Sofas and chairs are the focal points of most living rooms. We spend many hours choosing the right suite to perfectly set off our décor. Often the best look is achieved by opting for white or light coloured upholstery fabric, as this helps to open up the room and make it seem larger. A very dark coloured sofa will seem out of place in an otherwise light and airy environment. Herein lies the rub; as the main feature in the living room, any stains on upholstery fabric are on prominent display. Given the fact that sofas and chairs are also the most used items of furniture – sat upon by family members, guests, and even pets – there is a high chance of stains occurring, even in the most careful of households. Below we have put together a quick guide to keeping your upholstery looking as good as new.
General maintenance is a crucial starting point. Even if it cannot be seen, dirt and grime can build up in the fibres of sofa cushions quickly. This is particularly true in summer, when there is a lot of indoor-outdoor traffic and people may sit on the sofa wearing shorts or dresses. As dirt and grime builds up, the upholstery can start to look old or dull. You will be amazed what a difference a weekly vacuuming makes. Fabrics will hold their colour and brightness much longer if they are regularly vacuumed to prevent the build-up of dirt and dust. Most hoovers come with special attachments that allow you to get deep into the nooks and crannies, giving your sofa an excellent clean. About once a month, if your upholstery has removable covers, you should also take these off and clean them following the instructions on the label. You may be able to run them through the washing machine, or you may need to nip them down to the dry cleaners.
Accidents happen in every household. While regular vacuuming will keep away any build-up of dirt that can make your sofa look older, it will not prevent stains. In many households, dinner is eaten from the sofa at least once a week, and even where this is not the case – the sofa is at risk from morning coffee, wine or beer at parties, muddy paws from loose pets, crayon marks from creative little monkeys, or oil marks from the man of the house. While there are expensive upholstery shampoos available in stores, these are not necessarily the best option for dealing with stains. Such products often contain hazardous chemicals, and equally effective job can be done using more natural or readily available products.
White vinegar will remove almost any stain from upholstery fabric. Try to treat the stain as quickly as possible, before it has chance to dry. Dab the area with white vinegar then leave this for around 10 to 20 minutes. Wash the area clean using a mixture of lukewarm water and laundry detergent to help reduce the smell of the vinegar. Take care not to use too much water, as this will saturate the fabric and can lead to mildew. Open windows or use a hairdryer to dry the upholstery more quickly. For greasy stains such as crayon or engine oil, toothpaste or baby wipes can work brilliantly. Again, just dab the stain with these products, then wash away with soapy water.
By following these steps, you can keep your upholstery looking good as new for years to come.