Maintain your furniture’s upholstery fabric with our care tips.
The universe of fabric is varied and extensive—materials are either man-made or natural, and texture and colour vary greatly. Certain patterns are woven, while others are heat imprinted. Therefore, only some general comments apply.
Fabrics made from natural materials such as silk or cotton may show natural markings (such as small knots) that are considered normal for this type of material. Synthetic materials (rayon, microfiber) are generally more colourfast than natural ones (cotton).
To avoid premature fading, do not place fabric in direct sunlight.
Fabric pilling (small balls of fabric) is normal for certain fabrics. This occurs in sweaters too. Simply remove the excess pills of fabric and it will eventually stop.
To maintain the look of your upholstery, a simple regular vacuuming will keep it free of dust and dirt. For today’s modern fabrics, we do not recommend that you clean them yourself, as you may be disappointed with the result. Professional cleaning companies will be able to provide this service and the process should be repeated every 3 to 4 years, as needed.
Weekly vacuuming or light brushing helps to remove soil and prevents the embedding of dirt or grime between fibers, which can increase abrasion and wear.
The life of upholstered cushions can be increased through periodic turning. The weekly reversal of loose cushions will allow even distribution of wear over a long period of time.
Fabric on bench cushions or box cushions will develop a pucker (a little bit of loose fabric) from everyday use. This is normal since the fabric will naturally extend a little to accommodate the sitting position.
Fabric protectors help to increase the life of an upholstered piece by protecting fabrics from soil and stains. Some fabric protectors are mill applied, others can be applied at home. A protective finish does decrease the necessity of caring for the fabrics. It modifies the absorbency and soil removal characteristics of a fabric.
However, normal cleaning must still be followed. Loose dirt should be vacuumed and brushed away before it becomes embedded and harder to remove. Spills and stains should be cleaned quickly following manufacturer’s care code instructions.
Many furniture fabrics now carry the furniture industry’s Cleanability Code, adopted in 1969: it provides information about the proper methods to clean specific fabrics.
It is always a good idea to first pre-test the fabric for discolouration and shrinkage on an inconspicuous part of the furniture when spot cleaning. When overall cleaning is required, professional cleaning will often achieve the most satisfactory results. Never remove cushion covers or arm covers for separate cleaning: this may destroy the backing, cause shrinkage and colour changes.