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Tips for Maintaining the Look of your Sofa

By Luke Armstrong

If you must name one single item that anchors a room and provides unparalleled comfort and character to the interior decor, you will probably come up with the word “sofa” right away.

The sofa is the centerpiece of the living room.
Comfortable and stylish, the couch is usually the favorite piece of furniture in a home.

It’s no wonder that most people find the sofa to be the focal point in a room – a quality couch is a real masterpiece of art and practicality. It is the elegant design and the beautiful colors matched against seamless fabrics that make this furniture item a treat for the eyes and the body alike.

When buying a new sofa for your living room, you will certainly choose a fashionable piece that’s the perfect shape, size and style for your home décor. No doubt that it will look glorious and will add much warmth and coziness to the living space. After a few years of daily use, however, your gorgeous sofa may lose some of its vibrancy and start looking shabby and worn-out as the cushions get lumpy, the colors fade, the fabric wrinkles, and ugly stains appear on the surface. To prevent such unsightly signs of wear and tear and keep your couch looking and feeling as good as new for decades, you need to maintain it well and protect it from damage.

Here are some practical tips on how to care for your sofa you will find truly useful and highly efficient.

Sofa Cleaning

Keeping your couch clean is the main prerequisite for ensuring its excellent condition throughout the years.

1) Vacuum your sofa on a weekly basis to keep it free from dust and dirt that will not only degrade its appearance but may also inflict damage over time (when dust gets deep into the fibers of your sofa, it causes them to wear quickly). You need to vacuum the entire sofa, including the arm rests, the back and the sides of the couch, the cushions and the pillows (if you can remove the cushions, do so and vacuum underneath as well).

Regular cleaning will keep your sofa looking good and smelling fresh at all times. Just don’t forget to hook up the upholstery attachment and use low suction when vacuuming your favorite leisure furniture.

2) Remove stains and blot up spills without delay. It’s very important to clean a spill before it has had the chance to settle:

  • Wipe away the spilled substance immediately with the help of a paper towel or a dry soft cloth;
  • Use blotting motions to remove spilled liquids;
  • Avoid rubbing or using harsh chemicals as you may damage the upholstery;
  • Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions strictly and use only the recommended upholstery cleaners;
  • Use a water-based sofa cleaner to remove persistent stains. Test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous part of the sofa first and, if you are happy with the results, apply it sparingly on the stain (so that you don’t over wet the fabric or the leather) with a circular motion. Use a soft brush and work from the outside edge of the spot toward the middle to prevent spreading the stain.

    Regular sofa cleaning is essential for the good looks of your furniture piece.
    Regular cleaning will not only help you keep your couch looking good at all times, but will also extend the life of your favorite upholstered furniture piece.

3) Remove pet hair regularly. When it comes to removing pet fur, vacuum cleaning is not enough. You have several efficient options to choose from:

  • Use a lint roller a couple of times a week to remove any loose hairs or debris stuck to the sofa;
  • Use a rubber glove to rub all the hair to a single location, so that you can easily pick it up;
  • Use cellophane tape to have the hairs stick to it.

4) Consider steam cleaning fabric sofas.  Steam cleaning is an innovative and highly efficient method of freshening a fabric couch. You can rent a steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment from your local supermarket, department store, or dry cleaners and complete the task on your own. Just make sure you don’t have the steam setting too high (so that you don’t soak the cushions).

5) Treat leather sofas with great care and attention, as the leather upholstery is very delicate and prone to damage. Use only specialized cleaning products and apply a nourishing balsam after every cleaning to keep the leather supple and prevent cracking. You can find more information on how to properly care for leather furniture here.

6) Have your sofa professionally cleaned once in a while. Using professional upholstery cleaning services at least once a year will help you prolong the life of your couch and keep it in excellent condition at all times. The professional sofa cleaners use high powered upholstery cleaning machines and specialized sofa cleaning products that yield outstanding results. Besides, they are familiar with the specifics of different types of fabrics, so they know what kind of cleaning products and techniques will be safe and efficient for your upholstered furniture.

Sofa Maintenance

All you need to do in order to maintain the good look and feel of your couch throughout the years is follow some simple yet highly effective sofa care tips:

  • Take care of pilling – regular vacuuming and cleaning will help remove dirt and loose fibers from your couch. Yet, pilling may still occur as a result of friction on the fabric surface (especially when the fabrics are cross-woven). In such cases, the excess fibers loosen and get tangled, making the upholstery look worn out and tired. Pilling, however, can be easily removed with a pilling comb or fluff shaver (available from department stores and dry cleaners), followed by careful vacuuming. Once the excess fibers have been removed, the pilling will stop and the fabric will look good as new;
  • Remove smells – to get rid of any bad odors your fabric sofa may have absorbed, sprinkle soda bicarbonate all over the surface (including underneath the cushions), wait for about an hour and then vacuum the soda away;

    Proper sofa care involves consistency on your part.
    Do you need help flipping the cushions?
  • Fluff the sofa cushions – cushions must be regularly punched, poked, and pushed around to maintain their shape and comfort. Plumping them up will help move the stuffing inside, preventing it from clumping and becoming hard;
  • Flip and rotate the cushions – if the cushions on your couch are removable, make sure you flip them every now and then. This will help maintain the shape of the cushions and will ensure that both sides wear down evenly. If your sofa has cushions that are all the same size and shape, they should also be regularly rotated to even out the wear. In case the seat cushions are “T-shaped” and can’t be rotated, at least smack them around from time to time to keep them in good condition and extend your couch’s life;
  • Remove crease and wrinkles – if your sofa has slipcovers, they are likely to get wrinkled and creased as a result of the heavy daily use. A wrinkled couch is not much to look at, so you’ll have to take care of the creases in order to ensure the excellent appearance of your couch. You can try ironing the slipcovers (make sure you iron the surface over a piece of cloth, not directly over the fabrics) or using a hand-held steamer (or a water mist sprayer and a hair-dryer) to remove the wrinkles;
  • Apply a sofa protector spray – it is highly recommendable to apply stain protection, leather conditioner, or another appropriate fabric protector or stain guard to your couch. These quality sofa protection products are especially designed to nourish and protect the upholstery and not only make your piece easier to clean, but also help retard the effects of ultraviolet rays, very high temperatures, and too low humidity.

Sofa Protection

Last but not least – to keep your couch looking new for a long time, you need to prevent damage to the upholstery.

1) Keep your sofa away from direct sunlight, as the ultraviolet rays of the sun can cause the fabric to fade or even to fray;

2) Keep your couch at least two feet away from any heat source to avoid cracking and fading;

3) Use your couch with care:

  • Never leave scissors, knifes, keys, rings, buckles and other sharp objects on the sofa – they can scratch leather upholstery, tear or cut the fabric, or cause pilling. Even jewelry and clothing with sharp buttons or zips may damage the upholstery;
  • Never leave glue sticks, felt tip pens, highlighters, and pens without caps on the upholstery as ink stains and glue stains are very persistent and difficult to remove;

    Sofa protection is key for preserving the good condition of your couch.
    Protect your sofa well, so that you can enjoy its comfort and good looks for many long years.
  • Avoid eating and drinking while sitting on the couch to reduce the risk of spillage and staining;
  • Do not sit on the armrests or perch on the edge of the cushions;
  • Cover the couch with sheets if someone is going to sleep on it overnight;
  • Teach your kids to protect the upholstered pieces in your home (it may be a good idea to provide an additional covering when your little ones are playing on the sofa).

4) Protect your couch from your pets. Take adequate measures to ensure that your animal friends will not stain, scratch, or chew the upholstery – keep the sofa covered, place scratch posts next to it, etc.

5) Cover your sofa when it’s not use, as well as during social events at your home. Put a suitable slipcover over your sofa when you have people over to prevent excessive staining and accidental damage. Cover your couch with plastic wrap, sheets, or any other suitable covers when you are leaving the house or don’t intend to use the furniture for a prolonged period of time.

Even when carefully used, well maintained, and properly protected, your couch will eventually start showing signs of wear and tear. If your sofa gets very tired and saggy, do not hesitate to call professional help – the experienced upholstery cleaners will know how to restore the excellent condition and the charming look of your couch. Using professional upholstery cleaning services will greatly increase the life expectancy of your sofa and will help you protect your investment, so that you can enjoy the comfort and the glorious look of your couch for many long years.