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Hints And Tips For Cleaning Your Sofa

Our sofas and chairs get a lot of use, so of course things like food and drinks get spilled on them from time to time. Rather than banning kids, pets and careless adults from the living room, here are some hints and tips for cleaning your sofa.


Act quickly

The trick is to tackle the spill before it soaks in or becomes a stain. Often a quick reaction can save the day, especially with fabric-covered furniture. In any case, the aim is to keep the amount of liquid used to clean up to a minimum.


  • If the spill was liquid, blot with clean white kitchen paper or a cloth as soon as possible. Take care not to use coloured paper serviettes or similar, as the dyes might transfer to your precious sofa fabric, making matters worse. Blot from the edges toward the centre, to avoid spreading the liquid further. Don’t rub the spot, in case you damage the fibres or leave paper debris behind.


  • If the spill was dry, try to lightly brush it into a dustpan or vacuum up larger particles. Again, work toward the centre of the spill, so that any oils or loose powders don’t get spread further. It’s surprising how badly the dusting of flavoured powders on tortilla chips can stain, for example. Check under cushions for any bits that have escaped!


If blotting clears up the spill, no further action is necessary. Perhaps consider Scotchguard or similar proprietary protector, which will make the fabric less vulnerable to future spills.


Commercial cleaning solutions

Don’t use bleach! It will strip colour from fabrics, leather and suede. Most supermarkets stock fabric cleaners that can be used on stains when emergency first aid for sofas hasn’t worked. Check that the product is suitable for the fabric your sofa covers are made from, before applying as the manufacturer recommends. Furnishing materials must by law be flame-retardant and incorrect cleaning could make it less safe in the event of a fire. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer.


General maintenance

Regular cleaning will prolong the life of your furniture. Leather can be wiped clean and protective creams will enhance the appearance and prevent it drying and cracking. For other fabrics, first thoroughly vacuum the seat, back and cushions and then the crevices using a crevice tool. This will remove any loose debris. If dirt has caused grimy patches, launder or dry clean removable fabric covers following the washing instructions on the labels carefully, to avoid shrinkage or loss of colour.


Prevention is better than cure!

Zips, jeans rivets and decorative accessories on clothing can cause tears and scratches. Where possible, try to keep them away from fabric and leather sofas. Some clothes are not colour fast – red dyes sink into cream fabric very easily, especially when wet, so ask your guest to sit elsewhere! It is probably impractical to suggest keeping all food, drink, pets and people away from your furniture. However, using sipper beakers (children only!), drying the dog after his walk and providing occasional tables to safely place cups and glasses will pay dividends in avoiding nasty stains in future.

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