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  • Jess Harrell

The Truth About Stain-Resistant Fabrics: Are They Really Safe From Spills?

Otherwise known as that time, I purposefully dumped wine on fabric and wrote a blog about it. Join me on my journey, why don't you!

Stain-resistant fabrics are advertised as a great way to have nice things when you also have kids and pets. There are tons of options out there, but how well do they work? I decided to do a little experiment to see how magical these fabrics are for myself (and show you, of course). I ordered three different stain-resistant fabrics in various shades of white for dramatic effect. One is Crypton, one is Sunbrella, and the third is labeled as a stain-resistant performance fabric. Before I start dumping wine, let's look at what Crypton and Sunbrella are.


Crypton fabric is stain resistant, odor resistant, mold/mildew resistant, water-resistant and antibacterial. It's also vapor-permeable, which basically means breathable, so it's very comfortable. The fabric is immersed in a top-secret, water-based formula, and then heat is used to seal the formula into the fabric. The protection doesn't wear off. Ever. The treatment means that liquids bead on the surface, making it easy to clean. Compared to Sunbrella, Crypton has a large variety of fabric types, including linen, cotton, velvet, and even leather. It's typically used indoors, but they do have UV-resistant outdoor options.


Sunbrella is a stain, fade, mold/mildew, and water-resistant acrylic fabric. It also has UV protection when used to provide shade. You can clean Sunbrella with bleach, and it will never fade. Unlike Crypton, its performance does not last forever. You do have to refresh the water repellency about every three years. The fabric isn't super-soft and can have a scratchy feel which is why it's primarily used outdoors. But, they make an indoor line that is softer and not as stiff.

All right, let's get to testing these suckers out. Here they are in their beautiful, clean state. At the top, we have Crypton, followed by Sunbrella on the bottom left and the unknown brand on the bottom right.

These poor fabric samples have no idea what's about to happen to them.

I have to admit, it was painful for me to spill wine on them purposefully. Kinda felt like I was gonna get in trouble. But I put my big girl pants on and did it anyway. If you look closely, you can see that the wine sits right on top of each piece of fabric and doesn't soak in, just as expected.

Counterclockwise we have Crypton, Sunbrella, and unknown.

The cleaning instructions say to start by blotting. So blot I did. I used a dry cloth and gently blotted up the wine on each piece of fabric. Here's what they looked like after that step...

You can still clearly see where I poured the wine. The next cleaning step was to spray with soap and water and blot or lightly scrub. Here's how they looked after I sprayed and blotted.

Not bad, not bad. But, I can still see a faint stain on the Crypton fabric and the unknown brand. How about that Sunbrella, though?! It's the whitest of them all, and it's looking the best out of the three. I did another round of soap and water to see if I could get them looking even better. Here's how they looked after round 2.

I don't know if my eyes are playing tricks on me, but I feel like I can still see a slight stain on the 1st and 3rd. Is it just me? I let them dry for an hour to see how they looked after that.

I mean...that's pretty darn good. Here's the before and after for the full effect.

Well, would you look at that! Just look at it! I think it's safe to say that these fabrics live up to the hype. What do you think?


Hi there!

I'm Jess Harrell, interior designer and founder of The Styled Domicile. I've got a thing for eating ice-cream straight out of the pint (Netflix and Chill or The Tonight Dough, please), embarrassing my kids (trust me, they love it), and making homes and the people that live in them happier. I'm all about celebrating what makes you different and throwing ordinary out the window.

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