Best Fabric for Couches With Dogs or Cats (How To Choose)

Pets are family, but one of the things that take away from their favored status is their claws. Cat and to some extent dog claws are very rough on your expensive and prized furniture. But if you get the right fabric on your couch, then you stand a fighting chance to see your furniture survive the onslaught.

The best fabric to have on your couches when you have pets are the ones with the tightest weaves. Those with the tightest weaves are denim, canvas, and microfiber materials. Leather is the ultimate fabric to use if you can afford it.

To learn more about the right and wrong fabric for your couch, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need so you can make the best choice for your interior decor. Just avoid loose weave fabrics.

What Fabric are Couches Made Of?

There are many different fabrics used to make couches. You have your choice between natural fibers and synthetic ones. But you need to be aware of some of the laws or regulations governing which fabrics can be used.

Different states have different rules for flammability and toxic chemical ingredients. If you are making your own couch, you need to be aware of those rules so you do not get into trouble if something happens later on.

Then when you are choosing the different fabrics you think would work best in your home, cotton is durable and stain-resistant, silk is almost a no-no as it is too fragile. Then rayon can mimic silk so you still get the look and feel of that fabric without losing durability, etc.

On top of all that you can get fabric blends that create material that uses the best characteristics found in both fabric worlds.

How to Choose Fabric for Couch


There are several factors you need to look for when selecting the right fabric for your home when you have pets. The first factor is the weave style. A loose weave is an accident waiting to happen as those fibers will easily catch on a pets’ claws.

Also, these open-weave fabrics, like tweed and corduroy, trap hair and dust making it almost impossible to keep clean. The tighter the weave the better. Next is durability. Cotton is almost as good as the synthetic fibers when it comes to this factor. But polyester, rayon, and other synthetics are better in this category.

Another factor to look for would be stain-resistant and if the material is easy to clean. Again, cotton is almost as good as the synthetics here but comes in a close second. A fourth factor would be wear and tear. A tightly woven fiber would be best here. It handles the rough traffic and stays in shape a lot better than a loose weave fiber.

Of course, as we have already mentioned, you need to choose a fabric that will meet local laws on flammability, toxic ingredients, and other major items state and federal governments do not want in your home.

Best Fabric for Couches When You Have Dogs

The ultimate fabric to have on your couch when you own a dog is leather. It is recognized as the best fabric when you own pets and let them sleep on the couch. With qualities like durability and easy to clean you have a real winner if you can afford the price of this material.

Then the leather is said to get better with age. The more it is used the better it looks and you can get leather in a variety of colors so you can match your home’s look without too much trouble.

Next up and a good second would be denim or microfiber. Both look good and are very durable although not as much as leather is. Then these fabrics can come in solid and darker colors that hide pet hair and dirt better than other fabrics can.

If you are looking at leather, make sure to stay away from suede. It is listed as one of the worst fabrics to use when you have a dog or even a cat. Suede is very difficult to keep clean and if you do not use slipcovers you are just wasting your money.

Best Couch Fabric for Dogs Nails

In this category, you will be looking at leather again and you already know what that material brings to your home. If you go with the tightest weave possible, then you are looking at canvas, denim, and microfibers.

These are the fabrics that do not catch your dog’s claws and lets them still find that comfortable spot on your sofa when you are not home. One tip to selecting fabrics, and if it goes with your interior color scheme, is to match the couch fabric’s color to your pet’s coloring.

The reason for that is to hide your dogs falling or shedding fur. The color protects the couch’s look and the tight weaver protects against unraveling by your dog’s nails. It is just too easy for a dog’s nails to catch a loose thread and pull it up and starting your couch’s decline.

Couch Fabric for Dogs that Shed


Here just about any fabric would suffice but you would want one that does not trap the shedding fur in its weave. Loose weaves tend to do that and make your couch look dirty all the time.

If you like cleaning couches, then go with a loose weave. But if you don’t you will want to use a natural fiber material except for silk. This material is too fragile and will easily be damaged by your pet.

Ideally, you should go with a tight weave, a canvas, or denim fabric if you want more natural fibers on your sofa. Or you can go with the synthetic microfibers as they come in dark colors that will hide your pet's fur.

Plus, you want one that is easy to clean. A fabric that is difficult to get rid of the pet hair takes too much of your valuable time and you may still not have it looking good after you are done.

Best Fabric for Couches With Cats

The fabrics that are best for dogs with claws are also the ones that are best when you own a cat. The cat takes over the place and makes it hers. He or she will do the same with your couch. That is why you need to protect your expensive furniture and pick the right fabric.

Cotton is good if it comes in a tight weave. This material is almost as durable as synthetic fabrics and is not as expensive as leather. Tight weave fabrics like canvas and denim are better than cotton and should last a lot longer.

Also, those fabrics, along with microfiber ones, make sure your cat’s claws have little to grab onto when your pet jumps or walks on the couch. Of course, if leather is the ultimate for your dog then it is also the ultimate fabric for your cat.

Besides protecting your furniture, you will be upgrading the look of your home and adding a touch of elegance and class to it.

What is the Most Durable Fabric for Couches?


Without beating around the bush, we will repeat what we have said previously. Leather is the best fabric and this assessment seems to come with all the experts’ approval. This material likes heavy use and it seems to age well when used often. Don’t worry your pets will use it a lot because it is a very soft and comfortable place to land.

Leather is a very durable fabric and it cleans up easily. It has no loose fibers that trap hair or dirt and you can get it in a darker color to hide any hair that may have landed on the sofa.

Canvas would be a runner up in this category as it is also tough, can be easy to clean as well as stain-resistant. It handles heavy traffic well and is very durable. The only drawback is that canvas looks, well, like canvas and that look may not be appealing in your living room.

You can try polyester, cotton, or any fabric that comes with a tight weave as those fabrics are more durable than loosely woven ones.

Is Polyester a Good Fabric for Couches?

Yes, it is, if it is woven right and meets all the standards couch materials have to face. These synthetic polyester materials are made to be tough and ready to handle heavy wear and tear. They are also made to resist stains making them very easy to keep clean.

Some polyester type fabrics like rayon can be made to be as soft as silk without the fragile nature. That means you get comfort as well as durability when you turn to polyester to cover your sofas.

Then, polyester materials are made in a variety of different colors so you can have a very easy time matching the other pieces of furniture in your room. You can mix your colors or match them up. Interior decorating is more fun when you have lots of brilliant colors to work with.

Again, we should remind you that since polyester fabrics are made from petroleum products, check to make sure they meet state and federal regulations concerning fire hazards.

Is Velvet a Good Fabric for a Couch?


No, it is not. Velvet is a lot like silk in this case. It is fragile and can be damaged fairly easily. This fabric belongs more in a formal living room or a home without pets or kids. That also includes a home that does not throw a lot of parties or crazy things.

Then velvet seems to be a pet hair magnet. You would be spending a lot of money on professional cleaners coming to your home and getting rid of the hair without damaging the material. Velvet is called a high maintenance fabric so be prepared to do a lot of work keeping it looking nice if you let your pets get close to it.

Velvet is a lot like silk. Even though it is a soft, good looking fabric, it was not made for kids or pets. Both materials can cost you a lot of money so recovering your sofa every so often rings up a hefty bill after a while.

When you have pets it is best to stay away from velvet.

Is Tweed a Good Fabric for a Couch?

Well, it is a good fabric for a couch if you do not have pets or kids that like to rough house inside your home. But if you have pets then look for another fabric to cover your couch.

The reasons for this are the opposite of the reasons for avoiding velvet in a home with pets. The tweed material is a loose weave that can easily be snagged by your pets’ claws.

Then if the tweed material has raised ridges, that is a toy temptation cats do not resist. It seems that cats love to play with those raised ridges and keeps them occupied for a long time. If their claws catch a loose thread, say goodbye to your nice looking couch.

Also, tweed being a loose weave will trap hair and dirt inside those vacant areas of the weave. This makes getting the fabric nice and clean next to impossible. The couch will look dirty even if you spent hours cleaning it before your mother in law arrives.

Is Chenille a Good Fabric for a Couch?


That is a good question. On one hand, it is made from a variety of fabrics including cotton, polyester, rayon wool, and silk. So the durability and stain resistance of the first 3 materials would make this fabric good for a couch. The 4th material would only be good in a formal living room or sitting room.

The problem comes in with the overall construction of the fabric. It is said to be made with tufted threads that poke out in every direction. That is good if you want the light to reflect off the fibers but not good if you have pets with claws.

Cleaning chenille has to be done by vacuuming as water and other cleaning products tend to flatten those tufted designs. Also, if someone spills juice, tea, or wine on the fabric, then you may need to hire a professional to remove those stains.

Overall, it is a great fabric for a couch if your children are not small, and your pets are not allowed in the room.

Why Does My Fabric Sofa Make me Itch?

There are several good reasons why you may get that itchy feeling when you sit on your couch for any length of time. The first one is you may be allergic to the fibers used to create the fabric.

Or, if the material is synthetic, you may be allergic to the chemicals sprayed on the material to keep it stain-resistant or retards fires. Also, you could just react to the chemicals because your skin is very sensitive.

Another reason why your fabric sofa makes you itchy is that a lot of dust mites and other little creatures have made your couch their new home. Their fecal material, a wet fabric, or other contaminants will produce that itchy feeling.

And we know you are starting to feel itchy right now as you read this section. Even the best cleaners miss those little creatures that love high humid spots and wet sofas.

Best Fabric for Sofa for Other Pets


You can put birds in with the dog and cat category. They have very sharp claws and can really make a mess of a loose weave fabric. Even leather may have a tough time holding its own against bird claws.

If your pets do not have claws then you want a tough fabric that can endure heavy traffic. This option can either be loose or tight weave materials. It isn’t the pet as it is the claws and the fur that ruin the fabric.

Pigs do not have sharp claws and they do not play with raised ridges like cats do so you can get away with tweed and other non-silk or velvet materials. No matter the pet, it is best to keep velvet and silk for those rooms your pets cannot enter.

Some Final Words

Pets are great but sometimes they push your patience to the limits. That is why to protect your couch investment and still love your cat or dog, go with a tight weave fabric or leather.

Those are the best options.

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