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How to Clean and Care for Upholstered Furniture

Tips on Cleaning, Care and Maintenance for Upholstered Furniture

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When you know how to clean and care for your upholstered furniture it will retain the look that made you fall in love with it in the first place. With proper cleaning, care, and maintenance, it is possible to have all your upholstery looking its best for a long time. It pays to be consistent, and it’s not hard to do.

Choose the Right Fabric

When you choose the right fabric for the right place you make your upholstery maintenance task easier. Always make sure that you choose fabric that is appropriate for your lifestyle and the upholstered furniture piece. For example, synthetic fibers are a better choice for upholstered furniture that sits in areas of heavy usage.

Protect Fabric

The best form of fabric protection is prompt attention to spills. A lot of work is done for you when the upholstery fabric undergoes the finishing process at the factory. It is usually treated with soil and/or water repellents and some form of mildew inhibitors may also be used. Additional fabric protectors may be applied to your upholstered furniture in the store or at home.

While this helps with maintenance and care by keeping spills from being absorbed into the upholstery fibers right away, it is not a substitute for prompt cleaning of a soiled piece. Don't let it give you a false sense of security. Always clean up any spills or stains in a timely manner, and follow manufacturers’ instructions for proper care methods.

Turn the Cushions

You can extend your upholstered furniture’s life by periodically turning over the loose cushions. This easy maintenance method allows for an even distribution of wear and tear and your cushions won’t develop indentations right away. Caring for cushions by fluffing them after you’ve cleaned also helps keep them in shape.

Change the cushions around from one part to the other in addition to turning them over. Some seats get more usage than others, so changing cushions around will ensure even usage.

Vacuum

Vacuum your upholstered furniture weekly for general cleaning and to remove surface soil. This also prevents dirt from becoming embedded into the fibers.

You can also use a brush to gently whisk the dirt away. Make sure to always use a soft bristled brush so that you don't snag the fabric.

Spot Clean

While regular care does a lot for your upholstered furniture's maintenance, accidents will happen. Blot any spills immediately with a clean folded towel: never rub, but blot gently. Sometimes this is enough to get rid of the stain completely, especially if the fabric has been pre-treated with a fabric protector.

Always test in an inconspicuous area before you use any product for spot cleaning, and check the manufacturer's instructions to see if you need a water based or solvent based cleaner. It is best to use a mild cleaning product. Apply with a soft brush in a circular motion to work into the fibers, then vacuum when dry.

Avoid Sunlight and Pollutants

Too much sun can damage your upholstery fabric, causing it to fade and even fray. Try to position it so that it doesn’t sit in the sun for extended periods of time. This is especially true for silks.

Airborne pollutants such as fumes from cooking or smoke can also harm your fabric. It isn’t always easy to avoid that from happening, however, proper ventilation can help. It can also help with odor control, as upholstered furniture can easily absorb odors.

Call a Professional

It is best to have a professional clean your upholstered furniture every couple of years or so. Experts recommend having this done on a regular basis and not wait for it to get visibly dirty. The dirtier a sofa or chair becomes, the harder it is to restore to its original glory.

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