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4 Easy-to-Follow Upholstery Care Tips

Look after your upholstered sofa or armchair and it can last 15 years or longer. But it is a piece of furniture under stress, from takeaway nights to the occasional nap by the dog, to children bouncing all over it to people enjoying the Sunday afternoon film stretched out across its length, the sofa, and armchairs for that matter too can soon look past its prime.

The solution is not necessarily to buy new but to give your upholstered sofa and armchairs a little bit of care and attention every now and then. Here’s how to smarten the upholstered sofa and armchair so it lives to fight another day…

#1 Give it a weekly vacuum

The vacuum is fantastic for lifting ingrained dirt and debris from in-between fabric cross hairs. It is dirt and debris that cause the upholstery to be worn thin in patches, as dirt is abrasive on fabric. However, before you let loose with the upholstery nozzle on the vacuum, check in between cushions for coins and other large, not-good-to-suck-up-the-vacuum items, like hair grips. There is something incredibly satisfying about sucking up all the crumbs and other detritus from down the sides of cushions!

You will also be amazed at the amount of dust that gets sucked out of the cushions and upholstery. Lost something down the side? Use an old tight over the nozzle of the vacuum and hold it tight. The suction will hold the item in place but with the tights preventing it from being sucked into the vacuum.

#2 Protect It

Now, you could spend a lot of money on having the sofa and armchairs professionally treated with a stain repellent. Or, you could opt for the cheaper option of investing in pretty throws and using them to protect key areas of the sofa.

Easier to wash and freshen up, use throws not just for snuggling up on a cold evening but to protect the seating area, as well as the arms of the sofa, prone to marks and stains from resting heads and feet.

Also, a great way to protect the sofa from being snagged by pet claws too, should your pets enjoy a crafty laze on the sofa or curled up in the armchair should you not be looking.

Did you know that some dark coloured, non-colourfast clothing items can leave a stain on upholstery and leather? New denim jeans can leave a blue, light-coloured patch on the seat of the sofa and armchair, as can other dark-coloured clothing. The downside of this is that on a light-coloured armchair, it can leave a permanent discolouration…

#3 Pets and Upholstery

Even if you don’t allow the dog and/or cat onto the soft furnishings, they will still, mysteriously, become covered from time to time in pet hair. With the ability to stick to anything and not release its grip, pet hair can be a real nuisance to get rid of.

We do, however, have some suggestions;

      Throws - for the sake of a few pounds, throws on the sofa that are easy to wash and quick to dry are ideal for the sofa and armchair. They are also a great way to add colour to a room, as well as varying texture and depth to a space.
      Lint roller – again, costing a few pounds, a lint roller is an ideal tool for any household with pets. Gently roll over the surface of the upholstery and watch pet hair and other bits and bobs, miraculously stick to the surface of the sticky lint roller.
      Rubber gloves - yes, you read that right! Use a pair of rubber gloves and wipe your gloved hand across the surfaces of the sofa and armchair, plunging your gloved hand in hot water every now and then the remove the pet hair that has gathered on the glove, all by the power of adhesion and friction. Watch as the pet hair floats off the glove, a satisfying sight if ever there was one.
      Pet nozzle on the vacuum – some modern vacuums come with a pet nozzle attachment that purports to lift all pet hair. The suction can be twice as strong so take care on more delicate areas of the upholstery.

Did you know sunlight can fade upholstery? If you can, try to place the sofa or armchair out of direct sunlight or, if this can’t be avoided, try to ‘turn’ the sofa within the space so that it doesn’t become obviously sun-bleached on one part of the sofa or armchair.

However, placing it too near the radiator may not be good for the fabric either, with leather or faux leather sometimes becoming too ‘dry’ and cracking.

#4 Stain-Bustin’

The best course of action with any stain is to treat it as soon as possible and, if possible, not let it dry into the fabric.

Disclaimer: always spot test any stain bustin’ remedy on an unseen part of the upholstery to ensure that it doesn’t cause a problem, such as lift too much colour. If everything seems well, proceed with caution but you do so at your own risk! If you are unsure, consult with a professional dry cleaner.

There are various stain remedies that can help to lift the common stains of tea, coffee, wine and juice;

Blot up the stain with kitchen paper – don’t rub harshly as this can destroy the weft of the fabric.

Warm water – diluting the stain can help to lift it and make it less noticeable. Work from the outside in, using kitchen paper and a clean cloth soaked in warm water. If the stain persists, you will need to take further action; always colour testing first;

      Detergent – some people recommend the whitening or stain removing detergent that can be added to the washing machine, use sparingly, rubbing gently into the stain and using warm water to remove the stain. Allow to dry naturally.
      Mix your own – using a small amount of rubbing alcohol (available from larger chemists) and white vinegar along with essential oils for a pleasant aroma, use the mixture sparingly on the stain, using a gentle blotting action rather than harsh scrubbing.

And don’t forget to plump those cushions… how do you keep your upholstered items looking fantastic?