Worst Fabrics for Pet Owners

Tan and white cat with pink collar sitting on brown fabric couch

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

If you're one of the millions of people whose furry friends share the sofa or bed with them on a daily basis, then you're likely one of the millions to experience frustration with all the cleaning and vacuuming that has to be done. Claws can be really rough on most fabrics, especially if you have a cat that thinks the couch is a scratching post. They can be hard on your rugs as well, but there's ​only so much you can do about that. While you'll never be able to eradicate this completely, there are some pet-friendly fabrics that will make the job a bit easier. There are also some that will make it a nightmare. If you're going to allow the pets on the furniture you'll want to avoid using the following fabrics.

Chenille and Animal Claws

Chenille is durable and soft, both of which make it an appealing choice. It also has a very nubby pile (made up of tiny little loops), which is great for hiding dirt. Beware though, that same pile can be completely destroyed by animal claws (cat claws in particular). Once the loops are pulled (even just a little), they can't really be fixed.

Velvet and Pet Stains

There's something wonderfully luxurious about velvet, which is probably why the pets always want to curl up on it. It's easy enough to get the hair off of it by wiping with a lint brush but stains aren't so easy to get rid of. Velvet gets crushed very easily, so cleaning up any stains will likely cause permanent damage, as will pets roughhousing on it.

Fragility of Silk

It should go without saying that silk is not a very pet- or child-friendly fabric. It stains and rips, it's incredibly tough to clean, and it doesn't hold up well against any moisture. It's also expensive; there's no point in spending a lot of money on furniture your pets will easily ruin. It's beautiful though, so if you want to use it for a room where there are pets, stick with window treatments and not the furniture.

Tweed and Pet Hair

Tweed can hold up well to cleaning, but it's a nightmare for removing pet hair. The hairs get caught in the uneven surface and can be very difficult to remove. It also suffers from the same cat claw problem as chenille.

The Bottom Line

As a general rule, fabrics with a really tight weave are the best bets for pet-friendly upholstery. Claws are less likely to cause damage and the hair will be easier to remove than on a fabric with a looser weave. Textured weaves are also great for masking dirt and hair. If you want to allow the pets on the furniture, be sure to use pet-friendly fabrics to make your life easier. Save the others for places where they won't be damaged by your four-legged friends.