat and chemicals are the enemy of any fabric, so take it easy on the bleach.  Even with a white slipcover, use non-chlorine stain remover such as Resolve on any stains.  If you must bleach a cotton, try some non-chlorine Biz or quarter cup of chlorine bleach dissolved in the wash water before adding the slipcover.  And remember, nothing lasts forever - but if you choose carefully and take care of your slipcover, it will last for many years.


7 Comments | Leave a Comment

Comments on this post

Kerry Ann says...

Hi Kartini – the outdoor canvas is very easy to sew, actually. Even though it’s durable, it’s not overly thick. It can easily be sewn on most home machines, it’s an 8 oz. weight.

Posted on June 22, 2015

Kartini says...

Hi Kerry Ann,

I like the look and feel of outdoor canvas for my slipcover project (sofa). Most important, it is durable and stain resistant. I gravitate to whites and I have children, so it must withstand frequent washings. I wonder if outdoor canvas is too thick n heavy for a domestic sewing machine? Let me know what you think.

Posted on June 11, 2015

Albert Leonard says...

Nice Information! I just like your various designs on fabric for slipcover. Thank you for sharing helpful article with us. yes i appreciate one thing that is the rub-rating of the fabric, which indicates how many times the fabric can be rubbed by a test machine before showing signs of wear. In recent month i repaired my slipcover at “Reyna’s Fast and Reliable Custom Upholstery” which is the best shop for slip cover in Atlanta area, US.

Posted on March 20, 2015

Kerry Ann Dame says...

The smoother fabrics are less tempting to cats, since they aren’t easy to dig claws into. The Outdura solidncanvas has done well in homes with cats. The flat, tight canvas isn’t tempting to scratch, and the acrylic fabric releases stains easily. It is also easy to brush off hair. It comes in several colors.

Posted on June 15, 2014

Taroh Alexandra Saenz says...

Thx for the helpful info… I see pets in the pics… I have two cats & am getting ready to slipcover a few pieces of furniture… Which fabric would you recommend would work best with cats in the house who run & rest freely on all furniture? :) thank you!

Posted on June 11, 2014

Kerry Ann Dame says...

Cotton duck is a type of canvas, and if it is not too heavy (9-11 oz.) it can work just fine. There are so many types of canvas that I prefer to use ones that we’ve tested. It’s important to have quality yarns so they don’t develop holes when washed. Canvas that hasn’t been pre-shrunk and processed for sewing (such as dropcloths) can be stiff and require repeated washing and softening. It may shrink up to 25% when washed, and develop set-in creases in the dryer. Colors can run or fade where the fabric was folded in the washer. Canvas for boats and luggage is too heavy for slipcovers, since it will be too thick to make nice corners.
Home furnishing canvas has been pre-shrunk, sized, and softened so one round through the washer and dryer will have it ready for the workroom. When ordering canvas or duck cloth, ask if it is pre-shrunk and colorfast.

Posted on March 03, 2014

joyce says...

I love your hints on fabric for slipcovers. How would cotton duck work? If you can take the time to answer, thanks….joyce metz

Posted on March 02, 2014

Leave a comment