Spills and stains on furniture are inevitable. Even the most careful individuals may spill a drop of nail polish or accidentally rub dirty feet on the couch. Spills and stains can be even more challenging to control if you have pets or kids in your home.
Fortunately, these mistakes don’t have to cause permanent damage to your furniture. The following are some of our top tips for cleaning your furniture and keeping it looking new.
The No. 1 way to clean your furniture is according to the label. Experts always suggest keeping the tags on your furniture or designating a place in your home for them. Many furniture pieces are made from specialty fabrics or fabric blends that require special care. Saving the tags ensures you understand what those fabrics are and the best methods for cleaning them.
Many furniture tags include fabric cleaning codes. Understanding these codes will help you clean your furniture correctly by removing stains without causing additional damage.
Common fabric cleaning codes include:
W – Water-based cleaners and fabric steamers are safe for use.
S – Spot clean or dry clean the fabric. Use only a fabric-safe solvent.
S/W – Water- and solvent-based cleaners are safe for spot treating.
WASH – The fabric is removable, and you can wash it in the washing machine with cold water on a delicate setting. Tumble dry on low heat or air dry.
X – Do not use any cleaners or solvents on this material. A vacuum cleaner is the only option.
The most effective time to clean a spill is right away. The longer a stain sits on your furniture fabric, the more likely it is to become permanent.
The best way to eliminate stains is to prevent them entirely. Vacuum your furniture regularly to remove dirt, pet dander and dust particles that can settle and cause stains over time.
Specialty cleaners with harsh chemicals can cause more damage than they remove. They can be toxic and too harsh, ruining some furniture upholstery permanently. White vinegar and baking soda are natural cleaning solutions that are safer for many fabrics.
The key to properly removing stains is to go about it gently. You may feel frustrated and inclined to vigorously rub the mess out, but that’s not the most effective way. Instead, sop up any liquid with a clean towel, gently blotting the area. Rough, rubbing motions will push the stain deeper into the upholstery, making it significantly harder to remove.
Vacuum the stained area when finished dabbing to remove any excess grime. Completely drying the area is an essential part of the cleaning process. This may require the use of fans or limited time in the sun.
Remember that UV rays can fade color and deteriorate fabric over time. Use a UV-resistant cloth or spray on outdoor furniture or pieces that sit in direct sunlight. If drying your furniture in the sun, remove it as soon as it’s dry.
Entering living room and dining room furniture stores can be overwhelming. You’ll see countless styles of furniture upholstered in a wide range of fabrics. Enlist the help of the salespeople on site when choosing the most ideal upholstered furniture for your dining room or other space.
Do you live in a home with kids and pets? Experts may recommend dark colors, bold designs or stain-resistant upholstery. Choosing fabrics that camouflage or repel stains from the get-go can relieve a lot of the stress associated with stains and damage. Unfortunately, this may mean skipping certain colors or sensitive fabrics you find attractive.
Quality furniture is a significant investment. It’s no surprise that spills and stains can cause frustration. Remember that most stains are treatable, and with the right cleaning and prevention methods, your furniture can look like new for years to come.
Author bio: Troy Simmons is General Manager at Bel Furniture, a leading furniture and mattress retailer. Simmons is a local Texan who has over 20 years of experience in the furniture business.