How to choose the right textiles for health and care units

Textiles used in health and care facilities require vigorous and frequent cleaning to ensure that infection is not transmitted. To ensure the textile lasts as long as possible, it is important to think about which quality to choose and how to clean it.

Here you will find an overview of the most common types of textile used in health and care facilities. See the Helland textile collection's here.


Wool has insulating and moisture absorbing qualities which help users stay warm and dry. This is important for patients who have difficulty regulating their own body temperature and body fluids. Wool contains lanolin and other natural oils that give it antibacterial properties. Although wool is often considered hypoallergenic, some people may have allergic reactions to wool fibers or lanolin. Wool can be difficult to use in health and care facilities as it cannot withstand machine wash at high temperatures. Washing at the necessary 60 degrees, to ensure sufficient hygiene, causes the wool to shrink and become felted and affects appearance and function.

• Antistatic and does not attract dirt like other textiles.
• Water resistant, liquid absorbs slowly.
• Clean with water if possible or dry clean.


Polyester is a synthetic fiber known for its durability, strength, ease of maintenance and is suitable for use in health and care facilities.

• Resistant to wear and tear, and retains its shape and appearance even after frequent use.
• The material is naturally resistant to stains and moisture, which is an advantage in environments where spills and accidents regularly occur.
• Ideal for furniture and textiles in areas that are in constant use, such as common and patient rooms.
• Withstands washing at higher temperatures, up to 60°, which is important for maintaining good hygiene.

Flame retardant polyester

Flame retardant polyester (the most known is Trevira CS) is polyester which is chemically treated to be flame retardant. It has many advantages and makes it particularly suitable for use in care units. The practical, safety and hygienic advantages of both polyester and flame retardant polyester make them an ideal choice for furniture and textiles in care units.

• Provides increased safety by reducing the risk of fire spreading, which is critical around vulnerable residents.
• Easy to maintain, and quality and appearance remain over time even after many washes.
• Can be cleaned thoroughly and withstands up to 60°during washing, which is necessary to maintain good hygiene.

Artificial leather

Artificial leather, also known as synthetic leather, is a popular material on health and care facilities due to its aesthetic appeal and practicality. Artificial leather balances functionality, economy and aesthetics. Its durability, ease of maintenance, and hygienic properties make it a practical choice for health and care facilities.

• Artificial leather is durable and resistant to scratches and wear, which is practical where equipment is frequently used around the furniture.
• The surface can be easily wiped with a cloth.
• Does not require the same strict maintenance routines as real leather.
• Artificial leather is less expensive than real leather and offers similar aesthetic quality and comfort.
• Withstands cleaning with disinfectants and is a good alternative for those who are allergic to real leather or other natural materials.


Leather is a popular material in many contexts and is known for its luxurious feel and aesthetic quality. In health and care facilities, it is important to be aware of the limitations of the material. Leather gives a luxurious and comfortable feeling, but maintenance requirements, sensitivity to liquids and bacteria, and higher purchase and maintenance costs can pose challenges for care units. Alternatively, artificial leather and specialized textiles can be used.

• Requires more extensive maintenance than othermaterials. It is not as resistant to stains and requires special products forcleaning and maintenance. In care units where frequent cleaning is required,this can be a disadvantage.

• Is more porous than artificial leather and can absorb liquids and bacteria more easily. This can be a challenge in care environments where cleanliness is crucial.
• Although furniture leather is durable, it can show wear more quickly than synthetic alternatives, especially in environments with frequent cleaning.
• More expensive to purchase and maintain compared to alternatives such as artificial leather or synthetic fabrics.
• May contain substances that cause allergies.

Read more about the maintenance of textiles here