You did it! You finally splurged on your dream sofa. Now you can finally spend Sunday mornings relaxing in the Instagrammable living room you’ve visualized forever. But hang on a minute! Before you settle into that sofa with your oat-milk lavender latte, now you need to figure out how to keep it in peak condition. Save for wrapping it in plastic vinyl a la your Aunt Dorothy, there’s no way to keep spills, pet hair, and other mystery stains off your couch.
Don’t despair! With a little routine maintenance, you can keep your furniture looking good as new without calling in the pros. Ahead, find out how to care for your sofa (or any upholstered furniture, for that matter).
Choose the right fabric
Some materials—like leather, boucle, or other natural fibers are often harder to maintain, especially if you have pets. Synthetic or blended fibers not only make a fabric more supple, but they’re usually better at resisting stains and standing up to everyday wear and tear. Some fabrics, like polyester, olefin, and acrylics resist moisture, mildew, chemicals, and abrasion—meaning less maintenance and cleanup on your part. Phew!
Protect it from the start
Most manufacturers will treat their finished product with soil and water repellents, it’s never a bad idea to protect it further. A dedicated fabric protector will usually do the trick, and if you have a pet, layering a chic throw or a blanket over their favorite spot is a great way to keep them from getting hair and eau de pooch everywhere. It’s also a good idea to keep it out of direct sunlight if you can. If you can’t, a second throw is a good idea to keep the color from fading.
Clean up spills before they become stains
Just like your favorite blazer or dress, the best way to deal with the inevitable spills and stains is to deal with them immediately. Resist the urge to rub them with a fabric cloth. You may spoil the “nap” of the fabric. Instead, spritz it with Garment Groom as soon as you see the stain and carefully blot the area (I keep a stack of old tea towels around for this). If it’s still visible, mix a little Laundry Soap in water and hit it with a good Laundry Brush. The bristles on this one are firm enough to budge any stain, but not harsh enough to damage fabric fibers.
Keep it looking (and smelling) new
Be sure to vacuum your upholstered furniture weekly to remove any surface soil and pet dander that can build up or get embedded in the fibers over time. For most fabrics, the soft-bristle brush attachment is a great way to really get in there. In addition to vacuuming and lint-rolling, you can also keep your sofa—as well as other upholstered furniture—smelling as good as it looks with Room & Linen Spray, which eliminates odors in the air and on fabrics. The basil, mandarin, and kale scent is fresh, clean, and smells just as good lingering in the air as it does on your furniture.
If all else fails, turn the cushions. When we moved into our new house in 2029, we invested in a pricey sectional with linen-blend slipcovers. If all else fails, I can whip off the covers, soak them in mild detergent, and give them a turn in the washing machine. Phew!