Coated/resinated fabrics are at risk during the maintenance process, as this type of garments is often subjected to suffer a lot of damages. These new finishes, used not only to obtain a water-repellent fabric, but also to create particular stylistic effects (stylish features), are not able to guarantee the garment quality regarding its functional performance during the maintenance and while wearing it. For better understanding the defects origin, it is necessary to indicate which resin-coating systems are used.

There are six main technologies used:

1. by impregnation
The fabric is immersed in a solution containing resin and then dried.

2. by hot fusion
The fabric passes between two hot cylinders pressed together. The procedure requires first the insertion of resin chips, that are melting under the heat and pressure effect, distributing the resin over the fabric on one or both sides (see plastic-coated tablecloths).

3. by direct coating (spreading)

The fabric is moving forward and a knife fixed upstream is spreading the resin.

4. coating transfer
A special paper called “release paper” is previously coated and then resin-bonded to the fabric; the paper is then recovered.

5. the lamination process of a film to a fabric, or of a fabric to another fabric
The first fabric or the film is covered with a binder foil and then matched with a second fabric.

6. by coagulation “finished with polyurethane”
The coagulation technology: the polyurethanes dissolved in dimethylformamide (DMF) are now the protagonists of this process for obtaining coated products or microporous impregnated fabric structures with a feeling-touch, very similar to the leather or suede. The process is based on the impregnation and/or on the coating of a suitable textile support with a PU, and it is exploiting the DMF physical resemblance with the water. The solvent is replaced by the water, and the no longer soluble PU coagulates, resulting a microporous structure.

Defects for impregnation (cycle 1) and hot fusion (cycle 2) resin fabrics
One of the most frequent defects of the resin-coated fabrics, is the fading in the areas that are the most subjected to rubbing during the use, noticeable moreover after washing: thickened areas, the edges of the sleeves and the bottom hem, the pocket flaps, the elbow.












Pocket flap

Fading is caused by the friction displacement of the resin.

A fabric rubbing test, on the “Martindale c” device, (simulates the clothing rubbing) and produces a strong fading on the resincoated fabrics: the fabric marks and writes.

Normal zone







Faded zone

The companies are perfectly aware of the problems caused by wearing such fabrics, with evident fading in the most stressed areas, so they are taking precautions by placing detachable hanging labels, never read by the customer.

The presence of such labels should alert the laundry for a more detailed garment examination, before starting the washing process.

Sometimes the resin stiffens the fabric and decreases its mechanical resistance, the areas most at risk of breakage are the edges, as shown in the following photos. The edges are heavily abraded until they break.

Defects caused by externally or internally applied coating (cycles 3, 4 and 5)

These are applications that are simulating the genuine leather, but consisting of a textile support coated with a synthetic film, imitating the leather.

For checking the resin presence, it is enough to simply drop some water and check for the water repellency

Water absorbent








Inner coating detachment defects: apparent stains
The customer complains of light stains after the dry-cleaning. The outer fabric is coated inside with a white synthetic resin film. In the stained areas, the internal resin coating is missing, so that the light is reflecting differently, creating an apparent light stain optical effect.

Outer coating detached from its support,
forming wrinkles and corrugations







Outer coating detached from its support,
with layer rending







Outer coating peeling







Degradation of fake leather applications (edges/straps)

Lamination detachment
Usually there are applied some reinforcement fabrics (often thermoadhesive TNT) to the garments (on the front and neck area). After washing, the laminated fabrics can get separated in some areas, resulting wrinkles and corrugations.





If the garment is laminated with PVC resins, any solvent used in dry-cleaning will stiffen the garment. •

Ing. Vittorio Cianci
Direttore LART – Laboratorio Analisi e Ricerca Tessile

Detergo Magazine – Number 5, May 2022