Stain resistance refers to a textiles’ ability to withstand discolouration caused by contact with liquids, including oil and grease, and/or solid surfaces. Commonly a liquid stain occurs as a result of a fibre being Hydrophilic?, where the liquid gets absorbed by the fibre, and on drying the fibre becomes unintentionally discoloured i.e. stained. With any fabric structure pores are created during the interlacing of the yarns; yarns also have inter-fibre spaces. These porous cavities have the ability to trap potential stains as a result of Capillary Forces are responsible to drive the liquid in capillary spaces. (Click here for more information)">capillary wicking, depending upon the viscosity of the contact liquid. In addition, fine particles from contact with solid materials can adhere to the fibre and fabric surfaces, or become embedded into the yarn and/or fabric interstices, which also result in stains. Stain resistance is directly related to oleophobic and hydrophobic functionalities.
The basic objective of stain resistance is therefore to prevent liquid absorption and fine particles adherence to both fibre and fabric surfaces. This objective can be by utilising the inherent properties of certain fibres or by applying stain resists (i.e. certain additives, coatings or finishes) to fabric surfaces.
Depending on the type of stain resistance treatment used, contact and penetration of the fabric or fibre can be completely inhibited, ensuring the prevention of contact staining.