Caring for your Sofa

You’ve chosen your sofa, and it’s looking right at home in your living room. Now we want to make sure that it’s there for all of life’s moments. Daily life can expose your sofa to many things, but there are a few sofa care tips you can follow to ensure your sofa remains looking like new.

Download our full Upholstery Care Guide for a comprehensive list of sofa care instructions.

Fabric Sofa Care Guide

Upholstery Cleaning

Upholstery fabric generally cannot be cleaned in the washing machine. By vacuuming and brushing your furniture frequently, it minimises the chance of dust particles settling and affecting the durability and colour of the fabric. To keep your sofa in the very best condition, we recommend an in-situ professional upholstery cleaning every 18 months. With emergencies, such as drink or food stains, a local specialist cleaning company should be contacted for advice on how to proceed. (Please note, Arlo & Jacob are not liable for any damage caused by a third party.)

Young Children & Pets

With sticky fingers and biscuit crumbs likely, investing in an easy-to-clean sofa with versatile and hardwearing fabric is a must. It is important to remove stains before they sink in. Use a slightly damp, clean cloth to lift any spills as quickly as possible, but do not scrub the stain as this will risk lifting the dye. Don’t use too much water as this can result in watermarks and discolouration. Before using a cleaning solution, test it on a small, discreet area to ensure it doesn’t cause damage to the upholstery. Although our furry friends are integral to the family, they can affect the appearance of a sofa with their fur, claws and mucky paws. Durable fabric is important in this instance where fur can be easily brushed off with a furniture brush, and any dirt can quickly be wiped clean. While many fabrics can be suitable, we would recommend Aqua clean chenille and Plush chenille for family homes with young children and pets. Small fabric pulls made by claws and paws can be repaired if your sofa is covered by Staingard – contact Staingard for more information. If you’re ever in doubt, seek professional advice before attempting to clean upholstery yourself.

Washing Loose Cover Sofas

Harriet loose cover sofa

When your cover arrives, it’s important to unfold it and put it straight onto the sofa frame. Most creases should drop out within a few days; however, for persistent creases, gentle steaming with a clothes steamer can lift them. We always recommend professionally dry-cleaning loose covers. If you do decide to machine wash your covers (which we do not recommend), be sure to put them back onto the sofa when they are slightly damp in order to retain their shape. Covers should be washed on a cool, thirty-degree, gentle cycle. Be sure to wash all the pieces together to avoid ending up with slight colour variations. If you have a clothes steamer, you can gently steam the covers once they are back on the sofa to help remove any larger creases.

Looking after Leather

Holmes leather snuggler chair

It is crucial to protect your leather sofa if you want it to stand the test of time. Wipe up spills when they happen using a clean, absorbent cloth. With a soft, dry cloth, dust your furniture regularly and ensure you use a vacuum cleaner to prevent a build-up of dirt. Position sofas away from direct sunlight since the leather can fade when exposed to too much sun. For minor scratches, use a soft cloth or clean fingers to buff away the mark gently. Refrain from using cleaning solvents, furniture polish, oils, varnish, abrasive cleaners, detergent soaps or ammonia water to clean the leather. If the stain persists, we recommend using a professional cleaning specialist to prevent long-term damage, and we also suggest you use a good leather conditioner every 6-12 months. Leather furniture does not have reversible cushions: this is because two leather surfaces next to each other will rub and cause friction. For larger splits or tears, see our blog: How to repair a leather sofa.

Looking after a Velvet Sofa

Velvet is beautiful but can be very delicate. Natural fibre velvet is not particularly family or pet-friendly since getting it wet can permanently damage the appearance of the sofa and stains are also difficult to remove; however, if it is a poly-blend, it is considerably more durable. This is worth bearing in mind if families have young children or pets and we would advise taking extra care if velvet is your choice. Marking and crushing is a natural occurrence with velvet so it should be expected. This is not a fault and will gradually add character over time. A velvet brush can be used to try and get rid of any marks, as well as gentle steaming.

Caring for a Wool Sofa

Earnshaw compact sofa

Wool is a natural fibre fabric that is strong and durable. It is naturally fire resistant and hypoallergenic. To care for wool, always use a cold, damp cloth to wipe up spills. Vacuum the sofa regularly to avoid crumbs from being ground into the fabric. Wool can bobble, and some piling can be expected over time (like a wool jumper – but this can be removed with a bobble buster).

Looking after Linen

Jackson loose cover sofa

Linen is a lightweight, natural fabric that will crease and stretch over time adding to its charm and character. Like all sofas, you should vacuum dust and crumbs regularly to prevent further damage and keep the fabric clean. Linen is a highly absorbent, natural fibre, so for most spills; we would recommend calling an upholstery cleaning specialist to your home to avoid further damage. Like leather, don’t keep heavily-dyed linen furniture in direct sunlight as the sun can lighten it. We recommend choosing linen for slouchy, relaxed style sofas as the sagging of the fabric will contribute to the relaxed look and be less noticeable in comparison to a sleek, firm sofa shape.

Creasing, Fading & Dyes

Velvet and chenille fabrics can naturally flatten and fade over time. Such effects won’t cause too much harm to the wear of the fabric and can be reduced by brushing against the pile. There is a chance that our linen fabrics may crease. This is a natural outcome as a result of the fabric’s composition and won’t cause any long-term damage. It’s important to keep your furniture out of direct sunlight where possible to prevent colour fading and sun-bleaching. Some dyes can transfer from the fabric to your clothes, so try to avoid wearing light colours on heavily dyed, dark fabrics where possible. Likewise, be careful when wearing heavily dyed clothing on a light sofa, especially if the clothes are slightly damp. If dye transfer does occur, call a furniture cleaning specialist immediately.

Legs & Castors

sofa leg

All furniture must be placed on a level floor to avoid rocking and damage to the frame. Use felt pads to protect wooden flooring from scratches. The legs need to be screwed in correctly to evenly distribute the weight on the sofa. Check the legs regularly to ensure they haven’t spun out of position. Don’t over-tighten the screws in the legs. Avoid dragging furniture as this can potentially damage the legs and castors. If you move your furniture, check that the legs are properly in position before you put any weight on the sofa.

Sofa Beds

Bertie sofa bed

Sofa beds are firmer than normal sofas as the seat cushions are on top of the folded bed frame, rather than a traditional spring unit. That’s not to say a sofa bed is uncomfortable to sit on; ours are particularly comfy (but it is worth remembering) when you make your comparisons. When opening and closing the sofa bed, do not be forceful. If you encounter any resistance, stop to check that nothing is preventing it from opening/closing. It’s normal for the sofa bed to creak and squeak slightly during use. We use pocket sprung mattresses in our sofa beds.

Top Tip

Our Staingard cover provides an at-home professional cleaning service, and a genuine, clean, repair and replace policy.

Sofa Care Tips

  • Avoid sitting on the edge of your seat as it can weaken the front spring unit.
  • The arms of your sofa are not designed to carry an adult’s body weight so avoid sitting on them – only use them to rest your arms, legs and heads.
  • Be careful of your clothing as belt buckles, studs and jewellery can all cause wear and tear to the fabric.
  • Avoid putting your sofa too close to an open fire or radiator as too much heat can damage the fabric.
  • It is important to lift the sofa instead of dragging it as this protects your flooring and carpets as well as prolonging the life of your legs and castors.
  • Keep furniture away from direct sunlight to avoid colour fading and sun-bleaching.
  • Regularly plumping cushions will help them keep their shape, as, over time, feathers can migrate to the corners or start coming through the covers (like a duvet).
  • Avoid heavy spot cleaning – most fabrics are heavily dyed, and spot cleaning may remove the dye.
  • Where needed, regularly swap reversible cushions to ensure even wear.
  • Regular vacuuming and brushing will help prevent long-term damage to the upholstery.
  • Wipe up spills immediately to prevent them seeping into the fabric. Blot the spill but don’t scrub it as you might lift the dye.
  • Avoid contact with household chemicals such as cosmetics, hair sprays, insect repellents, and cleaning materials.
  • Regularly check the position of your sofas legs to ensure they haven’t spun out of place.
  • Never force a zip closed. Make sure they are aligned and if you have trouble, remove the cover and be sure nothing is trapped or preventing the zip from closing.

Fabric & Upholstery Information

  • Every piece of our furniture is handmade and tailored to you. This means that stripe, check and patterned fabrics may not be cut and upholstered exactly as shown on the website.
  • The rendered images are a guide and are not completely representative of the finished product. Seams and pattern match may differ from what is shown.
  • There is a possibility of shade variation in fabrics as they are batch dyed; however, we endeavour to ensure this is minimal where applicable.
  • Fabric swatches should be used to give you a guide as to what the material will look like in your home. The finished upholstered product may differ slightly due to natural variations and dye batch variation.
  • Our renders are a close second to the physical swatches; however, we cannot guarantee that your computer’s display will show the true colour of the fabric. The fabric swatches you order may therefore look slightly different from the computer-generated image.

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