Tips for Caring for Upholstered Furniture Properly
If you have an upholstered bed, a sofa set or a sofa bed with a fabric or leather cover, over time the question inevitably arises about the right care and possibly also about the options for specific stain removal.
General tips for caring for upholstered furniture
So that your upholstered furniture looks like new for as long as possible, you should avoid direct sunlight, as the covers can fade from the UV radiation. When using it, we recommend that you watch out for belts, sharp-edged jewelry or rivets on trousers, as these could damage the cover. Velcro fasteners also easily get caught in the fibers of fabric covers and often roughen the surface. Furthermore, care should be taken with items of clothing that stain with seating furniture: especially dark blue jeans tend to leave a blue haze on the seat.
In addition to careful handling, regular care is also important for a long shelf life. This in turn depends on the nature of the cover material:
Maintenance of upholstered furniture with fabric covers
- Regular vacuuming with a suitable upholstery nozzle or brush
- Clean every six months with a damp cloth to maintain the elasticity of the fibers, wipe velor fabrics once from left to right and once in opposite directions, allow to dry completely before use
- Do not treat with steam cleaner, otherwise the fiber structure will be damaged
Care of upholstered furniture with leather or imitation leather covers
- Smooth leather: Remove dust regularly with a soft cloth, wipe off every 3-6 months with a slightly damp cloth
- Suede: vacuum carefully with a soft upholstery brush, occasionally roughen with a soft brush
If your upholstered furniture has removable back cushions or pillows, you should tap them out regularly and shake them up or loosen them up.
Tips for removing stains
You actually make up your mind not to crumble on the sofa while eating or not to take tea with you to bed, but at some point it did happen: a careless moment or an unfortunate circumstance and an ugly stain adorns the beautiful piece of furniture. What now? Depending on the type of soiling, the stain can be removed quickly and easily. If you are unsuccessful in removing stains, a professional upholstery cleaning service can help.
When buying a piece of furniture with fabric or leather upholstery, you often receive a booklet with specific care instructions and guidelines for removing stains. Keep this information in a safe place and, if in doubt, always follow the instructions given there first, otherwise any guarantee claims will expire.
There are a few things to keep in mind when removing stains:
- When treating artificial leather, only use distilled water to avoid limescale deposits when drying
- After removing the stain, always clean the entire surface from seam to seam with a damp cloth to avoid dry edges
- It is important not to rub too hard, otherwise the fibers of the cover will be roughened
- Never use petroleum ether on (artificial) leather, as this
will damage the surface permanently
- Before cleaning, check fabrics for color fastness in an inconspicuous place
- Stains are always treated from the outside in, so as not
to enlarge the stained area
- Never empty the solutions directly onto a stain, always put them on a cloth and
dab the stain with it
- Always use colorless soap or colorless shampoo to prepare solutions,
especially for cleaning light-colored covers
- The covers should never be blown dry after removing the stains, as the
surface can be damaged by the effects of heat
- Wait until the furniture is completely dry before using it again,
otherwise creases may form
Before treating the stain, remove coarse soiling by carefully vacuuming loose parts such as crumbs or the like and removing ointments or other greasy and / or sticky soiling with the back of a knife or spatula, if possible without rubbing. It is best to immediately soak up fresh liquids as much as possible with a dry paper towel or toilet paper. You can then start treating the stain straight away – the faster the better!
Below you will find specific tips for removing various types of stain. Please make sure that you are using the correct treatment method for your upholstered furniture. Depending on whether it is a fabric or (synthetic) leather cover, stains must be treated differently.
|Spot||On fabric cover||On leather cover|
|Tea / coffee:||Do not allow the stain to dry out, dab it off immediately with a solution of lukewarm water and mild detergent, if necessary treat with white spirit||Wipe off stains with paper towel, wash off residues with distilled water and neutral soap|
|Wine||Sprinkle the fresh stain with table salt (possibly moisten red wine stains with white wine, sparkling wine or lemon juice beforehand), dab with a damp cloth, then clean with lukewarm water and mild detergent||see above|
|Fat, chocolate, milk, Nutella, cream||Remove residues without smudging, treat either with a solution of warm water and mild detergent (possibly also washing-up liquid) or with benzine||see above|
|Fruit juice, ketchup||Dab the stain with warm water from the outside in, mix 1 teaspoon of table salt with 1⁄2 l of water and treat the stain, then clean the area with vinegar||see above|
|Chewing gum, candle wax||Cool with an ice pack or cold compress until it hardens, then break and brush out|
|Cosmetics / care products|
|Nail polish||Dab with white spirit from the outside in||Get professional help from upholstery cleaning|
|Cream, lipstick||Carefully remove residues without smearing with a spatula or the back of a knife, treat with a solution of lukewarm water and mild detergent, if necessary treat with white spirit||Wipe off stains with paper towel, wash off residues with distilled water and neutral soap|
|Toothpaste||Carefully remove the residue, dab the stain from the outside in, then clean with a dilute ammonia solution (5-10%) or vinegar water (50%)||see above|
|Blood, feces, vomit||Mix cold water with mild detergent and apply to the stain, dab with a cloth and clean with benzine if necessary||Dab with a paper towel and wipe with distilled water and neutral soap, use the upholstery cleaning service if the stains have dried on|
|Urine||Soak up the liquid, pre-clean with vinegar and then treat with a solution of shampoo and cold water|
|Sweat||Soak stains with colorless vinegar or citric acid (dissolve 3-4 tablespoons of powder in 1 l of warm water) and then clean with a damp cloth||Get professional help from upholstery cleaning|
|Adhesive||Dip cotton swabs in benzine and carefully pick up the adhesive, then clean with gall soap||Get professional help from upholstery cleaning|
|Ballpoint pen, felt pen||Dip cotton swabs in white spirit and dab the stain, then clean with a solution of vinegar and spirit (1: 1)||see above|
|Ash||Vacuum the area, either dab with a solution of warm water and mild detergent or with benzine||see above|
If a stain cannot be completely removed on the first attempt, the cleaning process can be repeated several times. If the desired result still does not materialize, professional upholstery cleaning can help with the repair.
It is of course particularly advantageous if the covers of your sofa are removable and machine washable. In this case, it is often possible to replace the cover in the case of particularly stubborn stains. Ask your sofa seller about replacement covers for your sofa model.
Some upholstered beds and upholstered suites have a stain protection built into the cover fabric, which prevents the penetration of liquids or significantly reduces the build-up of dirt through a Teflon coating. When buying, pay attention to the corresponding markings on the cover.