Sofas and chairs are getting dirty virtually every moment of the day and night. When it comes to keeping furniture clean, it can seem like an uphill battle. Of course, no one expects furniture to keep a “show room shine” forever, but some rules and simple maintenance can help keep your upholstery looking good and lasting for years.
Minimizing Daily Wear and Tear
Depending on your family size, your couches and chairs could be taking a real beating everyday. Dust settles on upholstery around the clock, and each time someone sits down, the dust gets ground in a little more. At the same time, each ‘sitter’ on the sofa leaves behind dirt and soil in the form of body oil and sweat. Setting a house rule of “no shoes on the furniture” will help keep outside dirt and mud off of the upholstery, but that doesn’t eliminate the dust and other soils.
If there are times when your furniture is infrequently used–perhaps you’re home mostly on weekends, for example–a clean sheet can be placed over the sofas and chairs when they’re not being used. The sheet will keep dust from coming in contact with the upholstery, which can actually prolong its life. As dust builds up, it creates friction against the individual upholstery fibers which can lead to fraying and threadbare areas.
If you have pets, a sheet will also keep them from getting hair and dirt on the furniture. Of course, family members probably won’t want to sit on the sheet so it can’t stay in place constantly. During the times it does cover the furniture, however, it will help to keep it clean.
Probably the single biggest reason furniture becomes stained is because of food and drink spills. The only way to guarantee that these spills never happen is to keep all foods and drinks out of rooms where there is upholstered furniture.
It’s possible to purchase a spray product that is designed to protect upholstery from stains. The product is sprayed over the entire surface of the couch or chair and allowed to dry. It leaves a coating that prevents spills from being absorbed by the fabric, thereby allowing the spills to be wiped off without any lasting effect on the furniture.
These “stain guards” work well but are no guarantee against all stains. Some types of upholstery, though, may experience a change in texture or be irreparably damaged if one of these products is applied. The furniture’s label and the product’s directions should be carefully read before application.
As mentioned, dust will eventually damage upholstery and will, therefore, need to be removed on a regular basis. Hair, lint, and other debris are also left on furniture through normal use. It’s important to vacuum all of this about once each week. Cushions should be removed and vacuumed on all sides. The area under the cushions should also be vacuumed, as well as the back, arm rests, and sides of the sofa or chair.
To keep furniture looking its very best, it’s a good idea to deep clean using a steam cleaning machine about once each year. A steam cleaner injects hot water and cleaning solution into the upholstery, agitates the fibers with stationary or rotating bristles, and then suctions the dirty water into a holding tank. This is the most effective way to remove any embedded soil and will keep your furniture clean and attractive for a long time.