Acetate is a manmade manufactured fiber. It actually starts from cotton or tree pulp cellulose, but gets chemically engineered into a synthetic fibre. The fabric we get from acetate is one of the best fabrics of the modern age. Acetate first appeared in Europe. It was mainly a varnish for the wings of an airplane. It is the second oldest manufactured fiber and dates back to the 1920’s. Initially, acetate was an experimental type of fibre.
Just like rayon, acetate is also a fiber that is cellulose-based. Acetate as a fibre underwent several modifications in the dyeing process. This was because the chemical structure was such that exposure to fumes and even pollutants present in the air led to discoloration of acetate fabric. Just like rayon, acetate is also a fabric that is most commonly used as a substitute for silk. Acetate fabric is weaker when compared to rayon or silk, and so, it is perfect for making clothes that will not be worn very often.
Commercial use of acetate first began in America in 1924. However, for mass use, it only started once the dyeing process was successful. Chemists needed to figure out ways to easily dye acetate fabric that would not discolour and stay for longer periods.
Ever since the problems of dyeing and discolouration found a solution, upholsterers keep using acetate for different kinds of upholstery. The fabric itself is light and very easy to use. This is why acetate has been and even today is a popular choice of fabric for upholstery.
How is Acetate Upholstery Made?
Acetate fabric is a really common fabric for upholstery. The lightness, the ease of use, and also the comfort it provides are the reasons why this fabric is a popular option. Other than fabrics like wool, cotton, or even linen, acetate is also a great choice if you’re looking into upholstered furnishings.
The way that acetate gets manufactured is quite simple. The first step is deconstructing the cotton or wood pulp into cellulose. For this, certain acids and chemicals get used, such as acetic acid, sulfuric acid, acetone, and also acetic anhydride.
A lot of chemicals and water go into making acetate fibers. When the pulp gets treated with the chemicals, it produces a cellulosic solution. The solution then gets extruded, which in turn generates and produces filaments which then undergoes the spinning process to make the acetate fibers.
Wet spinning is generally the method used to spin acetate fibers. It is a very old form of spinning and involves spinning by dissolving polymers like acetate in a solvent. Once the polymer gets dissolved and purified, the result is long filaments. These filaments get spun into threads. Acetate is usually weak when it is wet, and moreover, it is heat sensitive. This is why acetate sometimes gets blended or mixed with materials like wool, silk, or even cotton to make it stronger.
Despite having a reputation for being very weak and easily prone to discolouration, acetate fabric still remains a great choice for upholstery in certain settings. This is because acetate as a fabric has many advantages and benefits. If you're considering ordering a new sofa, chairs, seats, or even drapes and beddings, you should definitely consider acetate. Keeping your options open and using acetate upholstery is surely going to surprise you in a good way.
Another great benefit of acetate upholstery, such as drapes or curtains, is that it looks shiny, light, airy, and has a light glow. It makes a room look more modern, classic, and neat. Drapes will hang really well, and the fabric does not pill as well. Moreover, acetate comes in a variety of color and design options. Your acetate upholstery will not be boring or lackluster.
When it comes to washing and cleaning acetate upholstery, you're going to have to use a professional upholstery cleaning company. This is because acetate upholstery often does not react well to stains and spillages, which can often cause permanent damage.
It needs a low moisture cleaning method done by professionals who know the correct levels of heat, moisture, and agitation to use in order to get the best possible results.
Acetate upholstery is quite common and can be found in a variety of different places. It can be used for chairs, lounges, sofas, couches, and even pillow cases. You may typically see this type of upholstery in hotels and clubs because of its lux appearance.
It's best to be used in a formal area that doesn't get used much, due to its nature to not handle moisture or heat very well. This is not an ideal material for heavily used areas that receive a lot of exposure to the elements.
This type of upholstery can look great in formal sitting rooms and hotel lobbies. We do not recommend this material for the main sofa in your living room. Having said that, acetate upholstered furnishings do have their place and look amazing in most settings.