Teflon vs. Other Finishes

24.02.2012 § Leave a comment

Teflon is a lot more affordable, and it does a basic stain repellent job. The other “healthcare” stain resistant finishes are costly products. Their strengths are permanence and stronger performance for both soil and oil resistance. Brentano chooses Teflon for residential applications while other finishes are used for healthcare purposes.

Timeline

Introduced in the 1950’s, Teflon is one of the oldest stain resistant finishes in the interior textile industry. When Crypton launched in 1993, it introduced stain resistant chemicals that permanently adhered to the fibers. Both finishes used fluorocarbons. (It should be noted that in 2007 Crypton Green reduced its use of both formaldehyde and fluorocarbons.) In 1999, Nano-Tex patented its finish, but it did not launch its interior textile finishing program until around 2005. Nano-Tex takes advantage of nanoscale molecules to perform the stain resistant function and therefore claims to use fewer harmful chemicals. GreenShield uses silica as the stain resistant material and claims to be the greenest of all.

Method of Application

The most common way of applying the Teflon finish is by spraying it onto the surface of the fabric, a method which contributes to the fact that it is a less permanent finish. Teflon can also be applied in a submerged form like Crypton and Nano-Tex; both apply their finishes by submerging the fabric into their chemical baths with padders. A Nano-Tex finish also requires higher temperatures, and it’s therefore a more difficult technique to apply to fibers with low melting points such as polyester.

Illustration of Padders

Health

While fluorocarbons are considered harmful by scientists, many are also concerned that nanotechnology “is still in its infancy with major questions outstanding about how these microscopic scale material may interact with and affect our bodies” (Tom Lent, Healthy Building Network).

I collected some of my information from the following sites, both good resources:

The Future of Fabric: Health Care  – Julie Silas, Jean Hansen, and Tom Lent

The Future of Fabrics: Healthy and Sustainable  – Healthcare Design Magazine

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