Caring for your fabric sofa

I've put together this care guide to help you keep your sofa looking its best for longer. With my handy top tips, you’ll always be on top of your sofa maintenance so you can enjoy your gorgeous furniture for many years to come.

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Everyday advice for looking after your fabric sofa

Keeping your fabric sofa looking its best for longer takes a little TLC, though if you follow my handy everyday hints and tips you won’t go wrong:

  • For maximum comfort, sit centrally on the cushions and avoid sitting on the arms or the front edge of your sofa, as this can speed up the wear process. Also, avoid putting any pressure on the side panels of a sofa, including the outside arms and back panels
  • Keep your curtains drawn or use a throw to cover any exposed fabric from direct or prolonged sunlight to avoid fading
  • Avoid placing your furniture too close to radiators or fires as excessive heat will cause fading or cracking to your furniture
  • Gently vacuum your fabric sofa once a week with a soft brush attachment to remove any dirt or dust, which over time can lead to dulling of the fabric – paying particular attention to the front of the arms
  • Plump additional scatter cushions once a day to retain their shape and comfort
  • Rotate reversible cushions regularly
  • As you have natural oils that build up on the sofa, in particular the arms and back cushions, it’s important you pay attention to those areas whilst doing your spot cleaning
  • Always check whether the cushion covers are washable before putting them in a washing machine
  • All removable seats and back cushions should be regularly plumped up, and if covered on both sides, turned regularly to even wear and maintain the shape

When moving your sofa, you should always enlist the help of another person to avoid the risk of damaging your sofa or injuring yourself. You may want to consider using furniture glides as this will make it easier to move your sofa and protect your flooring.

How to look after fibre and foam-filled cushions

Whether you choose soft fibre-filled seat interiors or a firmer foam seat interior, it’s important to look after them daily to keep them in good condition, ensuring you can relax in comfort every time you sit on your sofa. 

Fibre-filled cushions give sofas a ‘lived-in’ appearance due to their soft nature, so be sure to plump and reshape them daily to keep their shape and comfort, like you would with pillows on your bed.

Where fibre fill cushion covers are zipped, they should be unzipped during the plumping process as this will allow air to easily enter into the fibre fill interior whilst the plumping up takes place.

Turning and rotating fibre fill cushions twice weekly where it is possible to do so, will also help to maintain shape and improve resilience.

Foam-filled cushions start their life with a firmer appearance, but within the first few months of use they will soften. This is a natural process, so don’t worry, it’s not a fault of the product. Wherever possible, ensure all seats receive equal use.

If you have chosen a fabric sofa with fixed back cushions and arm pads, smooth out any creases daily to maintain the best look and shape. Similar to fibre-filled, be sure to plump and reshape your cushions regularly so they retain their shape.

For more advice on how to plump your sofa cushions, visit our sofa plumping guide.  

How to get stains & spills out of a sofa

Accidents are spillages are inevitable. To clean up the spill, start by using a clean towel or cloth to soak up as much of the excess as possible. Making sure to pat the area gently, being careful not to rub the spill into the fabric.

Next, consult your manufacturer's care guide to treat the rest of the spillage, keeping in mind that different fabrics may require different treatments.

If you have yet to purchase your fabric sofa, you may wish to purchase one of our fabric sofa care kits, which include specialist cleaning solutions designed specifically for fabric sofas. Please note, these kits are not available to purchase separately.

How to plump loose and fixed cushions

  • Daily plumping to bring air back into them – provides a fuller look for the foam cushions and prevents the fibres matting in the fibre cushions
  • Daily smoothing to prevent creasing, folds and shading
  • Daily aligning of the seams of the cushions helps to maintain shape and great looks 
  • Alternate seating to ensure even use and wear

Velvet sofa care

Velvet fabric sofas are silky soft to the touch as well as warm and soft to sit on.

Due to their soft composition and natural sheen, it’s important to always read the care instructions before attempting any cleaning when caring for velvet.

Always bear in mind that shading and variation in the pile direction for plush velvet sofas are a natural characteristic of the fabric and not a fault.

A regular light vacuum and a sweep with a light brush will keep off any dust and debris. 

If you incur any stains or spillages, always use a damp cloth to dab these away. Whilst cleaning up any spills or stains it’s important to blot gently and be careful to avoid scrubbing the pile as that’ll cause it to flatten.

Once you’ve finished cleaning your velvet sofa, make sure you push the pile back up to smooth it out and give its beautiful sheen and soft feel back. 

Please note: Be sure not to leave any items on your velvet sofa which may cause indentation as this is hard to hide and rectify if left for a prolonged period of time. 

Chenille sofa care

Chenille is a woven fabric that’s equally as soft and durable as velvet.These modern types of fabric have a raised pile, which create different shades when the pile is brushed one way or another.

You may notice light and dark shading appearing in some areas where the pile has been compressed or deflected from its original position. This is to be expected as the shading is caused by natural light bouncing off the fibres depending on the way the pile has laid which in turn creates shade variation. 

Like most sofa fabrics, chenille requires a weekly brush using a soft-bristled upholstery brush to go over the entire sofa in circular motions. This helps to loosen up any dirt or debris that may be sat within the fibres.

Gentle application of a clean, damp cloth can help to raise the pile, followed by brushing the pile back in the direction of its ‘lay’ when dry, may limit the visual effect of the creases. But, be careful not to soak the fabric. 

Equally, a regular vacuum using an upholstery attachment helps to prevent dirt from embedding into the fibres and building up over time, plus it will help maintain the surface appearance of the fabric and revive the pile.

If you do accidentally spill anything on your chenille sofa, remove the excess with a clean cloth or towel, then blot the affected area using our specially formulated cleaning products included in our specialist fabric care kit or follow the manufacturer's instructions.

It is best if you tend to any stains or spillages as soon as possible as a thick pile fabric such as chenille can absorb spills quite quickly, which then become a little more difficult to remove. 

Corduroy sofa care

A durable fabric that’s soft to touch, corduroy is a ridged velvet that has distinctive panel ‘cords’. For regular maintenance, a light vacuum and brushing with a soft brush in the direction of the corduroy’s nap will help keep dust and debris at bay. 

If you drop something on your corduroy sofa that you need to clean up, make sure to use a dampened, clean cloth and use our specialist cleaner in our fabric care kits to wipe down the corduroy upholstery or follow the manufacturer's instruction on how to best clean your corduroy sofa. Similar to most fabric sofas, allow the furniture to completely air dry and then, using a soft bristle brush, brush the upholstery in the direction of the nap of the corduroy to revive the pile. 

Jacquard weave sofa care

With jacquard weave, the design is woven into the fabric as opposed to being printed on. Sometimes the pattern has longer lengths of strands which are easier to snag – something to consider if you have furry paws or little feet running around.

A regular light vacuum and a sweep with a light upholstery brush should be enough to keep off any dust and debris. If you incur any stains or spillages, always use a clean, damp cloth to dab these away.

Jacquard is also a popular option for an accent fabric in cushions for added interest and texture so be careful to care for these the same. 

Flatweave sofa care

Flatweave upholstery is very similar to jacquard in composition, just without the raised texture.

To care for, it requires a regular light vacuum and a brush off with a light brush to remove any dust and debris.

For any stains or spills, always use a damp cloth to dab these away, being careful not to rub these deeper into the fabric. 

Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s care guide that will come with your sofa for full maintenance details. 

Bouclé sofa care

Bouclé is a heavy woven fabric crafted from looped yarn, giving it its highly textured surface. This is an incredibly durable fabric choice and isn’t susceptible to fading. 

Similar in softness to chenille, it can be cared for in the same way with light vacuuming and dusting off with a soft brush. For any stains or spills, always use a damp cloth to blot these away, being cautious not to rub these deeper into the upholstery.

As bouclé typically comes in light coloured fabrics you may need to be cautious of watermarks. I recommend our Fabric Care Kit that contains specially formulated cleaning products designed specifically for your fabric sofa. 

Leather sofa care

Wondering how to care for your leather sofa? There are many different types of leather which may require different care techniques. Read our leather sofa care guide for an in-depth look on how to keep your leather sofa in good condition.

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Paul O'Reilly

Written by:

Upholstery Service Manager

at ScS

10th February 2023

With over 30 years of experience working within Upholstery and nearly 20 years of service at ScS, Paul knows a thing or two about sofas. Along the way, Paul has trained in all areas of upholstery, modern and traditional, antiques and factory-produced pieces, creating, and restoring. Paul is passionate about making sure upholstery is properly cared for. His top tip is to care for the cushions on your sofa like you would do your pillows on the bed; dress them, plump them, smooth them and turn them. Spending just 5 minutes a day can keep you sofa looking its best.