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How To - Clean And Maintain Fabric and Leather Upholstery

 

After a long day at work or family nights in, your sofa is the perfect place to relax and unwind, many of us forget it requires regular cleaning but it’s important to give your furniture regular cleaning to ensure it lasts the test of time. Daily life can expose your sofa to many things, from dead skin cells to leftover crumbs of food, so not taking care of your sofa can affect the longevity of your sofa in the long run. Your sofa is designed to ensure your comfort and will stand up to the rigours of daily life, but some wear over time is inevitable. However, with proper care, your furniture will serve you well for many years. Here are some sofa care tips you can follow to ensure your sofa remains useable for years to come.

How to clean a fabric sofa

Fabric-upholstered furniture adds warmth, versatility and beauty to any home and they're perfect for snuggling – pets and snacks included. The appeal of a fabric sofa is their comfort and the wide variety of fibres, fabrics, colours available which make them suitable for any interior. They can be a pain to clean but with the right care and knowledge, the life of your fabric furniture can be prolonged. In order to maintain the appearance and condition of your fabric, it is useful to develop a regular maintenance routine. Below are some tips to help you take care of the heart of your home.

Before you start!

Before you start we recommend checking if your sofa comes with documentation. If it does, double-check this just in case the manufacturer has included a care guide. Also, check the sofa label as this is likely to include information about what cleaning methods can and can’t be used.

Fabric sofa quick clean: Weekly

A quick clean of your fabric sofa is recommended weekly to prevent the built-up of any dirt or other unwanted bits. A vacuum cleaner is a way to go, ensuring the suction is strong enough to remove any bits lodged in the fabric fibres. Remember to vacuum beneath the cushions and down the sides too.

Fabric sofa deep clean: Monthly at least

Your deep clean is where you will really tackle any dirt or stains and ensure a long life for your fabric sofa. There are a number of approaches you can take to deep clean; always be sure to check which are compatible with your particular sofa type by consulting your tag or instructions.

Fabric sofa deep clean: Monthly at least

Baking soda is great for removing light stains in fabric sofas. It can also be helpful for removing odours and restoring freshness. The process is simple, just sprinkle the baking soda over the sofa, with good even coverage. Leave this for between 20 minutes and an hour before vacuuming it away using a brush attachment.

Removing bad smells

Pet owners will attest, smells can take hold of fabric sofas in an unpleasant way. Fortunately, they are very easy to deal with. You can use a store-bought fabric odour killer or, alternatively, try using bicarbonate of soda. Simply sprinkle the powder all over the surface, leave overnight and vacuum away in the morning.

Fabric sofa stain removal

It is the nightmare scenario: a spilt drink while relaxing on your comfy fabric sofa. Just remember the golden rule here is to act quickly and the stain will be history before you know it. The longer a stain in a fabric sofa is there, the tougher it can be to get it out.

Gentle stain removal for fabric sofa

The first step is to hope the stain is fairly mild and requires a nice easy solution. To find out, simply blot the affected area with a sponge that has been soaked with a little dish soap and cold water. Be careful not to rub at the stain as this may cause problems with your fabric – all you need to do is dab.

Simply rinse the sponge and blot away any remaining soap and then dab dry with paper towels or a dry cloth. It may take a little while for the fabric to dry completely.

Important: Make sure this is only attempted if your sofa is suitable for cleaning with water. Your sofa label will let you know if it is or not.

Getting rid of tougher stains

If the above method has been unsuccessful, don’t panic. There is a huge range of stain removal products available at supermarkets or hardware stores. If you decide to use a stain remover, the golden rule is to always test the cleaner on an isolated, discreet area of the sofa first.

Repeat if necessary

In the event your stain is persisting after each of the above, you may just need to rinse, repeat and try again. Providing your upholstery does not react badly to any of the cleaning substances, repeat applications are often required for stubborn stains. It’s tiring and frustrating but keep at it and you will eventually have the stain beaten.

Making your fabric sofa last

Just like a leather sofa, there are several simple ways you can ensure your fabric sofa lasts for years beyond cleaning. Again, not all of these suggestions will apply to all sofas, but all are worth taking into consideration.

Take it easy

It sounds very obvious, but sofas take a lot of weight over years of use. Sofa frames are strong and sturdy but can still be damaged if you are too rough with them. Sit down slowly and deliberately; do not throw your weight on to it, no matter how light you are. Keeping weight distribution nice and even can also prevent warping of the cushions.

Keep cushions plump

Fibre-filled cushions should be plumped up every couple of days (once a day can’t do any harm). This helps them to retain their desired shape and prevents deflation of the cushions as pressure from being sat on meshes fibres together. Doing this regularly will prevent you from having to replace inner cushions as often, saving time and money.

Keep away from spill zones

Fabric sofas are much more at risk of spillages and stains than leather sofas due to their absorbency. When positioning your sofa, try to keep it a fair distance away from any splash zones such as your kitchen or dining area. Be extra careful when dining near or on your sofa and be even more careful when drinking red wine!

Remove bobbles regularly

Bobbling, or polling is a very common occurrence with fabric sofas. They can also make your sofa look significantly older and more worn out than it actually is. Once every week or so, remove these with a fabric shaver and your sofa will immediately look 3-5 years younger.

Make use of reversible seat & back cushions

If your fabric sofa has reversible cushions, it is recommended that you flip these regularly so neither side is subjected to more stress than the other. This will keep your cushions in great condition for much longer. We recommend that this is done weekly for sofas that are applicable.

Wear & Tear

Be aware of the causes of wear and soiling. Fabrics are vulnerable to snagging by sharp objects such as buckles, studs on jeans, rings, children's’ toys and of course pets, particularly cats. One of the main areas which suffer wear on any upholstered furniture is the top of the front of the arms. The use of arm caps and regular cleaning of this area will help to prolong the useful life of your furniture. Avoid placing heavy or pointed objects on your upholstery and beware of banging against it with vacuum cleaners, floor polishers, or similar devices.

Velvet fabrics being of pile construction, will exhibit some small crushing and flattening marks; which will come and go in use. These are a characteristic of fine quality velvets and do not represent any fault in the fabric.

Time to call in the professionals

For really stubborn marks, remove the sofa cushion covers and take them to the dry cleaners, or if the fabric sofa covers can’t be removed, enlist the help of a specialist upholstery cleaning company. Engage a professional to clean your upholstery every 12 - 18 months providing it is cleanable (some fabrics should not be washed or dry cleaned). Have all matching pieces of furniture cleaned at the same time to produce an even fade.

How to clean a Velvet sofa

Velvet is a wonderful fabric with its own unique properties. The warm, rich texture and soft-touch make it a statement piece in any room and irresistible to avoid. But why is it so hard to commit to? It is important to understand the nature of these materials and to care for them appropriately.

The back and forth of should I or shouldn't I with velvet lies within its own it's unique property, it's luxurious beauty. It's difficult to judge whether velvet will stand the test of time or whether it can keep its lustre making it a difficult fabric to dedicate to.  Whilst it can’t match the durability of microfiber or leather, we don't suggest purchasing a velvet sofa if you have kids or pets, velvet can hold up over the long haul with a little care and effort on your part. here are some cleaning tips to keep your velvet sofa looking lustrous for years to come.

Velvet is beautiful, but some are very delicate. Natural fibre velvet is not particularly family or pet-friendly. It can mark easily and getting it wet can permanently damage the appearance of the sofa. Stains are also difficult to remove; however, if it is a poly-blend, it is considerably more durable. Marking and crushing is a natural occurrence with all velvet, so it should be expected; this is not a fault and will gradually add character over time. A velvet brush can be used to try and remove any marks. Piling can happen on some higher pile velvets. Always position furniture away from direct sunlight.

Basic Maintenance

For velvet drapery or pillow covers, dry-clean regularly. In between cleanings, use a soft-bristle brush to dust and remove fuzz. For spills or stains, follow our tips below. If you prefer to switch out your velvet drapery in the warmer months, keep them dust-free by hanging them in a breathable covering away from light and moisture.

The dry-cleaning option obviously goes out the window with upholstered furniture. The most important thing you can do to keep any upholstered furniture looking its best is to vacuum regularly, preventing surface dust from settling into the fabric. For velvet, use the small brush attachment of your vacuum and run it in the direction of the nap. If you fear your attachment is not very clean, wrap it in cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band to protect your velvet upholstery.

You can also dry brush with a soft-bristled hairbrush to dust and remove hair or fuzz. This especially works if you need to clean it in a jiffy! 

Stains & Spills

Any spills should be treated as quickly as possible by gently pressing a white absorbent cloth or paper towel over the spill. Slightly moistening the cloth with lukewarm water may help as well. Just be careful not to rub or pat the spill, which will force the moisture deeper into the fabric.

For more persistent stains, there are a couple of solutions you can try. The first requires mixing a few drops of dishwashing detergent with a small amount of warm water in a bowl. Agitate the solution until suds fill the top of the bowl. Using a soft white cloth, apply only the suds to the stained area, taking care to not over-wet the fabric. Lightly dab the stain until it starts to fade. Blot with a clean cloth to remove the remaining stain and any residue from the suds. Allow the area to dry completely, using a hairdryer on its lowest setting if necessary.

If that doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to use a dry cleaning solvent. Follow the directions on the packaging to dilute the solution. Apply a small amount on a clean cloth – never directly on the fabric – and lightly dab into the stain just as you did with the suds mixture. Use a damp, clean cloth to remove any residual shampoo. Let it dry completely.

Reviving Its Sheen

Has your velvet lost its lustre? You can use a steamer to restore its signature shine. Keep the nozzle moving across the velvet at a moderate pace in the direction of the nap. After it’s completely dry, brush it in the direction of the nap using a soft-bristled hairbrush.

 

How to clean a leather sofa

A leather sofa can be a great addition to any room and are as practical as they are stylish making them useful for family more homes and spill-prone kids. Although leather sofas can be pricey they are worth every penny in the long run, thanks to their durability they will last decades if maintained properly.  But even though leather’s lived-in look can be one of its charms, you will still need to give it a bit of TLC occasionally. Here’s how to do just that.

Before you start!

Did your leather sofa come with any documentation? If so, be sure to check this before cleaning as the manufacturer may have included detailed cleaning guides. Also, be sure to check the label of the sofa, as this is likely to include information about what cleaning methods can and can’t be used.

Dusting down a leather sofa

You might not think so, but leather furniture can attract dust just as much as your wooden tables, cabinets and other surfaces. Worse still, sitting on a dusty sofa means getting dusty clothes too. We recommend lightly dusting your leather sofa as often as you can, particularly down the sides and in the places that are usually hidden (such as the back). This will prevent any nasty dust build-up.

Leather sofa quick surface clean: Weekly

Even if your leather sofa is not stained or marked in a severe way, regular surface cleaning is essential. Giving the surfaces a good wipe down with a soft cloth or feather duster will prevent build-up of dust, crumbs and other foreign objects we like to avoid! There are no cleaning agents required for this.

Sweat and oil cleaning

It’s not nice to think about, but we all sweat, and our hands, arms, hair and other body parts will pick up natural oils that get transferred to your leather sofa when you sit down. This is especially true during warmer months. Sweat and oils from skin can damage your leather finish, so it is worth cleaning more often during the hotter months or depending on your personal needs. 

Leather sofa deep clean: Every few months

Vacuuming your leather sofa

Even if your leather sofa is not stained or marked in a severe way, regular surface cleaning is essential. Giving the surfaces a good wipe down with a soft cloth or feather duster will prevent build-up of dust, crumbs and other foreign objects we like to avoid! There are no cleaning agents required for this.

Wipe down with cleaning solution

Next, we want to remove any marks and clean any dirty areas that the vacuum has missed. There are a number of different cleaning solutions available, but a popular choice is a solution consisting of the following:

  • Water
  • Leather cleaner

Can you clean a leather sofa with washing up liquid?

If you want to give your sofa a basic clean that doesn’t involve any heavy stains or marks, you can use a solution of warm water and hand soap. Washing up liquid and other heavier soaps are not recommended for leather.

The directions for cleaning with a home-made solution such as this are the same as the above.

Leather sofa stain removal

Stains are a fact of life and can be a source of real panic, especially on your pristine leather sofa. Don’t panic, though! There are simple solutions to staining. The golden rule is to act fast.

Pre-clean the area

Before tackling any stains on your leather sofa, be sure to give it a good clean beforehand using the method mentioned above.

Apply a purpose-made stain remover

There are plenty of reputable and affordable stain removers available, including ones designed for leather. Following the instructions carefully, gently rub the stain remover onto the affected area using a cloth or sponge. You want to rub hard enough to remove the stain, but not so hard as to damage the finish.

Budget-friendly stain remover

The best and most budget-friendly way to manage stains on your sofa is to make your own cleaning solution. Simply mix a teaspoon of washing-up liquid, white vinegar, baking soda and warm water – baking soda and vinegar work really well together, removing any difficult stains quite quickly. Just make sure to test the solution on a hidden piece of the fabric, to make sure it doesn’t discolour your sofa.

Can you use stain remover twice?

For really nasty stains, a once over with stain remover may not be sufficient to remove it. You can repeat the process and apply more stain remover until the stain is gone. If your cloth starts to become stained itself, you know it is working. Make sure to change cloths when one becomes heavily stained.

Important Tip: If you start to see the colour of your leather sofa coming off onto your cloth, stop right away and wait for the leather to dry before continuing.

Can you use stain remover twice?

Specially mixed leather stain removers can be found at most supermarkets or DIY stores

Removing odours

Once you’ve removed any crumbs and loosened any stains, the next step is to remove any unpleasant odours. Baking soda is a great, budget-friendly solution for this. Simply sprinkle the sofa with baking soda and leave to sit for at least 20 minutes and then vacuum the sofa with a brush attachment. If you find this isn’t enough, mix the baking soda with some dry carpet cleaner and leave to sit for another 20 minutes, which should leave your sofa looking new and fresh.

How can you prevent stains on a leather sofa?

It is highly recommended that you apply a leather protection cream to a new leather sofa or one that has been recently cleaned. Leather protection cream blocks all types of staining and keeps dirt on the surface, so it can be wiped away easily with a cloth.

You can apply leather protection cream by applying small amounts to a clean cloth and wiping the areas you wish to protect. We recommend protecting the whole sofa – it will be worth it in the long term!

Time to call in the professionals

For really stubborn marks, remove the sofa cushion covers and take them to the dry cleaners, or if the fabric sofa covers can’t be removed, enlist the help of a specialist upholstery cleaning company. Engage a professional to clean your upholstery every 12 - 18 months providing it is cleanable (some fabrics should not be washed or dry cleaned). Have all matching pieces of furniture cleaned at the same time to produce an even fade.

Making your leather sofa last

Beyond keeping your leather sofa clean, there are plenty more ways you can keep your leather sofa healthier for longer. Not all of these will apply for your specific sofa or room, but all are worth considering.

Leather sofas and prolonged sunlight

Genuine leather is made of animal skin. Like any animal skin, prolonged exposure to intense sunlight or heat I.e radiators can be harmful. You don’t need to keep your leather out of the sun at all times; however, be way of where you position it in your room. Too much UV will cause problems. Be sure to take this into consideration when planning your room.

Leather sofas and air conditioning

Your leather sofa can also react badly to prolonged exposure to air conditioning, heaters or other appliances which alter the air moisture significantly. Keeping your leather sofa too close to an active air conditioning vent or heater for extended periods can cause the leather to dry out, fade or crack.

 Repairing leather sofa tears

A tear in your leather sofa is a real nightmare, but it doesn’t have to mean a new sofa! Depending on the severity of the torn section, you can use a patch to mend it.

Similar to how you would repair a pair of jeans, take a denim patch a little larger than the affected area of the sofa.

Gently stuff the patch inside so it can lay flat beneath the surface of the tear. Using a flexible glue suitable for plastic or vinyl, you can glue the tear together by squeezing the edges over the patch. The patch beneath will prevent the repaired section from forming an indentation.

Repair rips – Got a full-blown rip or tear? If you’re trying to fix it yourself, you’ll likely need a leather upholstery kit. Match the colour with the handy tag the sofa came with – if not, mix colours for an exact match.

Treat discolouration

Restore the colour of your leather by cleaning first, then rubbing in leather recolouring balm, using small circular motions. Gradually create a match by building layer upon layer so the colour intensifies. When you’re happy, buff with a dye-free cloth.

Using leather balsam or conditioner

Leather balsam is a special substance that helps nourish, condition and restore leather surfaces. Generally made of natural waxes and oils, leather balsam can restore softness and extend the life of your leather sofa quite significantly.

If you decide to use a leather balsam, always make sure you read the label and ensure it is suitable for the kind of leather you wish to condition or restore. Avoid using on non-smooth leather surfaces such as suede or nubuck.

As with all substances, always test on a small, discreet area of leather before committing.

Using Solvents or detergents

Refrain from using cleaning solvents, furniture polish, oils, varnish, abrasive cleaners, or detergent soaps to clean leather – or you risk damaging or discolouring the leather. If the stain persists, we recommend using a professional cleaning specialist to prevent long-term damage. All aniline leathers are delicate and sensitive hides that are dyed. They have a natural appearance but are vulnerable to marking, scratching and fading. Nature’s markings are part of the appeal of this material, and some colour variation can be expected.

 

Some useful tips

-You can wash out alcohols and wine stains with a dab with a cloth soaked in 1/2 water + 1/2 alcohol.
-You can wash out mud by Letting it dry, then brush gently. Wipe with a damp cloth.
-You can simply wash out smoke by wiping the sofa with a damp cloth. Removing grease and oil stains can be made worse by applying water, which makes them one of the most troublesome blemishes to deal with. Our advice would be to hire a professional cleaner, as they often have effective treatments that don’t use water to tackle the stain.
-You can wash out urine by dabbing with a cloth soaked in 28 ml of ammonia water.
-You can wash out blood by dabbing with a cloth soaked in white vinegar.
-Preserve the fabric upholstery on your sofa by avoiding sitting on the arms of the sofa as it will eventually distort it.
-Ensure your sofas on a level surface to avoid rocking or damage to the frame.
-Rotate seat and back cushions weekly to ensure even wear.
-You should aim to turn and plump your seat cushions on a weekly basis to help maintain its shape.
-We advise not to wash your furniture covers in the washing machine or by hand but rather get them professionally cleaned. You should aim to do this every 12-18 months to get the best out of your sofa.
-When you decide it's time to change your sofa, it's important that you remove your old sofa in the correct manner. If your sofas still usable consider donating it to an up-cycling charity. If not, for a small fee you could arrange a pick-up from your local council, or take it to your local recycling centre yourself

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