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Care for Upholstered Furniture

Upholstered furniture is expensive to replace, so follow these easy tips to keep your upholstered lounge suite looking as good as new for longer.

When you invest in an upholstered lounge suite or sofa, you want it to last a long time and stay looking good for as long as possible. Children, pets and living in general, can take their toll on any upholstered piece, and with time, it can also begin to look faded and saggy if not looked after properly.

Here are our Top 10 tips for looking after upholstered furniture:

1. Choose the right fabric

When buying a sofa, shop for a sofa upholstered in fabrics that match your lifestyle. Synthetic fabrics are easy to care for if you have children or pets, preferably fabrics that are not woven or have too much texture.

2. Fabric protection

If you have the option, have upholstered furniture treated to protect the fabric from spills. While fabric protection offers a certain level of protection, it is not a stain-proof option unless you clean up spills immediately to prevent them from being absorbed into the fabric.

3. Rotate seat cushions

Where a sofa or chair has loose cushions, turn these over periodically to prevent wear. This is also an easy way to evenly distribute wear and prevent cushions from indentations. If, over time, you find that seat cushions become a bit sloppy, open a seam along the back of the seat cushion and add additional padding (synthetic batting).

4. Fabric care

In South Africa, few - if any - manufacturers offer instructions for care and maintenance of fabrics used for upholstery. If in any doubt... ask. If you are uncertain as to the cleaning methods for a particular fabric, the Internet is filled with practical tips. But before you take any drastic action, test any cleaning products or methods on an inconspicuous area before you go ahead.

5. Clean regularly

Regular cleaning will remove surface dirt and dust and prevent this from being embedded into the fibres of the fabric. A soft brush is also helpful for daily cleaning, but test on the fabric beforehand to ensure that it doesn't snag or raise the fibres.

6. Remove odours

In a home with pets, you may find that upholstered furniture absorbs smells. In this instance, sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda and leave overnight before vacuuming in the morning. This treatment won't harm your sofa and will keep the fabric fresh.

7. Clean up spills

Clean up any spills immediately by blotting the liquid with a paper towel. Don't rub as this will only exacerbate the problem and could leave a permanent stain.

8. Professional cleaning

A professional cleaning should be done on an annual basis, depending on how much your sofa needs it. When the weather starts getting warmer, book a cleaning session with a reputable upholstery dry cleaner, or hire a household steam cleaner from your local supermarket. Don't leave it too long - the dirtier upholstered furniture gets the harder it will be to clean.

9. Keep away from direct sunlight

If upholstered furniture is positioned in direct sunlight, this may cause the fabric to fade. If moving the furniture is not an option, look at fitting blinds or sheers to filter light.

10. Treat furniture right

Keep pets off the furniture as much as possible, or give them a dedicated cushion to sit on. Don't let children climb over furniture, and ban eating and drinking on upholstered pieces.

 

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