Six Tips for Keeping Upholstery Looking Brand New

A little care goes a long way to keeping upholstered furniture looking fresh and new.

by FamilyTime


Fact: Upholstered furniture is expensive. Fact: Professional cleaning is expensive. Fact: Upholstered furniture can’t be tossed in the washing machine. Fact: Daily use, grime and exposure to sunlight take their toll on upholstery

While the above facts are indisputable, don't give up on upholstery. There are easy, money-saving and sensible ways to keep it fresh and clean.

Follow these six tips and your upholstered chairs and sofas will continue to look as smashing as they did the day you bought them.

Fluff the pillows: Sounds silly, perhaps, but think about how you treat the pillows on your bed. You fluff and flip them every time you make the bed. Same goes for sofa and chair cushions. They need to be punched and pushed and flipped to maintain the fillings’ loft and help them hold their shape.

Even attached back cushions can be fluffed and flipped. Unzip the upholstery at the back of the cushions and remove the insides. Fluff them up and then return them to their cases.

Fluff your upholstered cushions as often as you can. Some people do it every day, while others only when they think of it. You can’t fluff and flip too often—although you might now fluff them enough.

Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum: Vacuuming upholstered furniture is the most effective way to keep it clean and save you money in the long run. Do so as often as you dust hard surfaces and vacuum the carpet. The same dust that settles on the mantle is settling on the upholstery, and if allowed to work into the fabric will dull and weaken it.

Use the small brush attachment for most of the fabric, and then employ the crevice tool for corners and tucks.

Check the upholstery before you vacuum for loose threads and loose buttons. Snip or tighten them to prevent problems.

Guard against stains: A lot of upholstered furniture has been pre-treated with stain repellent finishes. If not, it’s sensible to pay a little extra to get it protected. You can also treat it yourself with products with names such as Scotchgard, Teflon, or Guardian.

Blot up spills: When something spills on the fabric (and it always does), blot it up with a damp cloth. Don’t rub it or it will embed in the fibers and never come out. If something thick such as mud gets on the upholstery, let it dry and then vacuum and brush off.

Protect from the sun: As much as you are able, keep your expensive upholstered furniture out of direct sunlight to prevent fading. This may mean rethinking where you want to position it in the room, or it may require drawing curtains or blinds when a room is not in use or when you go on vacation. (It also may not be possible.)

The same fabric protection that guards against spills also helps shield the upholstery from ultraviolet rays. While the protector is not as effective as drawn blinds or drapes, it helps considerably.

Clean upholstery professionally: Every year or so, depending on the use it gets, hire professionals to clean the upholstery. If you are diligent about vacuuming and blotting up spills, you might not have to call in the pros as often, which will save you money.

When it comes to upholstered furniture, a little knowledge and a little care go a long way. When you fluff and vacuum regularly, the fabric will look fresh and inviting for years. And considering how expensive upholstery tends to be, the time and attention are well worth it.