Not all upholstered furniture is the same! Understanding the basics of fabrics and how to clean them can also lend helpful advice when purchasing.
Furnishings turn rooms into a comfortable home. Proper care will also keep your furnishings looking good while they add enjoyment to your home. Although families with young children and houses pets often have extra work to maintain upholstered furnishings in particular, prudent care is worth the effort.
It is also worthwhile to note that it may be fairly simple to avoid some types of damage to upholstered furniture. To reduce fabric fading, for instance, avoid letting full sun shine on textiles. Control the light with shades, blinds, or draperies. In addition, stashing a few paper towels or a small terry towel underneath seat cushions will give you a quick way to deal with spills.
Read below for pointers on vacuuming.
Frequent vacuuming is the best way to clean and maintain upholstery. Vacuuming helps prevent dust, dirt, and stains from embedding in the fibers of upholstered pieces and keeps them looking new.
Here are a few quick tips on vacuuming:
Cotton fabrics are commonly used for upholstery, however their durability depends on the weave and finish. If a cotton fabric has been pre-washed (as is often the case with slipcovers), then it should be fine to clean with soap and water, however, it is always wise to check the manufacturer's recommended cleaning method. Cotton fabrics will fade in direct sunlight.
Cotton Blends can be a sturdy, family-friendly product. A stain-resistant finish should be applied for everyday use.
Canvas can be a good choice for family rooms because it is especially durable. The flat surface shows grime and holds dirt particles, however, so frequent vacuuming is a must. Pre-washing before fabrication can make it easy to pop smaller canvas slipcovers into the washing machine for cleaning.
Damask weaves are formal. They should be brushed and vacuumed gently to avoid breaking threads.
Linen is best suited for formal living rooms or adult areas. Have soiled pieces professionally cleaned. Keep linen out of direct exposure to sunlight whenever possible.
Microfibers are a new addition to home furnishings. Offering a soft hand and a vast color range, they also resist most stains and can easily be cleaned with soap and water. This fabric is a good choice for households with children.
Wools and wool blends are sturdy and durable to use for sofas and chairs. Blends can be spot cleaned when necessary. Check manufacturer's recommended cleaning method.
Silk is a delicate fabric only suitable for adult areas, such as formal living rooms. It must be professionally cleaned if soiled. Keep silks out of direct exposure to sunlight whenever possible.
Sunbrella fabrics are being seen both indoors and out. They offer superior resistance to stains and fading which makes them a good choice for busy families.
Leather furniture should be gently vacuumed and damp wiped as needed, using as little water as possible. Clean with leather conditioner or saddle soap, buffing thoroughly to remove residue.
Suede can be vacuumed with a soft brush attachment. Use only made-for-suede leather cleaners. Remove small spots with art gum erasers. Never clean with water.
Adapted from the book, Making a Home, Meredith c. 2001