Fabrics From Around The World.
February 24, 2017
Posted by D. A. Burns
Over the years, the manufacture of hand-made rugs and upholstered furniture has moved around the globe in search of talent, materials and economic efficiencies. Our cleaning methods and procedures have responded to changing textile manufacturing techniques. Unfortunately, our experience has also revealed occasional short-cuts in the textile manufacturing process that often become an unpleasant surprise for the consumer and professional cleaning service provider. These “surprises” include unstable dyes, inferior backing treatments and the “bleeding” of hidden manufacturer’s markings.
Recently, Asia has been a popular source of textile furnishings in response to consumer design and price considerations. American furniture manufacturers have chosen to either buy fabric from Asia or have much of their product line built there. This can have a direct impact on you, as a consumer, and on us, as your favorite upholstery cleaning company. We’ve discovered that while much of this furniture looks great, there may have been compromises in the selection of manufacturing methods and materials. We’re experiencing well-woven Asian fabrics that have been compromised with unstable dyes and manufacturing markings that bleed to the face of the fabric – becoming permanent discolorations – in the event of a spill or cleaning.
We pre-test upholstery fabric in an attempt to determine these limitations prior to cleaning, but often the problem only becomes apparent as the fabric dries. Unfortunately, the bottom line for the furniture owner is that fabrics with these “hidden” conditions cannot be safely or effectively cleaned without encountering such manufacturing defects.
We are also finding that price is not always a factor in avoiding these hidden conditions. Some more expensive furniture pieces share the same quality control issues as their budget cousins. Not to be alarmists, be assured that the majority of Asian sourced furniture will provide you with a long service life and be perfectly cleanable. When purchasing new upholstered furniture, we recommend that you consult with an experienced designer or retailer and understand their return and customer service policies.
Imported Furniture Scandal
Some of our customers have been disappointed to find their American or Scandinavian branded furniture was actually made in China. This article shows how the Chinese feel about it.
Small American furniture manufacturer
Traditional smaller volume workshop with computerized fabric cutter. Time-lapse video runs about three minutes.
Large American manufacturer
While many of the larger American manufacturers have moved manufacturing to the Far East, this manufacturer shows how automation and lean manufacturing techniques could bring large volume furniture making back to the USA. This video is an ad piece for the company – approximately nine minutes.
Making low-cost furniture
Video that shows what goes into “reduced price” furniture making. The finished product looks good, but what’s inside counts. Approximately three minutes.
“There is hardly anything in this world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and those people who consider price only, are this man’s lawful prey. It is unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot; it cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
… John Ruskin (1819 – 1900)
We can also clean your outdoor cushions, patio umbrellas and area carpets before putting them away for the rainy season!