Article - Caring For Upholstery

How you care for your upholstery determines how long it will retain the look that made you fall in love with it. With proper care, it is possible to have your sofa looking its best for a long time. It pays to be consistent, and it's not hard to do.

Choose the Right Fabric
First of all, the right fabric for the right place can make your maintenance task easier. Always make sure that you choose fabric that is appropriate for your lifestyle. For example, synthetic fibers are a better choice for furniture that sits in areas of heavy usage.

Use Fabric Protection
A lot of work is done for you when the fabric undergoes the finishing process at the factory. It is usually treated with soil and/or water repellents and some form of mildew inhibitors may also be used. Additional fabric protectors can be applied in the store or at home. They help in keeping spills from being absorbed into the fibers right away.

Be warned, though, that while helpful, fabric protection does not provide an invisible shield. Always clean up any spills or stains in a timely manner, and, it is best to follow manufacturers' instructions when doing so.

Turn the Cushions
You can extend your furniture's life by periodically turning over the loose cushions. This allows for an even distribution of wear and tear and your cushions won't develop indentations right away. Fluffing the cushions after you've cleaned also helps keep them in shape.

Change the cushions around from one part to the other in addition to turning them over. Some seats get more usage than others, so changing cushions around will ensure even usage.

Vacuum weekly to remove surface soil. This also prevents dirt from becoming embedded into the fibers.

You can also use a brush to gently whisk the dirt away. Make sure to always use a soft bristled brush.

Spot Clean
Blot any spills immediately with a clean folded towel: never rub, but blot gently. Sometimes this is enough to get rid of the stain completely, especially if the fabric has been pre-treated with a fabric protector.

Always test in an inconspicuous area before you use any product for spot cleaning, and check the manufacturer's instructions to see if you need a water based or solvent based cleaner. It is best to use a mild cleaning product. Apply with a soft brush in a circular motion to work into the fibers, then vacuum when dry.

Avoid Sunlight and Pollutants
Too much sun can damage your fabric, causing it to fade and even fray. Try to position it so that it doesn't sit in the sun for extended periods of time. This is especially true of silks.

Airborne pollutants such as fumes from cooking or smoke can also harm your fabric. It isn't always easy to avoid that from happening, however, proper ventilation can help. It can also help with odor control.

Call a Professional
It is best to have a professional clean the piece every couple of years or so. Experts recommend having this done on a regular basis and not wait for it to get visibly dirty. The dirtier a piece becomes, the harder it is to restore to its original glory.
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