Most people know the feeling of
falling in love with a piece of furniture because of the
way its upholstery looks and feels. The smoothness, the
comfort and the appearance of the fabric all attract buyers
to a particular piece and inspire their long-term investment
in furniture. However, a smart investment in a piece of
furniture includes a commitment to keeping the upholstery
in good standing over time with regular maintenance. Proper
care and treatment are essential unless a buyer wants to
replace upholstery often, which few people can afford or
have the interest to do.
To make the most of upholstery and maintain its condition
over the years, weekly house cleaning routines should include
attention to the furniture and its fabric. When the vacuum
is used to clean the floors, be sure to vacuum the furniture,
too. Vacuuming the furniture removes the dirt from the surface,
which helps prevent it from becoming embedded in the upholstery
fibers, where it can cause long-term damage. Instead of
a vacuum, cleaning routines also can use a soft brush to
remove the dirt from the furniture. Remember to flip any
loose cushions and rotate them now and then, a motion that
helps prevent the daily wear and tear from focusing on one
side of the cushion and distributes the stress evenly on
both sides of the cushions. In addition, be sure to fluff
the cushions as part of the periodic cleaning routine to
keep them looking in good condition.
A regular cleaning routine is essential to the long-term
care of upholstery, but it also helps to try smart tips
like keeping the furniture from direct sunlight to prevent
fabric fading. Silk especially can suffer sun damage easily.
If direct sunlight cannot be avoided, use slipcovers to
provide an extra layer of protection. Also remember that
airborne pollutants like smoke and cooking fumes can damage
upholstery, so be careful to arrange for proper ventilation.
Prevention, in fact, is the most important way to care for
upholstery because it stops problems before they start.
Avoid stains and dirt by setting up rules, such as not allowing
anyone to eat on or near the couch, loveseats and chairs.
Keep shoes off the couch or, better yet, request that all
family members and guests remove their shoes before entering
the house and spreading dirt. Do not permit pets in a room
with furniture pieces that are especially valuable or treasured,
as it is very challenging to train pets not to sit on certain
When all else fails, try using a fabric protector on upholstery,
which makes it easy to remove stains when they happen by
blotting them up. Whether or not furniture uses scotch-guard
protection, it is important to remove stains as soon as
possible when they occur. Start with a towel to blot up
as much of the liquid as possible, and do not rub the fabric
because this action only causes more of the stain to soak
into the fabric. If you use a spot cleaner, make sure it
is one meant specifically for upholstery. Test the product
first in a safe area to make sure it does not damage the
fabric. Work the cleaner into the fibers gently by using
a circular motion with a soft brush, then vacuum the area
when it is dry.
As difficult as it is to imagine, the upholstery we first
buy with furniture will wear and tear over time, but the
progress of destruction can be lessened significantly with
regular maintenance. Make cleaning the upholstery part of
the regular vacuuming routine, and remember that most of
the work to avoid stains involves preventing them from happening
in the first place. Every few years, hire a professional
to deep clean the upholstery, and you will be on your way
to enjoying the fabrics for many more years to come.