Vinyl is the most popular substitute for leather. Many refer to it as “faux leather” or “fake leather.” Essentially, it’s a kind of plastic resin made from chlorine and ethylene.
The name vinyl is derived from the full name of the manufactured product, polyvinylchloride (PVC). Yep, it’s the same material that is used to make plumbing items, children’s toys and doll clothing.Vinyl is widely used because it is considered safe and is fairly inexpensive.
Many upholsterers use vinyl rather than leather on certain types of projects. Seating in waiting rooms or restaurants, aircraft and marine cabins and vehicles are more practical when made with vinyl rather than leather. Today, vinyl has come into regular use to produce stylish residential furniture. The decision to use vinyl is generally due to some mix of durability, cost and ease of cleaning factors, as well as it’s availability in many colors, textures and patterns.
Do-it-yourselfers find that vinyl material is good for projects that require a low-cost, tough and moisture-resistant fabric. Also, unlike most other plastics, vinyl usually recycles well, which makes it a big plus for the environment over other synthetic materials.
With vinyl upholstery increasing as a household and commercial furnishings option proper care has become a frequently voiced concern. Fortunately, given its durability and often fade-resistant characteristics, upholstery of this type will last for many years if maintained properly. If you have vinyl upholstery in your home, business or vehicle, here are a few tips on how to keep it looking great year after year.
The primary strategy for keeping vinyl upholstery in shape is to address surface spills as soon as possible. Most often wiping up soda, coffee, other liquids and foods soon after the spill takes place will require nothing more than a damp cloth. However, it will often take more drastic cleaning efforts to completely remove the residue of liquid or food spills if they’re allowed to dry on the upholstery.
A second easy to follow chore is to vacuum or dust the upholstery as part of a regular cleaning routine. This simple action can make a big difference in how your vinyl holds up over time. Dust collects in tiny folds on upholstered furniture and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria that may produce unpleasant odors. Vacuuming out the folds eliminates the odor and also helps your vinyl upholstery to look new for a longer period of time.
Beware of using products loaded with harsh chemicals when it is necessary to use a cleaning agent on your vinyl upholstery – especially on dried-in spots.A highly caustic product can dull the sheen of the vinyl, as well as cause premature fading. Instead, apply a solution of warm water and mild dish washing detergent using a clean sponge that has been wrung dry of the soapy liquid. Be sure to use a clean towel to dry the area after cleaning as too much water can cause the vinyl to dry and crack over time.
No matter how careful you are, there’s the probability that your vinyl upholstery will incur a small tear, gash or cigarette burn. Keep a small vinyl repair kit handy so you can take care of such an issue at once. Generally, these kits include tools to match color and to imprint a grain that will match up with the original. Kits of this type work equally well for vinyl furniture as well as car upholstery.