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Fabric upholstery: How to clean and remove stains

11 Apr 2018

There is nothing better than putting your feet up on your sofa or recliner after a hard day’s work. However, the downside is that after a while, this can lead to the upholstery becoming grubby and worn. 

Claire Gibson, from La-Z-Boy, says with a little bit of love and care, you can keep your upholstered sofa or recliner looking as good as the day you bought it. Here’s how… 

Daily care 

Just because your high-end lounge suite is a sizeable investment, doesn’t mean that you can’t relax and enjoy it to its fullest. 

Your recliner or lounge suite should be a place where you can sit down to unwind and really relax, without worrying about doing any damage to it. 

However, in order to keep it in good shape, you need to give it the loving care it deserves. For one, it’s always best to keep pets off the couch, if they insist on jumping on, then it’s prudent to teach them to sit in one spot consistently. Once you’ve achieved this, then you can place a hard-wearing throw over this section to protect the upholstery below from pet soiling and sharp claws. The same applies to small children - discourage them from playing with toys that can snag the upholstery, drinking and eating on the sofa, or jumping on it. 

Weekly care 

You should brush your sofa with a soft fabric brush, and vacuum the fabric every week. The reason why this is important is because dust and dirt particles can cause the fabric to wear quicker, and it’s also the ideal substrate for mould and mildew to develop. 

The recommended method is to set the vacuum on low, and move across the fabric in short, overlapping strokes. Be sure to remove the cushions and vacuum in all the hidden nooks and crannies, and when you put the cushions back, try and swap them around to ensure that they wear evenly. 

Dealing with spills 

Even if you have the best intentions, accidents happen and when they do, the best way to handle them is to remember to take care of them as soon as you can. 

Remember that fresh stains are far easier to remove than old ones. Here’s how to tackle spills and stains… 

1. Solid food

Remove any food remains with a spoon, knife or spatula to avoid rubbing in any remaining food particles further into the fabric. Carefully dab the spillage with a paper towel, and, if required, use a little distilled water to gently clean the stain.

2. Wine and coffee

Whatever you do, don’t scrub. The aim is to gently lift the stain off the fabric without rubbing it in and making it worse. Blot the area using a white paper towel or any other really absorbant material in order to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Then treat the affected area with distilled water.

For really stubborn stains, it’s wise to use a little fabric cleaning solution. However, it’s always advisable to first test it out on a small section of the sofa, in an inconspicuous spot like the back of the couch, in order to find out if it will damage the fabric in any way.

3. Chocolate

Remove any remaining chocolate off the upholstery by scraping off any solid pieces, and then clean the area with a white cloth or sponge, and gentle fabric cleaning solution. This will carefully remove the stain. Once it has been removed, blot the wet upholstery with a white paper towel to dry off as much of the liquid as possible.

4. Mud and soil

Before you can begin, you have to wait for the mud to dry off. Once it’s completely dry, then you can use a fabric brush to brush off any particles. If required, use a clean white cloth to sponge the stain with a gentle fabric cleaning solution. To dry, gently blot with a white paper towel.

Prevention is best 

Of course, avoiding any stains or soiling is always the best move, which is why one of the best things you can do to protect your sofa or lounge suite is to invest in some kind of anti-stain protection for the upholstery.

Stain-repelling technology like La-Z-Boy’s iClean is incredibly popular because you no longer have to worry about spills, stains or dirt, as it incorporates safe chemistry that protects the fabrics fibres, which repel spills before they can turn into stains. 

iClean fabric creates a barrier of protection from stains associated with children, pets and everyday life. Parents no longer need to postpone owning that beautiful sofa until the kids grow up or move out. For most liquid spills, the fabric can be cleaned by simply blotting the spill with a paper towel.
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