Chances aren't bad that you've already encountered Crypton Super Fabrics once or twice -- you might not even have known it. The fabric is popular among companies like Marriot, Hilton, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney and McDonald's.

Photo Courtesy of Crypton, Inc.

These days, many discerning customers are paying a lot more attention to what goes into the products they buy. Sure, much of it's pretty basic -- no poisonous lead, no toxic VOCs -- but some of it goes a step further. Take fabric, for example. Fabric plays a huge role in our daily lives; for example, right now you're likely sitting on a piece of furniture composed of fabric, and hopefully, you're also wearing something made of fabric! But a big downfall of most fabric is how easily it's damaged. Stains, mildew and different sorts of bugs and bacteria can take a toll on everything from your couch to your curtains.

Until recently, people just had to put up with smelly pet beds, stained couches, soaking wet patio furniture and germy placemats. Now there's an answer to those little annoyances, and it's called Crypton Super Fabrics. The development of Crypton Super Fabrics began in 1993 by Michigan residents Craig and Randy Rubin. Fifteen years later they report more than 60 million yards of their sophisticated fabric have been installed worldwide -- even in swanky places like the White House and Buckingham Palace [source: Crypton].

Originally, Crypton Super Fabrics were especially popular in places like hospitals, hotels and restaurants, although residential investments are now growing. To find out whether you should jump on the bandwagon and deck your house out in Crypton Super Fabrics, let's take a better look at the what they claim in a dozen U.S. and global patents these wonder textiles can do.

  • Water resistant: First and foremost, Crypton Super Fabric acts as a moisture barrier, while still allowing ventilating air to pass through the fibers. The barrier is permanently integrated into each fiber strand, so you don't need to worry about it ever separating or failing to protect because of extended or heavy use or cleaning.
  • Stain resistant: Crypton fabrics resist stains mainly because they're a barrier surface. The impervious fabric keeps spills right on the surface where they usually just wipe away. In addition to this, stains (and microbes) are also fought by a special liquid formula that's applied during the production process. For more problematic spills, you can clean them thoroughly -- without worrying that soapy water residue will penetrate the fabric.
  • Microbe resistant: Crypton Super Fabrics can also help block the spread of harmful bacteria and molds. Part of this is accomplished while the fabric is processed. Crypton sells a special disinfectant to help decrease the chance of any nasty organisms sprouting in your sofa. But we'll get into this more in a minute.

So how does a fabric do all this? Read all about it on the next page.