30 days ago

Increasing the lifespan of your textiles

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Hamilton


As well as focusing on the aesthetic and functional needs of interiors, it is important to understand that all fabrics have different qualities and constructions which can be affected by the environments they are installed in. In our next topic for our blog series – An Educational Yarn - we look at these common issues and how we can increase the lifespan of textiles in our interior applications.

Best choice: Polyester, acrylic, cotton and blends
Caution: Silk, linen, viscose in lightweight constructions.

Fabric stability is particularly critical for curtains and blinds and while a degree of tolerance is essential because all fibres expand and contract as a result of atmospheric changes, some fibres are more affected than others.

Generally fabrics alter in length when they absorb or release moisture. Fibres that release a lot of moisture will obviously ‘move’ more. Most natural fibres absorb moisture readily, which is why they are used for towels etc. Synthetic or man-made fibres have very poor absorption which can make them uncomfortable to wear, but in furnishings they ‘move’ less. However, other factors must also be taken into account such as location, for example the proximity to the sea.

As sea air is heavy with salt, being anhydrous (it absorbs water), when this adheres and settles amongst the fibres, this will naturally attract moisture and this will cause additional weight.


Though this applies mainly to upholstery fabrics, pilling and abrasion damage can also occur in drapery if there is constant rubbing against walls and frames. Different weaves greatly affect a fabric’s performance, such as the density of weave and the number of floating fibres, but if woven for a situation where strength and abrasion resistance are the prime consideration, then cotton, linen, polyester, nylon, acrylic and wool can make strong and durable upholstery fabrics. Nylon particularly, when even 10% is blended with cotton or linen, produces a far more abrasion resistant fabric.
While the above are guidelines, understanding the properties of fibres will help in discerning their suitability in certain situations.

Many fabrics contain combinations of yarns in order to achieve the best performance and effect.

Abrasion ratings are part of assessing upholstery fabrics, but understanding ratings of tensile seam slippage and pilling is also critical. Quality suppliers with reputable brands and standards will supply only ‘fit for purpose’ products.


Best choice: Polyester, acrylic
Caution: Cotton, wool, silk, viscose, linen
In humid conditions, bacteria, fungi (mildew) and sometimes moth larvae can create unsightly problems and in some cases totally destroy the fibres. Generally mildew thrives on natural and cellulose fibres e.g. cotton, silk, wool, linen and viscose.

While good air circulation in a room coupled with hanging curtains at least 10 cm from the glass helps, selecting fibres such as polyester and acrylic, which are mildew resistant, is a better option. However, even this may not completely eliminate the problem.

While mildew will not grow on these fibres, it will grow on dust or dirt which may become trapped between the fibres. Regular vacuuming and washing or dry cleaning will help prevent this but in extreme conditions, this is no guarantee. High levels of humidity are the largest contributor to drapery movement.

TIPS: In curtaining, unless the fabric is a sun filter or sheer, it should always be lined. An allowance must be given for a certain amount of movement as a result of atmospheric conditions.

Considering all the different fibre characteristics, the blending of different fibres into yarns and the combining of different yarns into fabrics can overcome many of the disadvantages of specific fibres.


Best choice: Acrylic and polyesters blends
Caution: Silks, wools

While Southern Hemisphere conditions can be so severe that virtually no fabric producer worldwide will guarantee their products at the window, with modern technology, beautiful fabrics are being created which will perform well with long-term satisfaction, even in harsh conditions. Sunlight degradation is one of the prime considerations of curtaining and man-made fibres perform well in resisting damaging rays. The fibre most resilient to sunlight damage is acrylic, followed very closely by polyester. If fabrics made from these fibres do experience colour change, the problem will probably be with the dye or cleaning process, not the fibre.

Of the natural fibres, cotton and linen have quite good sun resistance and again, any colour change here is usually the result of dye or cleaning. However, it is recommended that for Australasian conditions, these fabrics should be protected with a quality lining.

Silk is admired for its beauty and luxury, however it is sensitive to UV damage and affected by even reflected light. The addition of coated linings coupled with bumf will help protect the fabric, although the exposed ‘leading edge’ of curtains will likely still deteriorate. Where possible, it will increase the life of silk curtains if they can be stacked beyond the window.

TIPS: If your client insists on using delicate fabrics make them fully aware of the ramifications of their choice by recording any ‘industry performance’ notations in your quotes. This can save a lot of issues later on.

Leading edges of curtains (those facing the windows) are particularly vulnerable to sunlight degradation. To help minimise this effect, it is recommended that curtains be rotated periodically where possible, i.e. the left-hand curtain swapped into the right-hand position, annually. A quality sun filter is also important where sunlight is directly reflecting on the fabric behind the glass.

Rotate furniture cushions frequently to ensure sun degradation occurs evenly.

Using a synthetic ‘band’ of a contrast fabric down the leading edge will help to protect the curtains and can also be a dramatic design feature.

It is important to have a realistic understanding that all fabrics, regardless of dyestuffs used, will eventually fade/deteriorate under direct sunlight over time. James Dunlop Textiles utilise the best standard dyestuffs, and whilst no warranty can be made as to colour fastness because of our extreme UV conditions, they should perform sufficiently under normal conditions provided proper care is taken.


Fabrics manufactured from natural fibres that are not dyed may suffer from after bleaching, causing lightening or a deepening in colour when exposed to natural light. As this is a natural phenomenon, allowance must be made for this unpreventable colour change reaction. Some yarns, such as silk, are even susceptible to indirect UV rays and every precaution should be taken to protect the fabric by the use of a bumf or interlining as well as conventional lining. Even then, colour degradation may still occur over time.
A superior quality lining is always recommended for drapery applications. Depending on the situation, there are many different linings available e.g. coated linings for added insulation and protection, and three pass blackout linings where light control is a priority such as in children’s bedrooms.

Curtains should be hung at least 10 cm from the glass to enable air to circulate. This helps prevent mildew and reduces heat build-up that will also adversely affect fabrics. Regular cleaning of windows is also very beneficial as this removes mildew spores, which can accumulate and transfer onto curtains.

Depending on fibre content, there will always be some movement in curtain length (the longer the curtain, the greater the variation) due to temperature change and the absorption and release of atmospheric moisture from the yarn of the fabric. This is normal for heavy yarns such as cotton.

To maintain and preserve the lifespan of your furnishings, regular cleaning and maintenance should be carried out. Call Curtain Clean for all your needs on 0800 579 0501.

More messages from your neighbours
1 day ago

Available days


I am looking for a few more clients I have a steady good client base but still have a few more days available if you are looking for a cleaner :) Hamilton,Te Kowhia, NGA please feel free to contact me.

1 day ago

im over it

Paul from Pukete

in an article recently printed in the media
Māori economist Matt Roskruge says the Māori economy is critical to the country's economic recovery.
The Māori economy, a superstar of the Aotearoa economy, is activated to a fraction of its potential and central to our economic recovery. A vibrant Māori economy contributes to Māori wellbeing while also strengthening the Aotearoa economy. To build on these strengths, our recovery should look at capital deepening and technology adoption to get the most out of our resources and efforts. 

Closely related is enabling greater autonomy and governance over our economic affairs. It is remarkable given the consistent failure of the state to find solutions to economic hardship experienced by whānau that there is such resistance to shifting economic autonomy to Māori governance bodies.There are still major challenges to address."   

Minister of Justice Andrew Little supported claims by protesters that New Zealand’s justice system is racist: “When well over half of the men in our prisons are Maori, when nearly two-thirds of women in our prisons are Maori, that tells you there is something wrong with the system.” 

Sorry no there is a cultural disconnect between the elite and the grassroots in Maoridom 

Dr Muriel Newman states in a article entitled Dangerous Agendas 
""In 2019, ‘Maori’ offenders were responsible for 39 percent of homicides, almost 66 percent of robberies, 56 percent of burglaries, 55 percent of thefts, 48 percent of acts causing injury, 48 percent of property damage, and 46 percent of weapons offences, even though they represent only 16 percent of the population.

If protesters were rational in their demands to reduce the number of Maori in prison, instead of blaming institutional racism or the Police they would address the real cause of criminal offending, which was clearly outlined by US President Barack Obama in a Fathers’ Day speech in 2008:

“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honour how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.

“But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing — missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it. 

“You and I know how true this is in the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled — doubled — since we were children. We know the statistics —that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioural problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

It’s the same story here in New Zealand. The rise in the breakdown of the family – especially the Maori family - has been catastrophic. It is and always has been the root cause of social deprivation, violence, and crime. Reducing sole parenthood and intergenerational welfare dependency is at the heart of the solution."      

Institutional racism is a manufactured excuse for the the failure of indigenous groups  to be held accountable for their own inaction and apathy in resolving their issues within their own culture
Specific to New Zealand 
"consistent failure of the state to find solutions to economic hardship experienced by whānau"  stop playing the victim card "   
Any society that retains a 50 billion dollar asset base while their grassroots remain in poverty only need to look to themselves as their elite stifle and strangle their opportunism
Are we not judged as a nation and or a culture by the way we treat those less advantaged amongst us 
the irony is many claim a right to "Tino Rangatiratanga"  (self-determination) 
as usual i am open to your thoughts

2 days ago

How affordable is travel within NZ?

Lorna Thornber Reporter from Stuff Travel

Hi everyone, I'm Lorna, a Stuff travel reporter. We're doing a story on how affordable travel within NZ is. For those of you who have travelled within the country post-lockdown, we'd like to hear whether you've been able to find suitable flights, accommodation and activities within your budget. Do you think accommodation providers and tourism operators are doing enough to entice New Zealanders to explore their backyard? Please let us know in the comments below, your message may be used in our story.