CELEBRATING 31 YEARS!1989 - 2020

Caring For Your Upholstered Furniture

by Katie Eckelberry

Upholstered Furniture - Header - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings

A piece of upholstered furniture can add an instant touch of style and comfort to any room in your home. There are endless patterns and colors to choose from, allowing you to create a piece that is truly tailored to you and your design preference. However, when it comes to fabric and leather, there are a few maintenance and care tips you ought to know to keep your upholstered piece looking as lovely as the day you bought it.

Cleaning and Maintaining Fabric Upholstery

We are all human, and unfortunately, that means some stains and spills are all but unavoidable. But fear not: there are ways to clean those mistakes away. When it comes to cleaning your fabric furniture, it’s important to use the proper technique for your fabric. Many fabrics come labeled with one of four specific cleaning codes that dictate what methods should be used to treat any stains or build-up on the furniture. The four codes are S, W, W/S, and X

An S cleaning code specifies that only dry solvents should be used to clean the fabric. In other words, no water or liquid cleaner should be applied to fabrics with an S code as saturation could damage the fabric. To prevent any unwanted and unintended damage or color fading, it is recommended that you test your cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous patch of fabric before treating any large, noticeable areas. 

Robin Bruce Darcy Two Cushion Sofa - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings


On the opposite side of the spectrum, a W code means that a water-based cleaning solution, such as a foam cleaner or fabric shampoo, should be used to treat the fabric. These fabrics are the simplest to clean as you can either work stains out with a brush or use a carpet cleaner with an upholstery attachment. However, be careful not to oversaturate the fabric and do not attempt to machine-wash your fabric. As with the dry solvents, you should try out your cleaner in a discreet spot first to ensure that it is suitable for the fabric.

As you may have already guessed, a W/S code indicates that both dry solvents and water-based solutions like foam cleaners and fabric shampoo can be used, and the same spot check recommendation listed above applies here as well. And lastly, an X code signifies that neither solvent nor water-based cleaners should be used to treat the fabric. For fabrics with an X code, any cleaning must be done either through light brushing with a stiff brush or vacuuming.

When it comes to treating stains on fabric, it is best to act as quickly as possible. First, use a cloth or paper towel to blot away as much of the substance as possible.  After applying your cleaning solution, work from the outside of the stain towards the center, using a soft brush and circular motions; doing so will ensure that you do not spread the stain or cause it to bleed. After you’ve treated the stain, allow it to air dry, and do not expose it to direct heat.

Rowe Beckett Chair - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings


With regards to maintenance, there are a few simple steps you can take to protect and prolong the life of your upholstered furniture. The first of these steps is to regularly vacuum your furniture. Easy enough, right? Vacuuming your furniture on a weekly or biweekly schedule will help diminish the need for cleaning as it stops dirt particles from being ground into the fabric. 

Another step you can take is to place your furniture in the right location. You’ll want to avoid placing your furniture in areas that will be exposed to direct sunlight, as such exposure can cause your fabric to fade. Similarly, you don’t want to place your upholstered furniture anywhere it will be subject to fumes such as those from cooking. This will not only help keep your fabric clean but also help prevent it from absorbing unpleasant odors.

Rowe Martin Sectional Sofa - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings

When moving your upholstered furniture it is always best to pick it up rather than dragging it.  Dragging any furniture can cause stress or breakage on legs, frames, and related joinery. Finally, one last simple act of maintenance is turning and fluffing any loose cushions. By turning and rotating your cushions as well as fluffing or plumping them back to their original shape you can ensure that the wear and tear on your furniture is evenly dispersed. This practice will also help prevent cushions from developing permanent indentations or sagging.

Cleaning and Maintaining Leather Upholstery

A piece of leather upholstered furniture is an investment in quality and comfort that will last and look beautiful for years to come. Though it does require its fair share of care to keep it in good condition, thankfully, it’s nothing too complicated. 

For starters, you’ll simply want to clean and dust your leather furniture once every few weeks, wiping it down with a soft, slightly damp cloth, always using circular motions. When cleaning, a good vacuuming may also be necessary to remove any potential debris that may have built up between the cushions and in crevices. In addition to everyday cleaning, it is advisable to treat your leather furniture with a good conditioner every six to twelve months.

McKinley 4221 Chair and 4220 Ottoman - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings

If you ever spill anything on your leather furniture, treat it immediately. Blot it with a dry cloth to absorb as much of the moisture as possible. But remember, never wipe a stain, and do not attempt to dry the stain afterwards; allow it to air dry. Additionally, do not apply large amounts of water or turn to detergents and cleaning solutions to remove stains as these can cause further damage to the leather.

Protecting your leather is mainly about taking precautions and removing any potential hazards before they can cause damage. Firstly, you should be aware of any printed or dyed materials that you may leave on your leather furniture. Leather, being a natural material, easily absorbs inks and dyes, meaning that any printed or dyed material left on your leather furniture may create stains that can be permanent. Similarly, try to avoid having sharp objects near your leather furniture as leather scratches very easily.

Another step you can take to keep your leather supple and beautiful is as simple as placing it somewhere that is not exposed to prolonged, direct sunlight or heat sources such as registers and fireplaces. If exposed to consistent heat, leather may become stiff, discolor, and even split.  And, of course, the same tip applies to leather furniture as fabric furniture: when moving it always lift rather than dragging.

McKinley 4314 Adele Sofa - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings

A piece of upholstered furniture can be a great addition to your home, full of design and style. With dozens of fabrics and leathers to choose from, the possibilities are endless, and if you remember these cleaning and care tips, your upholstered furniture will be keeping you and your family comfortable for many, many years. If you have any further questions or would like to know more about the upholstered furniture available at Geitgey’s Amish Country Furnishings, check out our blog to learn more or feel free to call, email, or visit. Our knowledgeable sales team would be happy to help you in any way we can.


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