Purchasing a good quality sofa is one of the more significant furniture investments you’ll make. Being a place where your friends and family gather, it’s almost inevitable a spill will occur at some time. And if you have kids or own a pet, the chance of an unsightly stain appearing on your sofa has just doubled, if not tripled.
That doesn’t mean you have to wrap your beautiful sofa in plastic, keep your pets outside and stop inviting guests around. There are a few things you can do to protect your sofa and keep the upholstery spot free.
Purchase the right fabric
Let’s face it, having a white linen sofa is a bit ambitious if you have children or even grandchildren who occasionally pop over. Their grubby hands and lack of co-ordination means your lovely white fabric is at high risk of being soiled.
Consider fabric with a higher man-made fibre content, as opposed to natural fibre when looking for durability and stain resistance. Synthetic fibres don’t hold onto stains as much as natural textiles, and tend to be stronger. This is great for sofa owners, as it means they’re less likely to hold the stain.
Image credit: James Dunlop Textiles
There are some gorgeous materials around today, available in a multitude of textures, patterns and colours. Quality commercial grade fabric is soft, beautiful and perfect for your home not coarse and ugly as you might expect. Come and see our library, we have some of the most stunning fabric supplied by Australian and International fabric houses like Mokum, Warwick, Zepel and Wortley.
What about leather?
While leather is attractive, you need to be prepared to look after it. You’ll need to weigh up whether it is a practical choice for your family as not all leather is the same. Beware of things or creatures that might cause scratches, you might want to consider puddling effects where the leather stretches in favourite sitting spots. If you go for the natural beauty of aniline leather for example, you’ll need to maintain it monthly with a protective creme to keep it in top condition.
There are so many types of leather that you can get for your sofa, just like for shoes, there are also different leather qualities too. There’s quite a bit more to know about leather, but we’ll talk about that another time.
Use a stain guard
Regardless of whether you go for fabric or leather, using a stain guard is one of the best ways you can protect your sofa from being soiled.
We recommend Guardsman Fabric or Leather Care Products to maintain that new look and take action on spills as soon as they occur. It’s a great idea to treat your sofa with the stain guard protector before any stains occur. This will help make removal of the stain easier if and when it happens.
What we love about Guardsman Care Products is that they don’t change the quality and feel your furniture and they are easy and safe to use. In the event a rowdy dinner guest spills their glass of red wine or your pet or child has an accident, you’ll be covered.
Change your habits
Now we’re not suggesting you transform into a ‘neat freak’, but changing some of your habits around the home can help avoid stains. Think about banning food and drinks from being consumed while on the sofa. Sounds extreme, but these are the two most common causes of stains.
The added bonus, studies show those who eat at the table tend to consume healthier meals and smaller quantities! If snacking on the sofa during a movie night is part of your family ritual, think about setting up a small kiddy table or an indoor picnic instead.
If your pet owns your home like mine does, consider using a throw for your dog to curl up on, or a comfy cat-friendly cushion on your sofa for puss to knead instead of your couch. If kitty likes it, a little catnip on her pillow or scratching pole will give them more attraction than your furniture.
Get to the stain quickly and avoid scrubbing!
Don’t leave it to the end of your dinner party to clean up any accidental spills. Attend to them as quickly as possible before they have a chance to really seep into the fabric.
Gently remove any liquid or food that’s sitting on top of the fabric’s surface. Warwick fabrics recommend the following tips to get rid of stains:
For non-oil based stains: mix a small amount of non-toilet soap, like Lux Flakes, together with warm water and apply to the stained area. Just gently rub the solution in (not scrub) and then blot dry with a clean towel. Apply cool water onto the area and gently blot dry. With a hair dryer, dry the area from the centre of the stain out to prevent any water rings forming.
For oil-based stains: follow the same steps above and apply a proprietary brand solvent based cleaner cleaning in panels rather than spot cleaning just the stained area. Warwick fabrics share an industry secret by using hair spray or Glen 20 to remove oil-based stains!
To minimise the need for a professional cleaning treatment, choose the right fabric, apply the stains and stop eating on the sofa! Vacuum your furniture with a clean upholstery attachment monthly and blot spills rather than viscously scrub.
Just remember, be realistic with who and how your furniture will be used and get professional advice on the best sofa covering for your lifestyle.