How to Protect Your Sofa Fabric

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Unprotected sofa fabric is subject to wear, stains, fading and damage, which can put a noticeable blemish on an otherwise good-looking room. Choose from sofa-prolonging measures, including protective treatments, cleaning techniques, covers and window considerations, to keep your sofa sun, grime and guest ready.

Fabric Protector: Once Isn't Enough

  • Everyday life includes accidental spills and stains, which are good reasons to treat sofa upholstery with an upholstery-fabric protector. Newly treated fabric may be purple-juice, muddy-paw and red-wine resistant, but it doesn't stay that way. Wear, steam-cleaning and environmental factors break down protective chemicals, leaving the fabric vulnerable. Do-it-yourself fabric-upholstery-protector kits are available, but their contents may have to be applied more often than commercial- or professional-grade treatments. Look to green, eco-savvy, people-safe products for worry-free protection.

The Valiant Vacuum

  • Your list of sofa protectors should include a vacuum cleaner and upholstery attachment. By vacuuming your sofa as needed, or at least monthly, you reduce wear from dust, dirt, crumbs or other fabric-"grinding" debris or particles. A dirty upholstery attachment can be more damaging than protective; vacuum the bristles before each use, and wash them with warm, soapy water when they get grimy. Allow washed bristles to dry fully before using the attachment -- for your and your sofa's safety.

Sun Safety

  • Sunlight robs color from upholstery, fading a sofa's fabric over time. If you can't arrange the furniture so that fabric-covered pieces are safe from ever-moving ultraviolet rays, turn to the windows for protection. Keep the curtains or blinds drawn during the day, or, if living like a mushroom in near darkness doesn't appeal to you, have the windows tinted with clear UV-protective film to slow fabric fading.

Slipcover Your Asset

  • One of the easiest ways to protect your sofa from body oil, dust, pet hair and life's smudges is by hiding it under a slipcover. A washable slipcover saves the sofa from wear, conceals any damage, and is relatively inexpensive to replace when it succumbs to stubborn stains or your style sensibilities change. Moreover, a slipcover offers stylish versatility: Put the cover on for everyday use, and take it off to expose a pristine sofa below for special occasions.

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