A&M Home Furnishings


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Long-Term Sofa Care (Love)

Sam Moore Crawford

Sam Moore Crawford

We’ve been talking about sofas all month so thought we would wrap up with some short tips on caring for your new sofa.  You’ve taken the time to select that perfect sofa & it was a large investment in time and money, so let’s try to keep it looking wonderful (without covering it in plastic or anything!)

Frequent vacuuming or light brushing to remove everyday dirt & grime are suggested & cleaning by a professional furniture cleaning service is recommended when an overall soiled condition has been reached.   Blot all spills immediately with a dry clean cloth to remove spilled material. You should not take your cushion covers off to launder or dry clean (unless they are a washable slipcover). 

But also be aware that every fabric has a fabric code which gives recommendations on cleaning.  If you don’t know your fabric cleaning code, it’s best to find out before proceeding.

Fabric Cleaning Codes:  Each fabric has a cleaning code: W, S, SW/WS or X.  

Sam Moore Giatto

Sam Moore Giatto

Code W: Clean using the foam only from a water-based cleaner such as an upholstery shampoo product.  Apply the foam with a soft brush in a circular motion or cloth ( do not spray foam directly on fabric). And vacuum when dry.  Do not over wet the area. You may need to clean the entire panel from seam to seam plus always test in a small inconspicuous spot before cleaning.

Code S: Clean with a mild water-free solvent or dry cleaning product.  Do not use water or saturate the area with the cleaning product.  Clean only in a well-ventilated area and test in a small inconspicuous spot before cleaning. After the area is dried, you may need to brush with a soft bristle brush to restore the appearance.

Code X: Clean only by light vacuuming or soft brush.  Do not use any solvents.  Professional cleaning is advised.

There are a lot of performance fabrics on the market such as Crypton & Sunbrella.  These offer easier clean up of stains but still need the regular vacuuming & brushing maintenance to keep the everyday dirt from accumulating.  For more information on care of these fabrics, you can find care tips at www.crypton.com or www.sunbrella.com. 

Fabric Pilling

Some upholstery fabrics tend to pill.  This looks like small balls of fibers that form on the face of the fabric ( remember those sweaters that have pilled?).  This is caused by abrasion on the surface of the fabric, usually caused by sitting on the furniture with rougher textures, such as jeans.  Pilling can be compared to the shedding of fibers with a new carpet or rug. While it can be unsightly and a bit of a pain, pilling is not considered a defect or fabric flaw.  The fabric is not wearing away or disintegrating, and the problem is fixable and will diminish when the excess fibers are removed.  The simplest way to remove the pills is with a battery operated pill shaver (available in most sewing or fabric stores) and the time to start “shaving” your sofa is when you see the first pills.  Keep ahead of the pills, and they stop after several “shaves.”  If you wait until the entire sofa cushions are covered, you will spend a lot more time and get frustrated with the process. 

All fabrics pill to a certain extent with smooth, tightly woven fabrics and those made from tightly twisted yarns being the least likely to pill and the fabrics made from more than one type fiber type, where one fiber is strong and the other weaker, being more likely to pill.  The main thing is not to be alarmed, you have not purchased poor quality fabric, and your designer has not kept a fabric flaw from you, we simply do not know what fabric will pill under your everyday usage & wear & tear, which is why pilling is never covered under a manufacturer’s warranty. 

Cushion upkeep

Robin Bruce Brette

Robin Bruce Brette

ROTATE, FLIP & PLUMP UP!  That’s the sofa cushion mantra.  You should rotate and flip your cushions everytime you vacuum to provide even wear.  If you like your cozy spot on the end of your sofa, that’s fine, but flip and plump it up even if you don’t rotate it.  Plumping assists with getting air back into the cushion, especially if there are feathers and down in your cushions.  You might need to unzip your cushions, remove the casing part way & plump & fluff like the inside of a duvet.  And don’t forget those back cushions, remember to rotate, flip and plump those like a pillow.  If your back cushions are attached, you can’t rotate or flip, but you can access the inside by opening the zipper at the bottom, reaching your hand in & plumping & fluffing.  It might look a bit gymnastic, but you’ll get the hang of it.  Your sofa will look much neater, wear better & last longer.

Final tips

Just a couple of more reminders about sofa care.  Sunlight is beautiful but is an enemy of fabrics.  Everything will fade over time in direct sunlight, so this is another reason to flip & rotate those cushions ( and maybe rearrange the room occasionally).  Exposure to heat vents will also cause fabric, foam cushions and wood frames to have issues so try to maintain at least two feet between your sofa and any heat source. 

We want you to enjoy your sofa for many years to come & would be happy to answer any questions about sofa maintenance and care.  We are here to help!  


Allison Dollar