The global marketplace furnishes homeowners with the resources to achieve this goal but the products they choose must comply with standards for safety and quality. In this article, we review some of the ways in which SGS services help make the home a better and safer place to live.
Today’s homeowner can access a wealth of yarns, fabrics, home furnishings and decorative items, from every corner of the world. Bedspreads, curtains, rugs, carpets, cushion covers, bath linen, kitchen accessories and table clothes can be manufactured in one country and delivered to markets around the globe. The defining factor of these international markets is the need for products to adhere to the target market’s demands for quality and safety.
The Living Room
An important segment of the home. It is normally the first room a guest gets to see and so must reflect the homeowner’s idea of style and comfort.
Carpets and Rugs
Used as floor coverings, carpets and rugs can be manufactured from a variety of materials, both natural and synthetic, reflecting the needs of the owner through a combination of different sizes, designs, colors and quality of yarn. Important factors to consider when buying a carpet are firmness, thickness, color fastness to crocking, and the durability of the carpet backing. Many countries also have flammability requirements.
Synthetic materials are very popular choices for carpets and rugs because they provide durability, while the introduction of stain resistance treatment means carpets are now easier to clean. For premier carpeting, manufacturers will often use wool because it is also durable and stain-resistant. When the pile is cut, at the tip of the carpet loop, it gives a denser and softer feel to the carpet.
Curtains can be both decorative and utilitarian, changing the way a room looks whilst providing shade and privacy. Manufacturers use embroidery, applique and even painting to differentiate their products; adorning them with sequins, laces, tassels, print patterns and frills. When choosing curtains, it is important to consider the drape co-efficient, color fastness to light, and resistance to flames.
Cushions and Sofa Covers
Decorative and mood-enhancing, cushions and sofa covers are made from a number of different fabrics. If they are made purely for decoration, then the performance requirements will differ from those that need to be more durable, e.g. sofa covers. Decorations can include applique work and printing, and may be made from a range of materials, including leather and fur. Consumers will also need to consider fillings, which can be either natural or synthetic.
SGS Solutions for Living Room Furnishings
SGS provides a wide range of services for carpet, rug, cushion and sofa cover manufacturers. These includes testing services to examine of rub fastness, density, durability, color fastness, light damage resistance, post-clean shrinkage and claims of light-blocking capabilities for curtains. We also provide services to check content labels and care labels are accurate and comply with market regulations.
Perhaps the most personal space in the home, the bedroom must be relaxing and rejuvenating.
Bedspreads, Coverlets & Comforters
These bring color, texture and pattern into the bedroom. They can be single colored or highly pattered. Bedspreads and comforters usually have filling between the top and bottom layers of fabric. Coverlets are decorative and are usual lightweight and non-reversible.
The capabilities of these product rely upon the fabrics and fillings used in their construction. For example, if the filling is down, then it will provide insulation but will also need a down-proof outer layer. The combination of fabrics and fillings used in its manufacture will determine the care requirements of the product.
Duvets are a soft flat bag filled with down, feathers, wool, silk or a synthetic alternative and typically protected with a removable and washable cover. They are available in different weights, depending on the season or climate in which they will be used. These are often a replacement for bedspreads and top sheets.
Duvet covers must be easily washable, quick and easy to remove and replace, and not too bulky to store. Almost all fabrics, both natural and synthetic, can be used for duvet covers.
The quality of a bedsheet is reliant upon the type of fiber, thread count, weave and fabric finish. Several materials are used for bedsheets, including cotton, silk, polyester, and blended fibers. Cotton is more absorbent and has a better feel, so it is popular in warmer seasons, and heat-retaining fibers are better in winter. In general, higher thread count means a finer and softer material, with lower thread counts being coarser.
Bedsheets are often subjected the severe laundry conditions, so they must be strong and capable of resisting color loss.
SGS Solutions for Bedroom Furnishings
Consumers expect their bedroom furnishings to be functional and conform to the claims made for the product. SGS offers a variety of services to help check thread quality, strength, performance behavior, and color fastness. In addition, we can test against claims for comfort, cooling or heating properties, and thread count.
Bathrooms and Kitchens
Bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths should be soft and absorbent, and they must retain their softness after washing. Consumers need to consider absorbency, created by maximizing the surface area of the towel and using an absorbent fabric, e.g. cotton. Increasing the number of loops will increase the absorbent surface area, with terry being the most absorbent of the weaves for towels, especially when looped on both sides.
These include aprons, pot holders, oven gloves, tablecloths, and tea towels. The consumer requirements for these items mostly conform to those for other home furnishing textiles, the exceptions are oven gloves and mitts.
Oven gloves are a common kitchen aid used to protect the wearer against high temperatures. They must be constructed from materials able to withstand high temperatures – ovens can reach 240ºC at their highest settings. They must also afford the wearer sufficient hand comfort and proper protection.
From April 21, 2018, all domestic oven gloves and mitts will become categorized as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This follows the approval of the European Union’s new PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425. After this date, manufacturers and retailers must ensure their products are CE Marked.
SGS Solutions for the Bathroom and Kitchen
SGS provides a range of services to check absorbency levels and pile retention in towels. In addition, they can test all forms of PPE, including oven gloves and mitts. They have a wide range of experience with working on products that must be heat resistant, and flammability.
Consumers need to be aware of the safety requirements relating to home textiles. SGS offers a range of services to help manufacturers and suppliers of home textiles conform to the requirements for safety and quality, including labeling and care instructions. Stakeholders should also be aware that some countries retain specialized standards for home textiles that are designed for use by small children.
For further information, contact your local SGS team:
Head Laboratories, Softlines
Consumer & Retails
SGS India Pvt Ltd.