Is Your Fabric 100% Silicone?

Sileather® silicone fabrics are made with our own proprietary 100% silicone recipe and construction. Our fabrics have outstanding scratch resistance, UV resistance, chemical resistance, easy to clean properties, hydrolysis resistance, sagging resistance, and flame resistance, among other notable properties. It is through our own silicone makeup that we can achieve all of our characteristics inherently and without the use of any added chemicals. 

Silicone fabrics are emerging in the market, especially as the marketplace is looking for new alternatives to vinyl and polyurethane based fabrics. However, no two silicone fabrics are the same. There are several ways that you can see if your fabric is actually 100% silicone with no finish (Sileather®) or if it is 100% silicone with a finish, or a blend with vinyl or polyurethane.

1. Scratch Test

The easiest way to see if your silicone fabric has a finish on it or not is to scratch it with a key or your fingernail. Simply scratch the silicone surface to see if a white residue comes up or if a scratch mark remains. Sileather® silicone fabrics are scratch resistant and will not leave a white residue. The white residue is generally due from the finish. 

The most common reason for a finish on a fabric is a functional reason or performance reason. For silicone, the reason for using a finish is generally for performance. It will add to the durability (double rub count), the haptic touch, and/or to alter the aesthetic makeup. However, finishes can oftentimes be damaged by high strength cleaners, scratching (such as keys in your pocket, pants buttons, or metal components on purses and bags). Sileather uses its own proprietary silicone recipe and does not need to use a finish to enhance its performance, making all of our qualities inherently built into the fabric.

2. Burn Test

Silicone, when it is of high quality, will burn cleanly and not give off any smells and will have a light white smoke. If you burn your silicone fabric and there is a black or dark colored smoke, then your fabric is either:

  • Not 100% silicone

  • A poor quality silicone

  • Blended with another material - the most common today is silicone with polyurethane. These fabrics use silicone for some of the weatherproof properties, but are generally do not perform as well as the silicone layer is usually very thin.

  • Defective or impure silicone

3. Smell Test

Sileather silicone fabrics have ultra low VOCs and its silicone will never give off odors. High grade silicones will not have odors either. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are commonly given off from vinyl and polyurethane fabrics. Examples of common locations are inside of cars (new car smell), RVs and trailers, boat interior furniture, etc. VOCs can be given off from any vinyl or polyurethane fabrics, or may be due to traditional coated fabric production methods that use solvents. These are most noticeable in small, enclosed areas.

A simple test is to put a piece of your silicone fabric inside of a plastic container for 24 hours. After 24 hours, open the bag and test if there is a smell from the inside. If there is a smell, that means that solvents were most likely used in the production process, or it is not a 100% silicone coating without a finish. Sileather uses an advanced solvent free production process, so our fabrics are not only odorless, but are much healthier and safer than vinyl and polyurethane fabrics.

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