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Event Recap: Swatch Watch with MWI Fibershield - Part 1

Joanne Lee

Working with MWI Fibershield to protect all the fabrics offered by Dowel Furniture gives our clients peace of mind knowing that their furniture is properly protected and should any accidents or spills occur, you will have a much higher chance of getting stains out professionally and if you live in the Greater Boston area, MWI Fibershield themselves will come to service your product should you need the assistance. 

We had our partner at MWI Fibershield, Wayne Southworth come to host a seminar at our pop-up showroom on fabric protection and what that really means. What results you can expect from protecting your fabric and what are your options when accidents happen. 

All fabric, according to Wayne, does not become invincible once it is protected. A lot of people think that if they get their fabric protected, it is instantly impervious to all damage, however, that is not accurate as it all depends on each person's situation. Wayne goes into more detail in the video clip below. Specifically, discussing what are things you should watch out for. He gives some good examples on what could happen to higher risk fabric such as velvet or chenille, where even if they are protected, in order to get a stain out, they must be wet cleaned, which then affects the pile or feel of the fabric once it has been exposed to liquids. There is no fabric protector on earth that will prevent pile change once a fabric is wet. Although, there are certain fabrics that will hold up better after getting professionally wet cleaned. Some clients know that there will be an alteration of the material so they request, instead of a spot treatment, to have the entire piece wet cleaned so as to keep the fabric change uniform throughout.

In the seminar, Wayne offers designers some advice on how to approach fabric protection and choosing fabrics with their clients. He says its all about knowing your client, in that initial meeting, assessing their home, what they currently have, how they live, if they have pets or kids. Making them aware of the limitations and upkeep of fabric that they are interested in and setting expectations properly. Wayne's company, MWI Fibershield, has been servicing the New England area for the past 28 years and are a great teammate to have in choosing fabrics because you can get whatever fabrics you want to pitch to your client and get them tested by MWI Fibershield even before showing them to your client. And at that point in time, once you show your client what the options are, you all can make an educated decision on what level of care they are willing to deal with in terms of fabric maintenance because eventually, spills or stains will happen since most people aren't living in museums.

He then goes into cleaning codes for fabrics. Most of which say Cleaning Code S, meaning dry solvent cleaning only. He mentions that fabric manufacturers label their fabrics this way so as not to be held liable for stains that don't come off but most of the time, stains and spills will not come out with dry solvent cleaning and the only way to get it out is through professional wet cleaning. He also mentions in this next video clip, that even wet cleaning a protected fabric doesn't always work especially with highly acidic materials such as pet feces or vomit, etc. Because of the acidic nature of the liquid, it just reacts with the natural fibers and will be less likely to come out. 

Check out more of the seminar in Part 2 of Swatch watch - click this link for Part 2.