Is Olefin Fabric Waterproof?
Only some olefin fabric are waterproof but they are water resistant
Olefin fabric, also known as polypropylene, is a soft, lightweight woven outdoor fabric. Outdoor fabrics differ from indoor fabrics like linen and are specifically for outdoor use.
Olefin outdoor fabric comes in a variety of weaves, textures, colors and prints and is resistant to mould, fungi and moisture. It is also recyclable making it an environmental friendly choice.
It has a high abrasion resistance (measured in double rubs)of up to 50,000 double rubs which makes it an excellent choice for outdoor upholstery. Olefin fabric is used for outdoor cushions, chairs, covers for pillows as well as outdoor curtains and drapes.
Only some olefin fabric are waterproof but they are water resistant and can be wiped down if anything is spilt on them. Olefin fabric cushions, for example, dry very quickly when exposed to air so that sweat and body moisture do not stick to the material.
Olefin fabric was first manufactured in 1957 by Guilio Natta, an Italian chemist. Natta and his partner, Karl Zeiger went on to win the Nobel Prize in 1963 for their development of a method of transforming polyolefins into fibers using titanium as a catalyst.
Popular Outdoor Fabric choices
Outdoor fabrics are manufactured to withstand extreme weather conditions and direct sunlight. They come in different grades and colors. They range from spun polyesters to solution dyed olefin fabrics.
Some common outdoor fabric choices include,
i) Polyester: Polyester is medium weight and easy to sew for your DIY projects. They are UV treated and can withstand up to 500 hours of light. They are good for pillow covers and indoor upholstery.
ii) Solution-dyed Acrylic/Solution-dyed Olefin: Solution-dyed acrylic and olefin fabrics are more durable and can withstand up to 2000 hours of direct sunlight and still retain their color. This is called the color-fastness.
While most fabric yarns have color on the outside but are white on the inside, olefin fabrics are solution dyed. In solution dyed fabrics, the pigment and polymer are blended together at a very high speed such that the fibers have color all the way through.
iii) PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) mesh: They have a plastic-like basketweave appearance. Water passes through them quickly and they dry very easily. PVC mesh fabric is used for poolside and patio chairs and awnings.
iv) Marine Vinyl: Marine vinyl is an excellent choice for heavy duty upholstery such as covers for car seats, boat interior upholstery.
Features of Olefin Outdoor Fabric
i) Durable: It can withstand heavy use from outdoor and family activities due to its high abrasion resistance of up to 50,000 rubs.
ii) UV & Sun resistant: Olefin fabric is a solution-dyed fabric and can retain its color even with long periods of exposure to bright sunlight. It is fade-resistant.
iii) Waterproof: Olefin outdoor fabric is perfect for outdoor upholstery especially pool furniture and upholstery because of its strong water resistance ability. Water cannot penetrate olefin fabric easily.
iv) Environmental friendly: Olefin fabric can be easily recycled and emits very low volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
How to care for your Olefin Outdoor Fabric
Olefin is a strong outdoor fabric and can withstand heavy wear and tear. This doesn’t mean it is indestructible. This is how to care for your olefin outdoor fabric.
i) Use mesh bottoms or vented zippers so that your olefin fabric can breathe
ii) Store it upright. When kept outdoors, store your olefin upholstery upright. It should be kept indoors if it has not been used for a long time.
iii) Hose them down when they are dirty. Olefin is waterproof and dries easily in the open air.
iv) Olefin fabric is heat sensitive and will spoil if exposed to heat. Do not put your olefin fabric in the dryer or use an iron on it
v) Once in a while, scrub your olefin fabric with mild dish soap and water
vi) To remove tough stains on your olefin fabric, clean with warm water and a half-cup of bleach