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What is Microfiber Furniture?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Microfiber is a fabric made from extremely tiny fibers, usually made up of materials like polyester. It can have a soft sueded look, or be similar to leather in appearance, and it has increasingly become popular as an upholstery fabric. Microfiber furniture would be any furniture that employs microfiber, and it’s easy to find significant selection of upholstered furniture that features this fabric.

Examples of furniture that might utilize microfiber are numerous. People can find an abundance of sofas that are upholstered with this fabric in different forms. Because they are made in polyester, in most cases, they hold colors well and are available in numerous colors and prints. There are also chairs, ottomans, and padded bed rests that feature microfiber and are considered highly desirable.

Microfiber furniture doesn’t appeal to all people. Processes used to make the fabric are not sustainable and do pollute the environment. Those with environmental concerns may be much more prone to selecting furniture upholstered with natural fabrics that don’t create environmental debt. This may or may not be a concern for the average consumer, and the popularity of microfiber furniture would suggest that it is not of huge concern to most shoppers.

There are some claims that are generally made about microfiber furniture. It is considered fairly easy to clean, and it may resist wear. There are different types of microfiber though. Some can be cleaned with solvents and others with water, and some can be cleaned with both. Using the wrong cleaner on microfiber furniture may wreck it. It is very important to find out which cleaners are appropriate to the particular fabric used to make a piece of furniture, and many people recommend purchasing additional anti-staining protection on any microfiber furniture.

What is often meant by “the easy to clean” description is that microfiber doesn’t quickly absorb spilled liquids. Pressing a towel onto a spilled substance directly after the spill occurs may help absorb the fluid without it soaking into the fabric. This may be an improvement over other fabrics that will instantly absorb spills, as many natural fibers do.

It is very clear, though, that some microfiber fabrics are easier to clean than others, and claims about things like wear may not apply to all microfiber furniture. People may be more or less satisfied with upholstered microfiber furniture, depending on its quality and ability to resist stains. For some people feel and look are more important than cleaning concerns, and here many customers who choose upholstered items that use microfiber are greatly satisfied.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By highlighter — On Jan 13, 2011

@ Submariner- Most microfiber suede furniture is bad for the environment as well as indoor air quality, but the key word is most. Microfiber does undergo less treatment for stain resistance than the normal cloth furniture, but it is made of synthetic fibers, which come from petroleum. This is where the furniture acquires the bulk of its environmental debt (besides the wood used in the frame).

It can be sustainable though if it uses recycled and reclaimed polymers. In fact, a microfiber sofa made with soy based foams, reclaimed polymers for the synthetic fibers, reclaimed wood for the frame, and made locally is one of the most environmentally friendly sofas you will find next to a used sofa. I would pay more attention to the manufacturing processes associated with the furniture than what the actual materials are.

By submariner — On Jan 10, 2011

Why is microfiber fabric furniture so inherently bad for the environment? I don't understand what the problem is. They are not usually sprayed with stain guard chemicals like fabric upholstered furniture is, and they don't undergo the toxic tanning and curing process that leather does. I would think that microfiber furniture off gases much less than most other furniture, but maybe I am mistaken. I like the easy care characteristics of microfiber, but I always thought that was attributed to how small the weave is, not the type of material. Confusing.

By GlassAxe — On Jan 08, 2011

I just bought a living room sofa during a holiday sale, and I am glad that I did not buy a microfiber sofa. I try to be environmentally conscious so I wanted to buy a piece of furniture that was as low impact on the environment and my family as possible. While I didn't go out and purchase the greenest sofa on the market, I did my part, and bought a flat packed modular sofa that could be expanded as my space and family grows. I also chose a fabric covering that allows for easy cleaning that is made from minimally processed materials. The company that I bought my sofa from also uses some of the most sustainable building practices in the industry. They minimize the distance that things move on the supply chain. Furniture requires a massive amount of energy and resources so I wanted to buy something that would last, something that would be environmentally friendly, and something that uses minimally processed, sustainably produced, and reclaimed materials.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor,...
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