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Sustain your sofa with regular upholstery cleaning

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This sofa and pillow fabric selection offers a versatile design.

As one of the most hardworking pieces of furniture in your home, your sofa or couch deserves to be taken care of and kept clean.

Here are the ins and outs of proper upholstery care to help ensure that your investment piece will look fabulous for years to come.

Stains from food and drinks, pet hair and dirt from kiddo's bare feet are just a few solid reasons to clean and maintain your sofa and all other upholstered pieces on a regular basis. Check the manufacturer's label for proper care and cleaning, and follow the tips and methods below to have your upholstery looking picture perfect all year long.

Upholstery care tools:

— Garment steamer

— Lint roller

— Vacuum

Check your care tags to find out which cleaning solution works best for your sofa, and always try out a new cleaning solution with a test spot in a hidden area or on an extra swatch of fabric. Keep this in mind when purchasing: An upholstered piece that is only "vacuum-safe" likely won't live its best life in a home where spills are frequent and little hands smudge every available surface.

Here are the cleaning codes the upholstered furniture industry uses:

— "W" is the easiest to clean and means water-based cleaners are OK to use.

— "W/S" means either water- or solvent-based cleaners are safe.

— "S" means only solvent-based cleaning chemicals should be used.

— "X" means do nothing more than vacuum or brush the fabric.

The steps to proper upholstery care

Vacuum. Before serious spot treatment, use a handheld vacuum to remove loose particles. This will make it easier to identify and focus on troublesome stains when it comes time to clean. Use the upholstery attachment to vacuum the surface of the upholstery as well as underneath the cushions. Dust your leather upholstery periodically with a soft dry cloth to prevent dust and debris from building up.

Steam. Use a handheld garment steamer or bursts from your steam iron to kill surface dust mites. Go over the entire sofa, allowing just the steam to touch and penetrate the fabric. If you don't have a steamer or iron, skip this step.

Clean according to cleaning code found on manufacturers tag (listed above).

Annual cleaning. Even with exceptional home care, we recommend an annual professional cleaning to keep your upholstered pieces in tip-top shape.

Proper upholstery maintenance

General maintenance, including frequent seat and back cushion rotation, provides greater durability and longer life to your furniture. Reverse (top to bottom) and rotate (side to side) seat and back cushions often to distribute wear. Fluffing cushions at this time will keep the fill evenly distributed to minimize wrinkles and maintain the cushion loft and shape. And avoid placing your fabric and leather upholstery in direct sunlight and maintain a safe distance from any heat source.

With use, comfort wrinkles will begin to appear in the cushions and will be particularly noticeable with larger/longer cushions. This slight and expected softening of the foam and flattening of the fiber and feather components is a natural part of the upholstery maturing process and is not a material or manufacturing defect.

Feather/down fill is standard in throw pillows and requires frequent fluffing to maintain the loft and shape. Feathers and down may occasionally work their way through the down-proof ticking. This is normal and evidence of air properly moving through the pillow.

Don't overdo it. Do not rub or brush upholstery excessively, or you may cause fuzzing.

A note on deep cleaning upholstery

Sometimes the best of home efforts won't cut it. If you spilled an entire glass of wine on a fabric-covered sofa, especially a nonperformance fabric, or if a pet had quite the (smelly) accident or something else has got the best of your sofa, you may want to call in a professional cleaner. Letting the pros handle the stain will cost more, but it will take the stress off and ensure your sofa is getting the best possible treatment.

Selecting a new sofa is one of the biggest design decisions you can make for your space. So before investing in this key piece of upholstered furniture, make sure you also invest in its care. Take this as your sign to rotate those couch cushions (again), and happy decorating!

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