What is silicone leather?

Sileather™ silicone leather is a coated fabric, similar to PVC (vinyls) and polyurethane (PU) coated fabrics. However, that's where the similarities end and the differences begin. Silicone leather is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional coated fabrics, with a long list of benefits and advantages over these other types of fabrics. Sileather™ is produced with their very own silicone raw material that has been developed and refined for many years. 

What exactly is silicone and what is the advantage?

Silicone is in the middle of being an organic material and an inorganic material, and is categorized as an elemental polymer material. Its molecular main chain is mainly composed of a -Si-O-inorganic basic unit, with its side chain connected through the silicon atoms and other organic groups. Therefore, silicone can have both the stability of an inorganic material with the elasticity and plasticity of organic materials.

The most prominent performance of silicone materials is the high health-safety advantage, as the material is widely used for baby pacifiers. Another performance characteristic is its extreme ability to endure a wide range of weather conditions. Silicone can be used as an outdoor window sealant for up to 30 years. Many skyscrapers around the world rely on silicone sealants for superior temperature resistance and strength. Performance is maintained within the -40° ~ 200° Centigrade temperature range in long-term use. Silicone also excels in performance as electrical insulation, stain resistance, flame resistance, etc. 

Silicone basic characteristics: stain resistance, weather resistance, waterproof, durable, safe and nontoxic, chemical resistance, high and low temperature resistance, eco-friendly and sustainable.

Sileather™ uses all of these benefits and qualities of silicone in its silicone fabrics, so you know you are using a fabric that is safe for babies and elders, freezing temperatures to desert climates, and commercial settings to the inside of your home.

Our Silicone Leather is made with a proprietary 100% silicone recipe and construction. These fabrics have outstanding scratch resistance, UV resistance, chemical resistance, easy to clean properties, hydrolysis resistance, sagging resistance, and flame resistance, among other notable properties. It is through the unique silicone makeup that all of these characteristics are achieved inherently and without the use of any added chemicals. 

Traditionally, vinyl fabrics were the standard for coated fabrics. The price can be incredibly low, and these fabrics can be made quickly. However, over time, they release off gasses into the air, become hard and brittle, and are made of plastic/oil. Polyurethane fabrics addressed some of these issues, but PU does not handle well in extreme weather conditions, humid/wet conditions, and has difficulty against many healthcare cleaners. PU can be strengthened, but this requires the use of extra treatments, chemicals, and other substances. Sileather uses less water and no solvents in production, has no off gasses, requires no flame retardants on the surface, handles extreme weather conditions, and can withstand hospital cleaners.

Organic Silicone Leather is a new kind of environmental protection leather, using the power of silicone. Silicone is combined with substrates such as ultra-fine fibers and non-woven fabrics, processed and prepared, and is then suitable for a variety of industrial applications. Our Silicone Leather is made of organic silicone coated and bonded to various substrates utilizing a solvent free technology.

Differences between our Silicone Leather, and PU, PVC and genuine leather:

  • Real leather: It can be burnt without the release harmful gases, but a large number of aniline dyes, chromium salts and other chemical reagents are used in the process of genuine leather processing. During the combustion process, there will be harmful irritant gases such as nitrogen release compounds (nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide), sulfur dioxide and so on, Real leather is easy to crack while Sileather will always remain soft and supple.
  • PU faux leather: Burning PU fabrics will produce hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, ammonia, nitrogen compounds (nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, etc.) as well as other harmful and irritating plastic gases.
  • PVC faux leather: The combustion and production processes will produce dioxins and hydrogen chloride. Dioxins and hydrogen chloride are highly toxic substances that can cause cancer and other conditions and produce a pungent plastic smell (main odor comes from solvent, finishing agent, fatliquoring agent, plasticizer and mildew prevention agent, etc.).
  • Silicone leather: No harmful gas release, clean burning process and no odors.

Does Silicone Leather meet any business standards?

Our Silicone Leather is ISO 9001 compliant. Everything is manufactured, created, and tested by our manufacturer to ensure the highest quality control and accountability of the production process. They also verify additional testing through certified third party testing facilities.

How is Silicone Leather different from PVC and PU?

Silicone Leather is a unique fabric and its properties are different compared to traditional polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fabrics. Our Silicone Leather does not use plasticizers, which are often found in PVC products. Silicone has many advantages over PU and PVC as it does not break down under UV light, deteriorate in cold temperatures, has no odors, and maintains consistency and shape over time.

How can I tell if I have 100% silicone fabric?

Silicone fabrics are emerging in the market, especially as the marketplace is looking for new alternatives to vinyl and polyurethane based fabrics. However, no two silicone fabrics are the same. There are several ways that you can see if your fabric is actually 100% silicone with no finish (like ours) or if it is 100% silicone with a finish, or a blend with vinyl or polyurethane.

1. Scratch Test
The easiest way to see if your silicone fabric has a finish on it or not is to scratch it with a key or your fingernail. Simply scratch the silicone surface to see if a white residue comes up or if a scratch mark remains. Sileather™ is scratch resistant and will not leave a white residue. The white residue is generally due from the finish. 
The most common reason for a finish on a fabric is usually performance-motivated. It will add to the durability (double rub count), the haptic touch, and/or to alter the aesthetic makeup. However, finishes can oftentimes be damaged by high strength cleaners, scratching (such as keys in your pocket, pants buttons, or metal components on purses and bags).
2. Burn Test
Silicone, when it is of high quality, will burn cleanly and not give off any smells and will have a light white smoke. If you burn your silicone fabric and there is a black or dark colored smoke, then your fabric is either:
  • Not 100% silicone
  • A poor quality silicone
  • Blended with another material - the most common today is silicone with polyurethane. These fabrics use silicone for some of the weatherproof properties, but are generally do not perform as well as the silicone layer is usually very thin.
  • Defective or impure silicone
3. Smell Test
Our Silicone Leather has ultra low VOCs and will never give off strong odors. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are commonly given off from vinyl and polyurethane fabrics. Examples of common locations are inside of cars (new car smell), RVs and trailers, boat interior furniture, etc. VOCs can be given off from any vinyl or polyurethane fabrics, or may be due to traditional coated fabric production methods that use solvents. These are most noticeable in small, enclosed areas.
A simple test is to put a piece of your silicone fabric inside of a plastic container for 24 hours. After 24 hours, open the bag and test if there is a strong smell from the inside. If there is, that means that solvents were most likely used in the production process, or it is not a 100% silicone coating without a finish. Our Silicone Leather uses an advanced solvent-free production process, so it is not only almost odorless, but are much healthier and safer than vinyl and polyurethane fabrics.

Can Silicone Leather be welded or cut?

Due to the nature of silicone, the silicone coated surface (top) can not be RF welded or high frequency heat pressed, but the backings can be glued/welded. We recommend that our fabric be sewn together in the majority of cases. Fabric Funhouse Silicone Leather can be laser cut as desired.

How is Silicone Leather an environmentally friendly product?

The creation of our Silicone Leather incorporates a solvent-free production process, and contains no PVC or PU elements. No chemicals such as plasticizers, phthalates, heavy metals, BPA, or formaldehyde are used or added. In addition, Silicone Leather is inherently resistant to many outside forces such as flame, UV light, salt water, and mildew, so any chemicals that can hurt our environment are do not need to be added for durability's sake. Our Silicone Leather contains ultra-low VOC emissions, creates no indoor air pollution, and is in compliance with RoHS, REACH, Cal Prop 65, and CAL 01350.

Our Silicone Leather is animal friendly! No animals or animal elements are used in our fabrics, making it a great option for our vegan makers.

What chemicals should be kept away from Silicone Leather?

It is recommended that hydrocarbon solvents (gasoline, kerosene, fingernail polish, etc.), hair dye, benzene solvents (mineral spirits, varnish, rubber cement, etc.), and cyclosiloxane oligomers be kept away from your beautiful Silicone Leather.

How do I clean my Silicone Leather?

Thanks to the inherent advantages of Silicone Leather, cleaning and maintenance is very easy! There is no need for waxing or cleaning solutions, nor additional sun-blocking agents. For common stains in daily life, water or water with detergent is sufficient to remove it all. Like many fabrics, we recommend that all spills be cleaned up as soon as possible, Here we also recommend some helpful tips for typical stains:

  1. Loose dirt, dust, and footprints - Clean with a soft sponge or cloth using water
  2. Stubborn stains
  • Ketchup, Grape Juice, Orange Juice, Red Wine, Coffee, Mustard - Simply clean with a soft sponge or cloth using water
  • Sunscreen, Mascara, Soy Sauce, Ballpoint Pen Ink, Permanent Marker - Mix a little soap and warm water, then clean using a soft sponge or cloth.
  • Lipstick, Iodine, Denim Dye - Clean with a soft sponge or cloth using 95% ethyl alcohol or 90% Isopropyl alcohol

Disinfecting and Chemical Resistance - Sileather™ is inherently resistant to strong and even harsh chemicals including disinfectants that are used in high traffic areas or healthcare facilities (such as Clorox wipes, Lysol, Sani-Cloth, or Cavi-Wipes).

Stain Resistance

  • Ink - CFFA-141 - Class 5
  • Permanent Marker - CFFA-141 - Class 5
  • Coffee - CFFA-141 - Class 5
  • Mustard/Fruit Juice - CFFA-141 - Class 5
  • Lipstick - CFFA-141 - Class 5
  • Denim - CFFA-141 - Class 5
  • Blood/Urine/Betadine - CFFA-141 - Class 5
  • The results of the above tests are based on pure water, detergent, aqueous solution, bleach, isopropyl alcohol and other clean carrier conclusions

How do I sew with my Silicone Leather?

Machine: a domestic sewing machine capable of handling thicker fabrics

Presser Foot: A Walking Foot is HIGHLY recommended 

Needle: 90/14 up to 110/18 Microtex, or Leather needle is highly recommended, but please do test a scrap piece before starting your project!

Stitch Length: start at a minimum of 4.5-6, depending on machine