You did it: You finally splurged on your dream couch to complete the ultimate magazine-photoshoot-ready living room you’ve forever visualized spending your Sunday mornings relaxing on. But now you’re worried about keeping it in peak condition. Save for wrapping it in plastic vinyl a la our parents and grandparents, there’s no foolproof way to keep spills, pet hair, and other mystery stains off your couch. Still, with a little routine maintenance, it’s possible to keep your newest prized possession 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 withstanding 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.
- Protect it from the onset. While 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 sheet or a blanket over their favorite spot is a great way to keep them from getting hair all over. Even more, it’s best to keep it out of direct sunlight (or anywhere that it might absorb smoke, like directly next to the kitchen) to keep the color from warping.
- Clean up spills immediately. Just like your favorite blazer or dress, there’s no better way to maintain the quality of your sofa than by tending to any spills or stains immediately. If your couch is situated in a high-traffic area, like right at your entryway or in a path between two rooms, you might find some mystery stains (like splatter from when your kids take off their snow boots after playing outside, or coffee from a quick spill while mindlessly shuffling to find your keys in your bag). Garment Groom works to remove spills and stains from washable and unwashable fabrics immediately—just be sure to spritz it on as soon as you see the stain, and keep a similar fabric on hand to blot it out. (This is why I like to hang onto fabric swatches, even long after I’ve settled on the item.)
- Keep it looking (and smelling) new. Be sure to vacuum your upholstered furniture weekly to remove any surface soil 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 freshening up your furniture.
If all else fails, turn the cushions. I recently invested in a Mario Bellini Camaleonda reproduction and while it looks amazing in my living room, it’s impossible to hide spills or turn the cushions—because there aren’t any. If only I thought about that first :)