Summertime and the living is easy…

But not so easy for your home textiles and furniture!

It’s generally a good thing when the sun is out… but for your home it can be quite challenging. Home textiles, wood flooring, wood or leather furniture can’t stand the ultra violet (UV) spectrum of light… whether natural or artificial light.

The sun has a bleaching effect. Therefore, it is usually a good thing to dry natural white linen in the sun to maintain a nice and bright white and avoid that they turn greyish. This works only if you remove them directly after they dried in the sun. If you leave them too long they might start turning yellow. 

Other than this the drying of colored or synthetic fabrics in the sun isn’t recommended since the light will lead to fading (once an item has lost its color, the color cannot be restored). When added to a strong heat (for example behind a window) the light will also lead to the break-up of some fibers, as an example, silk.Other than fabrics, don’t forget all other natural surfaces you might have in your house, such as  leather and wood, that are exposed to strong sunlight..

Here some help and recommendations on what you can do:

When choosing a new fabric

When you choose a fabric and you’re concerned about its lightfastness, there is an international measuring scale called the “blue wool scale”. The scale rating gives you an indication of its resistance to fading, 1 means very poor and 8 excellent lightfastness*. You should expect a rating of at least 5 for an outdoor fabric. You can request this rating when buying a fabric in a professional shop.  If the fabric is already mentioned as an outdoor fabric this should be an indicator of good a lightfastness rating.

* The lightfastness is the chemical stability of the pigment or dye under long exposure to light. 

At home

  • try to avoid direct sunlight on your natural textiles or natural items in a room
  • don’t leave fabric (cushions, table cloth outside in the full sun). Unless they are outdoor fabrics. 
  • line your curtains. The light brakes the fiber of the silk therefore you should always line your drapes. 
  • if possible move your furniture out of the direct sunlight. Even if your upholstery fabric is very resistant to abrasion, it doesn’t mean that they have a strong lightfastness
  • close the outside shutters during the day if you’re living the house 
  • dim the light with internal sheers. There are sheers with synthetic fibers that have the power to reflect a good amount of light. They can seem expensive but it definitely is worth the price if you want to keep your household textiles in good shape. One brand that comes to mind is Creation Baumann. They are well known in Europe and you will find this in reputable decoration and fabric shops.
  • Internal roller shades are great and offer a good protection screen that are relatively discreet. When you don’t need them you can roll them back..fits both classic and modern interiors. 

Conclusion

Just as with human skin, the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum is the most damaging. So the same way you would take care of your skin you should take care of your home textiles and can expect to enjoy them in your home for years to come! 

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