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10 care tips for your lounge suite

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12 Apr 2013

If well looked after, a lounge suite is an investment that can last for decades and considering the cost of buying a new suite, it is worth taking care of your furniture.

Your lounge suite is not a jungle gym. Stop your children climbing on it and sitting on the arms of the couch and it will last longer.

Reuben Grimsell from Gommagomma says furniture made from durable, hardwearing materials is best and certain materials and colours are easier to clean, so it is important to consider your lifestyle before you buy a lounge suite.

Reuben provides 10 handy tips on how to prolong the beauty and life of your much-loved sofa.

1. Prevention is better than cure

“Although good furniture is resilient, use common sense to keep your furniture looking good,” says Grimsell. He suggests that homeowners do not allow shoes, pets, sharp items or eating on the couch. Don’t feed babies or let the kids do arts and crafts on the couch. "Remember – it takes a lot more effort to clean a sofa than to keep it clean.”

2. Dust bust

Although it is not as visible as it is on your windowsills, dust does settle onto your upholstered furniture too. Grimsell says homeowners should vacuum or dust the upholstery every time you clean the rest of your home.

3. Use the right detergents

Each material will have its own care instructions, which need to be carefully followed. Use a clean, dry cloth to immediately soak up any spillages. He suggests that before you use any cleaning chemicals, you should consult with your furniture supplier or an upholstery cleaning specialist, as using the wrong detergent could end up worsening an existing stain.

4. Invisible protection

If you are set on investing in a leather lounge suite, but it’s not within your budget, faux leather looks similar to real leather, it is a more affordable and it is an animal-friendly alternative.

For optimum upholstery, Grimsell suggests treating your suite with Masterguard,or one of its generic counterparts. The treatments comprise an invisible coat that can be applied to all upholstered furniture and to curtains. It protects fabric by repelling water and stains. It lasts for approximately five washes and it can be reapplied. Ask your furniture store if you can get the fabric upholstery on your sofa treated before you take it home. It costs extra, but it will add years to your sofa’s life.

5. Avoid sunstroke

“Most creatures love baking under the African sun, but your lounge suite does not fall into this category,” Grimsell warns. Direct sunlight and bright light can cause furniture to fade. You can prevent this by rotating the pieces of your lounge suite to minimise their exposure to the sun, or keep them away from any window that lets in harsh sunlight. There are many ways to arrange furniture in a room, and it doesn’t need to be placed right against walls or windows. By leaving a gap between the back of a couch and wall, you create a walkway and with the furniture closer together, the room will feel cosier.

Grimsellsays that if the layout of the room doesn't allow much flexibility to move furniture, you can close the curtains during the day when you are not at home. He notes that Venetian blinds or louvre shutters are useful options, as they can be angled so that they let some light into your home’s interiors, while simultaneously minimising the amount of direct sunlight that streams in.

6. Not a jungle gym

Direct sunlight and bright light can cause furniture to fade. Prevent this by rotating your lounge suite or keep it away from any window that lets in harsh sunlight.

Your lounge suite is a treasured investment so don't let your children jump on it as if it is a jungle gym, and don’t let anybody sit on the arms of furniture as it puts extra strain on the structure and upholstery of the seating that will eventually lead to your sofa losing its shape.

7. Upholstery that lasts

For maximum durability, Grimsell suggests homeowners choose strong, long-lasting upholstery for their lounge suite. He says woven patterns hold up longer than printed ones, as do higher thread counts. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square metre of fabric and the denser the fabric, the longer it lasts.

Keep the shape of cushions and seating looking good by reshaping it to its original form from time to time. "You can do this by using your hands to push microfibers into place," says Grimsell.

8. Wonderful wood

If your furniture has wooden detailing, it is essential that you keep it looking rich and inviting. Be careful when you clean this, as rough cleaning can stain the suite’s upholstery. Gommagomma’s show-wood surfaces have been specially treated for maximum longevity, and simply need to be dusted or wiped with a clean, damp cloth.

9. Fantastically faux

It is easy for your furniture to get damaged while you are moving, so don't stack heavy objects on it and lift the couch from its base, instead of carrying it by the arms.

If you are really set on investing in a leather lounge suite, but it’s just not within your budget Grimsell suggestsbuying a suite upholstered in faux leather. Faux leather looks similar to real leather, it is a more affordable and it is an animal-friendly alternative. Faux leather comes in many forms and some are better than others, he explains. There are two main types of faux leather; PVC and material that starts with ‘poly’ - most notably polyurethane and polyamide microfibre. Gommagomma uses PVC (poly vinyl chloride) and P.U. (polyurethane) as an affordable alternative to genuine leather as it can be washed with mild soap and water. Strong detergents and perspiration cause deterioration.

If you can’t buy leather for reasons of personal ethics or your budget, make sure you know what type of faux leather you’re purchasing, cautions Grimsell. He says the poly-type materials are easier to care for, more environmentally friendly and more breathable, while PVC is difficult to clean and doesn’t breathe as well. He says the other benefits of faux leather include the fact that it can be produced in virtually any colour or texture, it is very durable, a high-gloss finish can be achieved and it requires little maintenance.

10. Moving matters

“Furniture can easily get damaged when moving,” he says. You can prevent this by lifting a sofa from its base, instead of carrying it by the arms. He suggests you wrap each furniture piece individually in a blanket or bubble wrap and secure it so that it can’t move around in the truck. Remember not to stack heavy items against or on top of any of the seating, as the upholstery could get damaged or the cushions could lose their shape. Grimsell suggests homeowners get professional movers to help if they are making a big move. The initial cost may be higher, but not as high as replacing your furniture.

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