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.

A Guide to Upholstery Cleaning

How to prolong the life of your upholstery

Upholstery fabric 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.)

If you have young children, sticky fingers and biscuit crumbs are likely, so investing in an easy-to-clean sofa with durable and hardwearing fabric is a must. It is important to remove stains before they sink in. Use a slightly damp, clean cloth (preferably muslin) to blot any spills as quickly as possible, but do not scrub the stain as this will risk damaging the pile, particularly on velvet fabrics. If too much water is used it can result in watermarks and discolouration. We strongly recommend not using a cleaning solution on any 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 fabrics are 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 our Staingard policy – contact Staingard for more information. If you’re ever in doubt, seek professional advice before attempting to clean upholstery yourself.

Jackson loose cover sofa perfect for staycation summer style

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. We suggest choosing linen for slouchy, relaxed style sofas as the natural stretching of the fabric will contribute to the relaxed look and be less noticeable in comparison to a sleek, firm sofa shape. Always position furniture away from direct sunlight.

Harriet loose cover sofa

When your loose cover furniture arrives, our delivery service will put the covers on; however, there may be some creases, and the sofa will need to be dressed. If you order a replacement cover, when it arrives, it’s important to unfold it and put it straight onto the sofa frame. In either case, most creases should drop out within a few days; however, for very persistent creases, gentle steaming with a clothes steamer can help lift them.

Furniture upholstery cannot go in the washing machine. We always recommend having loose-covers professionally cleaned. The washing guide will be sewn into your covers; please refer to these labels. If you have a clothes steamer, you can gently steam the covers once they are back on the sofa to help remove any persistent creases. Do not wash velvet covers. We are not liable for any damage caused to fabrics placed in the washing machine.

Holmes is the perfect modern armchair and leather snuggler chair for the elderly

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 (muslin), absorbent cloth. With a soft, dry cloth, dust your furniture regularly and ensure you use a vacuum cleaner (with a soft brush attachment) to prevent a build-up of dirt. Position sofas away from direct sunlight and radiators since leather can crack and fade when exposed to too much sun and heat. 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, or detergent soaps to clean leather. Contact Staingard for advice before using any cleaning solutions from their supplied care kit. Arlo & Jacob will not accept liability for any damage caused by solvents. If the stain persists, we recommend using a professional cleaning specialist to prevent long-term damage. Leather furniture does not have reversible cushions: this is to allow the cushions to breathe and prevent them from becoming full of air. All aniline leathers are delicate and sensitive hides that are dyed. They have a natural appearance but are vulnerable to marking, scratching and fading. Nature’s markings are part of the appeal of this material, and some colour variation can be expected.

Velvet is beautiful, but some are very delicate. Natural fibre velvet is not particularly family or pet-friendly. It can mark easily and getting it wet can permanently damage the appearance of the sofa. 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 you 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 all 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 remove any marks. Piling can happen on some higher pile velvets. Always position furniture away from direct sunlight.

The pile on velvet and chenille fabrics can naturally flatten over time. Such effects won’t cause too much harm to the wear of the fabric and can be reduced by brushing with 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. All upholstery fabrics should be colourfast. However, be careful when wearing heavily dyed clothing (such as jeans) on a light sofa, especially if the clothes are slightly damp. If dye transfer does occur from your clothes, call a furniture cleaning specialist immediately.

earnshaw large grey 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 (muslin) cloth to wipe up spills. Vacuum the sofa regularly using a soft brush attachment to avoid crumbs from being ground into the fabric. Wool can bobble, and some piling can be expected over time (but this can be removed with a bobble buster). Always position furniture away from direct sunlight.

Bertie sofa bed

Sofa beds have a firmer sit compared to regular sofas as the seat cushions are on top of the sofa bed mechanism, rather than traditional seat springs. 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. Check if the mechanism is tied on arrival. It’s normal for the sofa bed to creak and squeak slightly during use. We use pocket sprung mattresses in our sofa beds.


Our corner and chaise sofas are connected by a bracket. It’s important you check this bracket is attached securely before you put any weight on your sofa to avoid it bending. If you decide to move your sofa, be sure to un-hook the bracket and move each piece of the sofa separately. Do not try to move it in one piece, or drag it as you risk twisting the frame or breaking the bracket.

sofa leg

All furniture must be placed on a level floor to avoid rocking and damage to the frame. Use felt pads or castor cups to protect wooden flooring from scratches. The legs need to be screwed in correctly to distribute the weight on the sofa evenly. Check the legs regularly to ensure they haven’t spun out of position and use the fixing screws to secure them in place. 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 correctly in position before you put any weight on the sofa.

All Arlo & Jacob furniture conforms to UK law. Where necessary, fabrics are treated to ensure fire safety in accordance with the Furniture & Furnishings Regulations, and the chemicals used must conform to strict European laws. The foam in the cushions is also treated with fire-retardant chemicals. This occasionally gives the furniture a slight odour; however, this will dissipate a few days after being unwrapped. You may be able to purchase upholstery fabric that has not been treated with flame retardants: call us directly for advice on fabrics that are naturally fire retardant.

Our lifetime guarantee covers our hardwood frames and steel springs; it does not include upholstery. The lifetime guarantee does not apply to show-wood frames. This guarantee covers normal domestic use of the sofa and does not extend to commercial use. For full T&Cs on the lifetime guarantee, visit:

To increase the life of your cushions, regularly plumping them, turning them over, and swapping their position is essential. Flip cushions over a couple of times a week, and once a month unzip the case and beat the edges to redistribute the feathers and plump the fibre. It’s worth noting, feather cushions are a bit firmer when they arrive and will soften with time as the feathers start to break down. If they feel too firm, try and open the zip a bit to let some air out. Foam and fibre cushions will flatten with time, so regular plumping is essential to prolong their lifespan. It’s important to note that loose feathers can occasionally come through the upholstery.

We pattern-match all our upholstery. However, there are occasionally times when a joining seam is unavoidable, which can be due to the size of the fabric roll, or the curve of the frame. If a seam is unavoidable, we will have endeavoured to make it as unnoticeable as possible.

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 the seat.
  • 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 as this could result in pile damage and/or water stains.
  • Where needed, regularly swap reversible cushions to ensure even wear.
  • Regular vacuuming using a soft brush attachment, and/or 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 damage the fabric pile.
  • Avoid contact with household chemicals such as cosmetics, hair sprays, insect repellents, and cleaning materials.
  • Regularly check the position of your sofa legs to ensure they haven’t spun out of place (and use the fixing screws where provided).
  • Never force a zip closed. Make sure zips are aligned and if you have trouble, remove the cover and be sure nothing is trapped or preventing the zip from closing.

Patterned 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.

Request your free samples

If you’re happy with your selected fabric samples and product details cards, fill in your details below and we’ll pop your lovely Arlo & Jacob swatch pack in the post for free.

Your free fabrics

Your free details cards

Your details

Your Address details

(Don’t worry, we won’t share your data with anyone else).
Read our full privacy policy.