Re: Microfiber upholstery: Is it any good?
Does it pass the kid/dog/cat test?
Does it pass the cleanablitly test?
Does it pass the wear and tear test?
Fill me in!
I have not seen enough of this to know thorough answers. However, my answers will be better than any you've received thus far.
First, some background: I am a certified Master Textile Cleaner, specializing in carpets, rugs, and upholstery.
Microfiber, as I know it, is a special polyester fiber which is very fine denier (diameter), and extruded such that there's fine "slits" running the length of the fiber.
You've heard of the microfiber towels & cloths? They are super-absorbant. However, polyester itself is almost non-absorbant!
The fine denier and the slits account for the fiber's apparent absorbancy. The microfiber uses capillary action to hold dirt and liquids. Think of this as holding two pieces of glass together flat. Then dip one end of the "sandwich" into a liquid. That liquid will travel upward between the slides of glass.
Likewise, microfiber absorbs liquids simlarly.
So, the trick to cleaning microfiber is to release the dirt from the slits in the fiber, as well as from between the fibers themselves, and the foundation of the fabric itself. As you can see, this can prove difficult.
Polyester fiber is fairly stain-resistant, and water-repellant, so theorhetically, it should clean up easily. What makes it difficult is the physics of removing dirt from such small fibers (which happen to have a whole lot of surface area).
Keep in mind, too, that polyester is easily stained by oily/greasy spills such as buttered popcorn, salad oil, hair oils, lotions, etc.
Many microfiber fabrics are made to look like suede. The worst part about cleaning these is that if it takes some physical aggression to remove the dirt or stains, the fiber will distort easily, and you'll leave a mark from the scrubbing or overworking of the fabric.
On the upside, microfiber is very soft and comfortable. I've never sat on microfiber in shorts on a hot day, but you might want to try that before you buy--synthetic fabrics will reflect body heat more than cotton or wool.
A regular polyester fabric will also feel "sweatier" than a cotton one. I suspect the microfiber polyester won't feel as sweaty, as regular, but moreso than cotton.
As with anything, you should clean up spills promptly, vacuum at least weekly, and have professional cleaning in at least 6-12 months intervals to keep your fabric a) clean and sanitary, and b) looking its best and lasting longest.
I do not know microfiber's durability.