Caring for and cleaning upholstered furniture can be challenging. This type of furniture is often times high value and gets a high amount of use, which makes keeping it in excellent condition top priority. Not only does keeping it clean and well cared for give it a truly eye catching look, but it also helps to increase the life span of the fabric. Improper cleaning can not only leave the furniture looking drab, but it can also harm the fabric. Learning the proper techniques in caring for upholstered chairs, couches and stools is important in keeping your home looking pristine.
One key step in keeping fabric looking its best is to choose the right fabric from the start. If you are choosing fabric for furniture that is going to be heavily used, it is best to pick a durable, synthetic fiber fabric. These fabrics hold up against heavy usage and still look great. More expensive, fragile fabrics should be saved for furniture that will not be getting a lot of heavy usage, such as formal dining room chairs. Investing in fabric protection is another smart idea to keep fabric furniture looking its best. While many pieces of fabric furniture are treated with soil and water repellents, additional protection is also a great idea. Liquid protectors prevent any liquid from being soaked into the fabric quickly, giving the owner time to properly clean the area. They also help to repel other debris by acting as an invisible, heavy duty shield.
Even the best fabric protection it is still necessary to properly clean the furniture every so often. The first step in cleaning upholstered furniture is to remove all the cushions from the piece. If it is possible, remove the fabric from the cushions and lay out separately. This is not possible with many upholstered cushions; in this case lay the cushions out separately on a clean floor, or on a drop cloth. Once the cushions have been removed, use a vacuum brush attachment to remove all dust, grime and particles from the furniture. Pay extra attention to under the arms and around the back of the furniture. Use the same brush attachment to vacuum the loose cushions. Many vacuums come with bristle attachments that are made specifically for fabric furniture surfaces.
Once all loose particles have been removed from the surface it is time to clean with a gentle soap solution. There are many products on the market made for upholstery, but it is also possible to make a gentle solution out of everyday products. Mix ¼ cup of laundry detergent or liquid dish soap and 1 cup warm water. Whisk the two together until the suds look like whipped cream. Before applying this mixture to the furniture, test a small area that will be hidden from sight to see if it will affect the coloring of the fabric. Allow a few minutes for this area to dry to properly notice any discoloration.
Using a clean cloth or sponge, rub the solution onto the fabric. As you are scrubbing, dirt will appear in the suds. Take a gentle, rubber scraper to remove the suds from the surface of the furniture. It may take a few swipes with the scraper to remove all traces of the suds. Once the suds are removed, take a clean cloth and wipe the furniture with warm water. Allow the area to dry before using, this may take over night.
If you decide to use a commercial shampoo for fabric furniture, it is very important to properly test out an area of the furniture. Not all of these shampoos are made for all types of fabric and can potentially harm the furniture.
Properly cleaning the furniture is a great idea to do every few months, but in order to keep furniture looking its best for years, it may be necessary to have it professionally cleaned once a year, or every other year.