Taking care of your upholstery

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If you’ve ever bought a new suite of furniture, you’ve probably spent the first few months in a blind panic every time anybody sits on it, just in case they make it dirty.

Our advice is this: Relax. Sofas and chairs are meant to be sat on, and dirt and grime are part of everyday life. Instead of worrying about how to stop your furniture from getting dirty in the first place (you can’t), arm yourself with the knowledge on how to get it clean and looking showroom fresh.


Guidelines usually depend on whether your chairs are leather, fabric or anything else, but the basic advice is much the same. The first is to do with keeping the shape of your sofa. Even new seats need the cushions turned on a regular basis – at least once a week – to stop them from sagging in the middle. If you get into the habit of sitting in the same spot day in, day out, you’ll soon notice that the cushions will eventually assume your shape, and that’s never a good look.

Secondly, clean the covers regularly. We recommend a weekly vacuum (which you can combine with the weekly cushion-turning), and an annual professional cleaning for the covers. Your cover might be machine washable, but if you’re too scared to do it yourself out of fear you’ll get something back that’s either a different colour or now sized for a doll’s house, pay somebody to do the work for you. If at all possible, try to keep the covers out of direct sunlight, but this might not be possible, especially if your suite is in a south-facing room or a conservatory.

As for the spills that come with everyday life, make sure they’re attended to immediately. A wine stain left overnight is a wine stain addressed far too late, so make sure you’ve got the right cleaners for the job. Blot up any surface liquid as soon as you can (but don’t scrub, as this will work the stain deeper into the fabric), before applying the correct cleaner, preferably one that is detergent-free.

Beware – particularly if your suite is under guarantee – to use cleaners approved by the manufacturer. If in doubt, they’ll probably be pleased to advise.

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