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DuPont broadens appeal as easy-care treatment

The DuPont brand name that was ubiquitous in the 1970s and '80s as a stain repellent treatment for home furnishings fabrics and a non-stick surface for housewares, is coming back as a broader-based, easy-care treatment for fabrics from apparel to home.

This week Louisville, Springs, Pillowtex, Hollander, and Perfect Fit are debuting basic bedding lines using the new easy-care finishes, said Teresa Kleinhans, global business manager, textile effects, DuPont Textiles & Interiors (DTI). In addition, American Textile is featuring mattress coverings.

About 18 months ago, DuPont began a research program to explore the opportunities for two of its major products, Teflon and Stainmaster, Kleinhans related. "We saw there was an enormous opportunity in easy-care and stain-repellence and stain-release areas. We developed the improved chemistry to expand the ranges of Teflon, part of our alliance partnership with Ciba [Specialty Chemicals]."

Now DTI can offer repellency and improved stain resistance. "But we can add to the package for more applications that are specific to products," she explained.

Following this week's launch of the basic bedding lines, "we see bedding and table linens and upholstery/ decorative fabrics as potential for the first quarter of next year," she added.

"We're looking at sheets for new potential and development, a renewed focus for developing new Teflon formulas. And we're going to look at the whole window coverings market to identify easy-care benefits."

The new Teflon is being marketed under the umbrella "Make Every Day Easy," and the initial thrust is in the apparel markets. There will be strong in-store support as well as specific store support, including hang tags.

Mill partners, whether domestic or international, will be certified in order to apply the Teflon product to fabrics. "In this way we can control the quality and minimize contraband activity," she remarked.

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