How to Care for Fabric Upholstery

cat ruining fabric couch

Buying a new couch or having an old piece of furniture recovered can be an expensive affair, one that you likely prefer to do occasionally. A well-cared-for piece of furniture can last well into the future; a lifespan of over a decade is not an unheard-of occurrence. So what can you do to ensure that the furniture in your home lasts as long as possible? Well, I intend to answer this question with some simple pieces of advice, which if followed, are guaranteed to make your couch or armchair last twice as long as your old furniture.

Don’t Eat On Your Furniture. 

Now, this might seem like an obvious one, and I’m sure at first you will keep anyone even thinking about food away from your new couch. Over time though, you will likely relax a bit, and this is when stains, and crumbs will likely become enmeshed into the fabric of your furniture. 

What’s the big deal, what can a few crumbs or spillage or two cause? Well, a lot of stains are extremely tough or impossible to remove. Some stains that may be permanent come from red wines, hot chocolate, greasy foods, pasta sauces and a multitude of others. Most of these, if not cleaned immediately will leave lasting blemishes which will leave your furniture looking unkept. Staining isn’t the only issue with eating on a couch, crumbs or food particles are also an issue. If not removed immediately they can become crushed into the fabric of the sofa where they become trapped. These crumbs or particles trapped in your couch in cushions can inhibit the growth of bacteria, one such strain being E-coli. E-coli is a bacteria found in faeces and sewage and isn’t something you want in your furniture.

No Pets 

Just like not eating on your couch, this might sound like common sense as well. Keeping your pet off of your furniture though will make a big difference to its life span. Pets naturally shed hair and bacteria. This bacteria comes from the outside world, and no matter how often you wash your dog or cat, they almost always are shedding it. As a broad strain of bacteria, it’s impossible to say what precisely this will do to your couch. It is common if left unchecked for this bacteria to emit unwanted aromas.

Seeing as your furry friend doesn’t walk on two legs, they can probably only get onto the couch by jumping onto it. At first, this won’t cause any damage that you can visibly see, so why not let them jump up, it’s not doing any harm right? Wrong, every time little fido leaps onto your fabric sofa, his little claws will be causing tiny micro-tears. Over four or five years and thousands of bounds, these micro-tears will turn into noticeable wearing, pulled fabric seams and even large tears. 

Fabric Protection

Perhaps one of the best proactive ways to ensure the longevity of your sofa is by protecting it with a few coats of fabric shield. This fabric shield creates an impervious barrier that repels liquids from entering fabrics. Whilst the product is a great way to avoid the odd accident, you must clean these spills immediately. These anti-stain coatings aren’t permanent and as such need to be regularly applied for them to work optimally. Applications of the fabric shield should only be applied to clean fabrics to avoid trapping stains and dirt behind a layer of protector. A commonly used and affordable fabric protector is Scotch Gard

Regular Cleaning 

Regularly cleaning your couch will not only ensure it’s longevity but will also leave it looking like new. Vacuuming your couch will help remove dirt and dust from the fabric. Did you know, dust mites excrete twice their body weight every day? But, what do dust mites eat? Well, unfortunately, they feast on the skin cells that we continually shed, gross I know. Vacuuming often will remove both these skins cells and dust mites. Health consequences such as asthma and allergic reactions are linked to the presence of dust mites and their excrement. So get that vacuum out and get hoovering.  

Even a well cared for sofa will accumulate some dirt or stains over the years, this doesn’t mean it’s days are done though. Professional upholstery cleaning will bring back your beloved couch to life. Now whilst it’s tempting to save a few bucks by attempting to clean your sofa yourself, I don’t recommend it. Using the wrong chemicals, equipment, or techniques can cause damage to the furniture you were trying to revive. Professional upholstery cleaners such as Empire Upholstery, use tried and tested chemicals along with the best equipment money can buy. Equipment such as a hot water extraction machines used by Empire will push hot water and chemicals into the fabric of your couch. These chemicals will bind to dirt and strains and removed via a powerful vacuum. This cleaning method is not only the best way to remove contaminants but is also the safest method for furniture fabric. 

Placement, Cushions and Throws 

Consider where you place your furniture in the home and what sort of accessories you put on it. Sun exposure can cause the fabric of your sofa to fade and deteriorate quickly. It’s best to place your furniture away from windows that get excessive sun exposure or consider blinds/ curtains. When you think of cushions and throws, you are probably only thinking about how they will make your furniture or room look nicer. Well, they also conveniently create a barrier between your skin and the fabric of your couch. Sweat and oils excreted from the skin can also cause degradation to your furniture. Cushions and throws are easy to clean and are comparatively inexpensive, so use this as an excuse to go shopping and freshen up your couch today.

If you follow all of the points mentioned above, you can rest easy (on your couch) knowing that the expense of new or recovered furniture is far into the future.

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