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How to Select Easy-to-clean Upholstered Furniture for Health Facilities

You want your healthcare facility to deliver the best treatment in a safe, appealing environment for patients. If you're designing your facility from scratch or just giving the space a little sprucing up, you have to consider more than looks, however. You want furniture that's easy to clean, durable and safe for patients, too.

When choosing upholstered furniture for your healthcare facility, consider the type of room being furnished, patient needs within the space, and the most suitable materials to withstand healthcare-quality cleaning. The experts at ServiceMaster Clean have broken down the basics so you can make the best upholstery choices for your unique facility.

Best Upholstery Fabrics for Healthcare Facilities

Upholstered chairs, couches and other accent furnishings are typically found in waiting rooms, lobbies and reception areas of healthcare facilities. These materials tend to be more complicated to clean and disinfect than hard surfaces, so they're best placed in less critical environments that only require the use of general cleaning agents or low-level disinfectants.

There are many considerations when it comes to choosing the best materials for your space. Keep in mind that natural fibers tend to be less durable than today's advanced synthetic fibers, especially when it comes to frequent use of cleaning agents. According to Health Facilities Management magazine, the four most common synthetic materials found in healthcare facilities are:

  • Acrylic
  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Olefin, also known as Polypropylene

This industry-specific magazine, a publication of the American Hospital Association (AHA), also recommends you consider the following factors when selecting upholstered furniture for your health facility:

Ease of Cleaning

Especially in healthcare settings, upholstered furniture should be easy to clean and made of materials that can withstand frequent contact with the chemical cleaning agents used to cut down on the spread of germs and bacteria. Pieces upholstered in any of the four synthetic materials listed above are a safe choice for healthcare facilities.


To avoid early replacement, you want to pick tough textiles that can stand up to extensive wear and tear in addition to frequent washings with alkaline cleaning agents. The four synthetic materials listed above also have high marks in durability.

Color and Color Fastness

Color fastness describes a material's ability to maintain color over time. Faded furniture looks dingy, even when it's clean, so it's best to avoid fabrics that will fade easily. Instead, opt for acrylic materials which maintain their color integrity. Pick colors and patterns that compliment your other décor.

Soil Susceptibility

Depending on the nature and weave of the fibers, some materials are more likely to show soiling than others. Again, the synthetic materials listed above are less vulnerable to showing spots and stains so your furniture will appear clean and fresh for many seasons to come.


Ask yourself if the items and materials you choose mesh well with the architecture and design of your space. A cohesive design makes a better impression on patients by showing that you care about providing a visually pleasing experience.


Ask yourself if your upholstered chairs and couches are actually comfortable. Do you like sitting in them? If not, then it doesn't matter if you meet all of the other criteria above – your patients will likely be uncomfortable, too. Personally test a few options to make sure you pick comfortable pieces.

Keeping these factors in mind when you're shopping for healthcare facility furnishings will help you choose pieces that not only look pleasing to the eye, but also suit the space's specific needs. If you partner with a professional healthcare janitorial service to clean your facility, make sure the staff has experience and training in proper cleaning procedures for medical environments.

With over 60 years of experience in the industry, the teams of professionals at ServiceMaster Clean are thoroughly trained to properly clean upholstered materials, prolong the life of your furniture, and help promote a clean, safe environment for patients. Give us a call or visit us online today to see if our customizable healthcare cleaning services are the right choice for your facility.

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