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  • Writer's pictureTri City Furniture, Auburn

Upholstery Care

The Basics Are Simple

Nothing says “home” better than your own favorite room furnished to ensure your comfort. There is nothing more satisfying than the aesthetic pleasures you derive from a beautiful room you helped design (well……maybe we could think of a few things).

Quality upholstery should serve you. You should not live in fear of living on your new furniture. So go ahead. Live a little. Live a lot. There are simple solutions to keeping your new upholstery investment crisp and clean for years to come.

Upholstery Care

Every Day Living

The Basics

For years they’ve been making this little attachment for vacuum cleaners called an upholstery brush. It works great on the car seats, so why not try it in your home. Your vacuum cleaner also has an attachment used for dusting draperies and furniture. It has longer bristles and is less abrasive to your upholstery fabric. You might want to use this brush versus the upholstery brush if your fabric deserves a softer brushing.

Professional cleaning is the best way to make a slightly soiled sofa look new again, but once a week vacuuming will make professional cleaning a less frequent event. Be sure to dust vacuum the top surfaces as often as possible (i.e. seat cushions, the tops of the arms, the top of the back, etc.).

Spills and Thrills

Lets face it….the only thrill is if the spill can be cleaned out of the fiber of the fabric. Today’s new fabric treatments improve the chances of your fabric’s survival. Fabric protection products are usually applied by the retail store for an additional cost. Most of the various brands work the same way by causing spills and soil to sit on the surface of the fiber instead of migrating to the fiber’s interior.

Today’s fiber protection products are free of ozone damaging chemicals, most are hypoallergenic, and invisible to the eye. Some even provide additional UV protection to color fading caused by intense light. The greatest benefit of fabric protection products is that they come with specific written warranties that provide peace of mind.

Whether your new upholstery has been fabric protected or not, one should follow the same basic guidelines in cleaning liquid spills or surface soil that can’t be brushed off (such as newspaper ink).

  • Blot! Don’t rub. Use a clean, dry and very absorbent 100% cotton cloth. Should you have to use paper towels to blot out spills be sure the paper towel (or cloth) is white as colors in the towel may, when applied to a wet surface, fade onto the upholstery. Color from one fabric can rub off onto another fabric, even when dry, a process known in the industry as “crocking”.

If blotting with a dry cloth doesn’t quite finish the job, then check the cleaning code of your fabric to determine whether to use a water based or solvent based solution for additional cleaning. If you are not sure, consult a professional upholstery cleaner. The cleaning code and fabric fiber content for your upholstery should be obtained at the time of purchase and may still be obtained at the store where you made your purchase,

Never Apply Cleaning Solutions to Visible Areas of Your Upholstery Before First Testing on Areas That Are Not Visible.

Once you’ve determined the cleaning code and fabric content the best and correct cleaning solution can be chosen. Apply the solution to the surface of the stain or spill and allow it to slightly saturate the fabric. Water based solutions should be mixed with distilled water to eliminate possible fading due to bleach in the water or discoloration’s or “rings” caused by excess minerals found in tap water. Be careful not to allow the solution to penetrate and saturate the inner seat cushion or back pillows. The fabric should be generously moist, but not to the point that the fillers used under the fabric become saturated. Use a clean, soft, absorbent, and colorless towel to blot the spill. This wicking action will further lift the spill from the interior fibers. Also, remember to use cool or cold solutions. Never use HOT solutions or HOT water that could cause fading or fabric shrinking.

Slipcover Care and Cleaning

Slipcovers can be cared for in the same way that one cares for any other upholstered product. This means dust vacuuming frequently and spot cleaning as described above. Slipcovers offer the added advantage of being removable for home laundering (if you chose a pre-washed fabric, check on the fabric code or with the store where you purchased i you do not know.) or carry in service from your local professional upholstery cleaner** or laundry.

Each slipcover style is delivered with instructions for removing the slipcover, cleaning and care, and then placing the slipcover back onto the sofa, loveseat, chair or sleep sofa. .

The nuts and bolts of Slipcover care and cleaning are in our brochure, which is available for advance reading in stores that offer our slipcover styles. Our pre-washed fabrics make it is as simple as washing in cold water using mild detergents and a gentle wash setting. Be sure to split the pieces so the machine is not over loaded. Place into a dryer for 5 minutes at the lowest possible heat setting. Line dry until slightly damp and place back onto the sofa to finish drying.

You might also want to check every seam of a slipcover that it is serged to prevent thread tangles. All you have to do is remember to close the zippers and Velcro tabs. Failure to do so can cause harm to your slipcovers that are not covered under warranty.

Fabric Protection and Slipcovers

We’re often asked if fabric protection is needed for slipcovers. As mentioned earlier, most fabric protection products offer written warranties regarding stain removal. These warranties are independent of the upholstery warranty. This written fabric protection warranty is the single most important benefit to fabric treating slipcovers.***

Many of the fabric protection manufacturers will provide the warranty service even after the slipcover is cleaned. Some fabric protection manufacturers formulate their product differently and will require you to reapply the treatment after cleaning. This is easily done since the slipcover can be removed and taken back to the retailer for application.

Three kids, two dogs and a cat are just a few good reasons that slipcovers make perfect sense. Its a wonderful life….and it just got better.

**We suggest that you select a Professional Upholstery Cleaner that is a certified member of the IICRC (Institute of Inspectors, Cleaning and Restoration). Call 1.800.835.4624. Please note some professional upholstery cleaners may offer in-home cleaning only.

***Applying fabric protection products may void most warranties offered by the upholstery manufacturer. The warranty offered by the manufacturer of the fabric protection provider may, however, offer many of the same benefits. Ask your sales consultant for more details.

***Tri-City Furniture does not assume any liability for improper cleaning of upholstery fabrics and recommends that you check with a professional upholstery cleaner before cleaning.


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