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Fabric upholstery care: How to clean and maintain your sofa

If you are looking for something comfortable and contemporary for your home, you cant go wrong with a fabric sofa. However, while many people admire them for their beauty, they are often said to lack durability, especially when compared to leathers hardwearing qualities.  However, with the right approach and level of care, fabric upholstery can be kept in top condition as long as any other material.

Please be aware that dye from none colour fast clothing and garments can transfer onto leather/fabric and is usually more noticeable on light leather/fabric colours such as whites, creams and ivory. We also recommend to always check your labels on your clothing and garments for further information.

This guide has been written to help you maintain your fabric sofa. We've included many great tips about the best way to clean and maintain your upholstery, so read on to find out more.

Clean your fabric sofa on a regular basis

To ensure that your sofa is always in tip-top condition, it’s best to clean it regularly. This is because the fibres in your upholstery tend to collect dirt particles and keep them hidden below the surface level.

Below, weve set out three easy steps that you should follow regularly to make sure your sofa remains dust and dirt free. We advise that you clean your upholstery every fortnight to keep it spotless.

1.       Vacuum your sofas upholstery to draw out all the loose dust and dirt from both under and above the surface. Use a soft brush attachment and gentle movements for this task to avoid scratching or marking the material. This is especially important for delicate fabrics like velvet.

2.       When youre giving your sofa a quick clean, you should take care of any grime or light marks with a damp cloth. However, once or twice every month, you should use a fabric-friendly cleaning product to perform a much deeper cleanse we recommend the Mild Fabric Foam Cleaner that is included in our fabric cleaning kit for the task. Apply some with a small amount of water (without soaking the material) and leave it to work.

3.       Leave your sofa to dry naturally before sitting on it again. This will prevent creases forming, which usually means you have to start over. In the warmer months, you should open your homes windows and doors to improve air flow and speed up the drying process.

How to clean loose sofa covers

A lot of our fabric sofas have loose, removeable covers that can be taken off individually and cleaned. This means that you can access all the areas of your upholstery for more convenient maintenance, while also being able to machine wash each cover should the care label allow for it (always check beforehand to be sure). If you need to wash by hand, you can follow the steps above, and it’s a good idea to put them back on the sofa to dry naturally to avoid creasing.

Velvet upholstery needs regular brushing too

The majority of upholstery fabrics only require a regular cleaning regime, but velvet sofas require an extra step to keep them looking and feeling great. To preserve the materials natural sheen, you will need to go over it with a clothes brush or a specialist velvet brush, which will help it develop an antiqued ‘crushed’ appearance that will only improve with age. The best time to do this is immediately after vacuuming or when dry after deep cleaning.

Choose a shady spot to avoid sun and heat damage

When your upholstery is left out in the sun, it can fade, bleach, and lose its natural qualities. In addition, heat from radiators, pipes, and fireplaces can cause the material to become dried out and warped. Take this into account when you are looking for the best spot for your sofa, as somewhere without too much sunlight and away from heat sources will cause the least damage in the long-run.

Plump your cushions to keep shape

Alongside a regular cleaning regime, it’s important to service your sofa’s cushions so they keep their natural shape and provide the optimal level of comfort and support. All you need to do is plump your seat, arm, and back cushioning after each long period of use, perhaps at the end of each day. This is an essential task if your sofa is filled with feathers, fibres, or a combination of both, as they do not have the same resilience as foam and wont return to their original form.

While you’re plumping your cushions, don’t pass up the opportunity to do the same to your scatter cushions or wool throw so that they maintain their shape too.

How to clean spills and stains on your fabric sofa

Unfortunately, even if you are the most careful person in the world, there is a good chance that your sofa will eventually fall victim to a nasty accident. The golden rule to keep in mind when this happens is to react quickly; a fast turnaround can be the difference between a quick mop-up and a stain getting its claws into your lovely upholstery.

Your first priority should be removing as much liquid as possible before it has the chance to soak into the fibres of the fabric, which will minimise the chances of a stain forming. To do so, grab some kitchen roll or a dry cloth and begin to blot up the surface liquid. Then, use a fresh, damp cloth to dab at any marks that have appeared. If youre quick, you can often avoid a stain altogether or at the very least reduce any surface blemishes.

If you dont get to the spill in time, then fear not, as there are ways of cleaning the mark off your upholstery. We recommend that you use one of the stain removers from our fabric care kit, which has a number of specialist products that can tackle common and more difficult stains. For instance, there is the Fresh Stain Remover, which can be used almost immediately after you’ve blotted up excess liquid to get rid of any blemish. Another is the Old and Resistant Stain Remover, which can be used to remove stubborn stains that have proved resistant for a while. There is also the Grease and Oil Stain Remover, which can take care of oily food and drink spillages.

The reason that we recommend these products over the ones that can be purchased in supermarkets is because store-bought stain removers may contain chemicals that will damage your fabric. The products in the kit have been specially designed not to harm your upholstery. However, when a stain proves too difficult to remove yourself, we would always advise that you seek the help of a professional cleaner, who will be able to use specialist deep cleaning equipment that won’t spoil your fabric.

Caring for your fabric sofa from Sofas by Saxon

Here at Sofas by Saxon, you can be confident that your fabric sofa, chair, corner sofa, sofa bed, or footstool will be upholstered in one of the premium materials in our collection. Our furniture is built to last, so you can look forward to many years of use, in which time your piece will gain character and antique beautifully as the years go by. These really are sofas worth caring for.

Follow the advice in this guide and you will be able to maintain the new condition of your fabric sofa for many years to come. If you have any questions about the upkeep of your piece, don’t hesitate to get in touch and our team will be happy to help. If your furniture has both leather and fabric in its upholstery, you should read our leather care guide too.

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