As sustainability becomes more important in the home industry, one of the hurdles many furnishings and textiles companies have faced is offering performance properties without the addition of potentially harmful chemicals.
That dilemma inspired textile finishing company Green Theme Technologies to launch a new sustainable textile finish, Empel DSR. Empel is made without PFAS chemicals—man-made chemicals used in a variety of applications, including stain-resistant finishes on textiles, which have been identified as potentially dangerous to humans and the environment.
Empel DSR provides stain resistance by encapsulating each fiber inside a yarn with an ultra-fine protective polymer. This polymer barrier prevents stains from contacting the fibers and from adhering to fabrics. The stains are then more easily released in a normal cold-water laundry cycle.
“The goal was to safely protect fabrics from stains for easier cleaning at lower temperatures,” said Martin Flora, vice president at Green Theme Technologies. “Empel DSR also helps brands create lasting sustainable products by protecting the fabric from common deep penetrating stains that typically ruin the appearance of upholstered furniture and apparel.”
In testing the effectiveness of the finish, Green Theme Technologies testers applied common stains like wine, mustard, sunscreen and coffee, letting the stains set for 24 hours. The soiled samples were then washed in a home washing machine for one cycle in cold water with liquid detergent. The post laundry scores according to the AATCC 130 stain standard, found that their Empel DSR continued to release new stains even after 20 previous wash cycles.
Certified by Oeko Tex for general environmental safety and by Bureau Veritas as PFAS-free, Empel has numerous applications for everything from children’s clothing to outdoor furniture. The finish is currently being released through a select number of partner brands.