Know How: How to care for linen upholstery

We adore natural linen fabric and think it makes a smart, sophisticated and relaxed look for interiors. It’s very much on-trend for homes in 2018-2019 thanks to its tactile feel and textured appearance. Linen is a natural material made from flax. It will crease, and this adds to its character and charm and should not be thought of as a flaw. It’s important to care for linen to help it age well and last you a lifetime. Here are our top tips for how to clean a linen sofa.

Perfect Staycation sofa in linen Jackson loose cover chaise sofa

Vacuum regularly

To prevent crumbs and dust from damaging the fabric, and smaller particles embedding themselves between the weave, be sure to vacuum your sofa regularly. Lift any unfixed cushions and vacuum underneath and along all seams. This will help to keep your furniture looking smart and to prevent any long-term damage. Use a furniture brush to remove pet hair and any smaller surface dirt.

Don’t rub stains or spills

If something spills on your furniture, use a clean, damp cloth to soak up the liquid. Don’t scrub the cloth and grind the stain into the fabric as this will make it much harder to clean – not to mention damaging the surface of the fabric. Dab and lift for the best results. Darker linens are more heavily dyed, so please bear this in mind for any spot cleaning as the dye may lift, leaving a lighter patch.

Use a mild soap or detergent

For slightly more stubborn stains and spills, a mild detergent can be used, but again, remember not to scrub the stain, try to lift it. Never use a scourer as this will damage the surface of the linen. Use either a flannel or the soft side of a sponge – both should be white or very light in colour. Bicarbonate of soda is also a good option to help lift hard-to-remove stains from the fabric. Sprinkle onto the stain and then vacuum off, before using a clean damp cloth to dab the stain.

Keep away from direct sunlight

Linen furniture is not suited to places in direct sunlight as the fabric can become sun damaged. If you are going to put your linen sofa in a conservatory, then be sure to fit blinds or curtains to the windows to prevent direct exposure to sunlight. If your living room is naturally bathed in sunlight, we would recommend choosing a lighter coloured linen to prevent any obvious fading.

Machine washing

We strongly recommend dry cleaning or having sofa covers professionally cleaned. However, some removable cover sofas can be taken off and washed in the washing machine. Linen covers should be washed at 30 degrees or less, and on a slow spin cycle so as not to shrink the material. When the wash has finished, remove the covers from the machine immediately to avoid creasing as much as possible. Hang the covers out to dry over a clothes horse and be sure not to use pegs or clips that pinch and mark the fabric. For any stubborn creases, use a warm iron or steamer to remove them. When the cover is almost dry, put it straight back on the sofa to keep the shape (do not put in a tumble dryer). If you have more than one piece, be sure to wash all the covers to maintain the colour consistency. If your fabric has been protected with Staingard, it cannot be put in the washing machine as this will remove the protective treatment.


Staingard is still the best option when you purchase your linen furniture to protect it against all future damages and spills. If your linen sofa has been covered with Staingard, you’ll find it much easier to mop up any spills, plus you’ll also feel safe in the knowledge that a professional at-home care team is on hand to help repair damages, plus you’re covered by a genuine ‘clean, care or replace’ policy.

Find out more about our Staingard option here.

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