Upholstery fabric used in the contract seating market in mass transit, medical, and hospitality applications can breed harmful bacteria with widespread capability. Since the pandemic has swept the world, cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces have become more frequent and thorough, and rightfully so.
Quaternary ammonium chloride compounds, often referred to as “quats” or QACs, have been widely used for decades as the active ingredient in disinfectants. QACs are exceptionally effective in eliminating germs by absorbing into the cell walls of bacteria, damaging the membrane, and killing the bacteria. One of its pitfalls, however, is damaging the lacquer as well as the printed pattern on the vinyl fabric. After the lacquer is compromised, QACs will damage the substrate. With more frequent exposure and concentrated disinfectant formulas, vinyl upholstery is forced to withstand conditions for which it was not intended.
When developing new OEM lacquer chemistries for flexible vinyl upholstery fabric, it is important to know the experimental coating’s response to extreme exposure to quats. APV employs various industry standard methods for testing coating performance on upholstery fabrics, including CFFA-Heathcare 201 (Chemical Fabrics and Film Association Inc.) and BIFMA HCF 8.1-2017 Health Care Furniture Design Guidelines for Cleanability. There are also modified ways for testing cleanability and chemical resistance with more severe conditions that have evolved since COVID-19. This was due to new disinfectant types and enhanced cleaning protocol for hospitality and healthcare industries.
Once passing BIFMA and CFFA standards, APV takes quats to the hot seat. The most severe modified experiment APV uses involves fifteen consecutive days of testing in a hot oven.