” Fabric protector, a common brand is Scotchgard, helps repel liquids and block stains without changing the look and feel of the fabric. That means you can wipe the surface clean before the mess sinks in for beautiful, long-lasting wear. So host a family get-together, or wear your favorite jacket with confidence knowing that a fabric protector is your secret defender from life’s little mishaps.”
Sounds awesome right? Except that’s not exactly what happens, is it? It sounds like it’s spray once & walk away forever protected from stains, right? That would be amazing! In reality, what is not made obvious to the consumer is the fact that these fabric protector sprays only last a very short time. They last as long as no one actually touches it, or sits on it. Fabric is flexible, the spray flakes off as it flexes, and is rubbed off. In order to be effective, it would have to be reapplied with great frequency to maintain its’ effectiveness…like every week! (Girls, think hairspray, its really just about the same thing) Is this truly the answer to all our worries? No, not really. Can they be useful? Well, yes…depending on your concerns of keeping chemicals out of your home environment.
Because these products “flake off” with any use amount no matter how minimal, they are soon airborne, settling around the home, being ingested and breathed in by us, but more importantly by those we really care about, the kids, the pets! Which means, only daily use would be effective, and by effective, I mean if you have a chance of getting to a roll of paper towels, or can tip the furniture to cause the liquid roll off, and then dab it up before it settles into the fibers. How much can we expect the plants and air cleaners to protect us from, realistically? Another point: weren’t we supposed to abstain from aerosols as much as possible? Ozone, remember? Even the non-believers of global warming can agree aerosol cans are a landfill nightmare, and a danger to our environment for several chemical reasons ie: the processes it takes to make these products aerosols. I’d rather save my sinful extravagances for spray painting, sometimes I can’t do without the wonderful finish and ease rustoleum can deliver. Natural fabrics are lovely, luxurious, and in a perfect world, free of dirt, oil, wine, sun, kids, pets, clumsiness, they would be ideal. But nowadays, we are fortunate enough to have synthetic fabrics, that feel nearly identical to their natural counterparts, and are ‘naturally’ resistant to staining without having to resort to the ‘Plaid can’. I’ve used a fabric line named Bella (see the link on my fabrics page), for over a decade and have had 100% satisfaction from my clients. Even for the fortunate people who live in a situation that is free of filth, I usually recommend a synthetic fabric, or a wool, so that your investment remains beautiful for as long as they stay in love with the fabric choice.
It is my opinion, that having your fabric treated prior to upholstery, is a misleading practice, and a way for the vendor to up-charge the sale. Even factory applied, the protectant finish will quickly lose its efficacy, from the handling in the upholstery process, and from normal use once you begin to live with it. It is only a temporary fix.
I’ve often suggested to people; yes, it is a precaution worth taking to use it before a party. Do it when the house is empty, open the windows after applying. It is a bit of insurance against your crazy, hilarious friend who is alway insisting on drinking red wine, or the little darling who seems to have been just let out of his cage, with a mother who has no intention of keeping an eye on him. There he goes! Climbing around, food all over his face, and sticky something on his hands. Now that I am thinking about it, why aren’t you renting a hall to entertain these people, instead of in your nice clean house?
All kidding aside, like most marketing practices, this product is careful to point out its’ usefulness, and clever to avoid stating what it cannot do. I’m not knocking it, there is some usefulness here, and as I said, I do suggest using them under certain circumstances, and remember, using them is not a guarantee, just a little bit of short term help. Applying just prior to a party will definitely be a little added insurance. Remember to follow directions on label, and work in a well ventilated area, in other worlds, open the windows.
Til next time!
P.S. I am not a scientist, this is all my opinion and knowledge I have gathered over my career.