Upholstery furniture care guide

An upholstered piece of furniture, like a sofa or armchair or even a bed, is one of the biggest purchases you make for your home. Take good care of it and it will keep looking like the day it was delivered.

In this guide you’ll find lots of good advice and handy tips for caring for your fabric and leather upholstered furniture, protecting it from harm, and keeping it clean.

Here are our recommendations for cleaning furniture upholstered in fabric – sofas, chairs and even beds. Remember that whatever the fabric and whatever the spill, use only the recommended cleaning products and services.

1. Emergency cleaning

Act quickly when accidents happen. Don’t rub or soak the fabric or allow the stain to set in.

If the spill is a liquid, try to mop it up with a clean, white absorbent cloth. If it’s a solid, remove the excess with a blunt knife or spatula – being careful not to spread it – and then carefully dab the stain.

Don’t use washing up liquid, detergents or bleach to remove stains. And before using specialist upholstery cleaners, read the manufacturer’s care instructions and test on a hidden area of fabric.

If the spill is oil- or grease-based, we recommend using a specialist professional cleaning service.

2. Regular cleaning

Dust and dirt can cause fabrics to prematurely wear and discolour. This can be avoided by using a soft brush or vacuuming lightly using the curtain attachment on a regular basis. Don’t forget to vacuum beneath each seat cushion.

Be sure to clean all loose covers at the same time to prevent any variations in colour.

We recommend that you have fixed-cover fabric sofas and chairs professionally cleaned at least once a year.

3. Major cleaning

The effectiveness of specialist cleaning will depend on the degree of soiling, so be sure to have your upholstery cleaned before the material becomes too deeply soiled. Do not attempt to wash cushion covers or use a launderette’s dry cleaning machine unless the manufacturer’s care instructions specifically say that you should.

We recommend that any major cleaning be undertaken by a specialist professional upholstery cleaning like Safeclean by Guardsman, especially if there are oil- and grease-based stains.

Safeclean has been caring for furnishings for over 50 years and its expert technicians know exactly what cleaning detergents and stain removers to use. For your local Safeclean technician, call free on 0800 585693 or visit safeclean.co.uk.

4. Dry cleaning

All dry cleanable materials have to meet British Standards BS 1006 for colour fastness. But because regular dry cleaning inevitably results in slight colour variations, it’s best to have similar items – all cushions from a sofa, for example – cleaned at the same time.

5. Cleaning pile fabrics

The flattening and shading of heavy wear areas on pile fabrics like chenille and velvet is unavoidable. Pile fabrics may be vacuumed lightly using the curtain attachment, and brushed regularly in the direction of the pile with a soft brush.

Some acrylic velvets have a thick surface pile and, through normal wear, will display random crush marks and shading. This is not a manufacturing fault and is generally seen as an attractive feature.

Additional instructions for fabric-upholstered furniture

For maximum comfort and to keep your upholstery looking great, plump and straighten back and seat cushions daily and rotate where possible to ensure even wear. You’ll find more about this in the Seat and Back Cushions section of this guide.

Certain fabrics will show wear on areas of more use and colours may fade or discolour with direct exposure to prolonged periods of sunlight. Be sure to follow the care instructions supplied with your new furniture.

Add accidental damage cover

While everything at Furniture Village comes with a 10 year quality guarantee, It's worth asking about our 5 year Guardsman Furniture Protection for your bed or mattress. This worthwhile insurance plan will cover your new bed and mattress against any accidental damage.

The Furniture Village 10-year structural guarantee

At Furniture Village, every single item we sell is built to last and fit to withstand everyday life. That’s why all our sofas and beds, and all dining and bedroom furniture comes with our free 10-year structural guarantee. So you can buy with confidence – and enjoy your furniture for years to come.
See what's covered