Faux Leather: Redefining the Word Fake

Germs are the most common organisms in the world. They can (and do) live anywhere! The common countertop has thousands of little bacteria living on it. Before you grab your bleach and scrub gloves—most are harmless and are no problem for the human immune system to blast away. Unfortunately, one of the perks of being a parent is worrying about each and every one of those guys.  In fact, the majority of the average parent’s day is spent disinfecting, sanitizing, and then cleaning, and then just generally tidying up.

Each new surface is a battlefield. Two of the worst illness-causing strongholds are the carpet and the couch. A soda here, a plate of spaghetti there and you’ve got world war three III on your hands! Fortunately, regular carpet shampoos (cleaning) and getting an upholstery fabric that is less absorbent are two very easy first-line defenses. One great example of a less absorbent fabric is imitation leather (pleather)

Faux fabric (which actually means fake fabric) is quickly becoming the preferred fabric in households with young children. Used on couches, chairs, and even bedroom furniture, imitation leather is certainly in! Since the 1940’s, the United States has been producing fake leather, employing it in the manufacture of jackets, upholstery, shoes, automobile interiors, toys for children, and even airplane wings (not in fabric form), but just recently people have realized how awesome (and handy) it really is.

Remarkably, the category of faux leather is in fact not one fabric, but many. It’s comprised of several materials, products and processes which include well-known chemical compounds, such as PVC, as well as the latest and greatest of scientific inventions. Many different materials are used in the production of pleather, from matte vinyl to 100% polyester products—even some that are just ointments [that are] used on other fabrics to give them leather-like textures and appearances.

The first form of imitation leather was Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC for short), originally produced in the 1920’s by replacing the hydrogen atoms in vinyl groups with a chloride group. The result was PVC. The newly-industrialized world championed PVC for its durability and resilience, considering it a welcome substitute to the heavier materials of the day. PVC was a success. Alas, in spite of its many industrial uses, fake leather was simply not real enough.

Met with an unimpressed public, the DuPont Company buckled down and developed a porous form of imitation leather. These new micro-holes made faux leather a fabulous hit! Pleather was now a viable alternative to traditional leather. Today’s Polyurethane is more than an alternative, however. Faux leather offers durability with comfort. Pasta spills and grape juice catastrophes are now just a breeze to clean with an imitation leather upholstery, couch or chair! Additionally, pleather fades much slower than other fabrics, even in direct sunlight. Many families enjoy the features of faux leather in their living room, family rooms, and even bedrooms.

The faux leather armchair featured above has all the rustic charm without the dust farm. This style of imitation leather looks great on a hardwood floor with a wooden side table next to it, but it’s not limited to that. This chair would look wonderful in a cozy, carpeted family room, perhaps next to a fireplace.  It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine this piece in one’s bed room, a reading chair next to the window, with warm-colored curtains or even something striking like dark red walls.  Imitation leather is really quite versatile.

No matter your motif or décor, imitation leather can really fill a void you didn’t even know you had. It’s such a flexible and dependable fabric that it’s no wonder Americans have been enjoying for over 50 years. So head on down to your local store and see which faux fabrics fit your life style!

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