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Tips to Keep Upholstery Looking Fresh


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 pieces.

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.

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