Monday, February 23, 2009

How to Care for Textile Furnishings


Fabrics intended to be used for home furnishings are quite expensive and as such they can not be replaced frequently. Select furnishing fabrics according to their intended usage. For example, when buying for sofa in the family room, where it will have maximum usage, fabric should be durable and stain resistant such as nylon, olefin, polyester or rayon. Cotton, too, is durable but is not so much stain resistant. However, the soft feel of cotton and linen provides comfort and they can be used as upholstery in the interior rooms where they'll not be used so often. Here are some other tips for caring and cleaning your upholstery.

Read the Labels: Always read labels to know the manufacturer's care instruction so that you may properly clean the fabrics without damaging them. Usually, all precautions needed for textile care is provided through symbols indicating whether a fabric can be washed, bleached, ironed, dry-cleaned or tumble-dried. Follow the instructions for longer life of your upholstery.

Clean & Care for Home Furnishings: Regular cleaning & caring is essential for all home furnishings.

  • Vacuum blinds and curtains, including linings, once a week to avoid building up of dirt on them. Use an upholstery attachment for this. When cleaning delicate fabrics, stretch muslin over the nozzle. Get them professionally cleaned every 2-3 years.

  • Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean feather or down cushions as it will damage the fillings. Don't use soap or detergents on fixed covers as they may cause colors to bleed.

  • Except when labeled as washable, always dry clean the loose covers. Cotton or linen covers can be hand-washed but don't rub the fabric. Squeeze it gently, and rinse extremely well. Avoid drying in direct sunshine or tumble drying, instead dry flat. Iron covers lengthwise, on a very low heat, while they are still damp.

  • Keep leather upholstery away from sun, if not possible, protect with curtains and blinds. If scratched, rub it over with a wet cloth to make the scratches less visible. To wipe away spills, moisten the entire surface evenly & lightly and allow drying naturally. Don't apply direct heat.

  • Steam clean the trimmings, including tassles and fringed trimmings, on soft furnishings. Keep it gentle. Use soft artist's brushes to dust rosettes and ruched braids.

  • When dry cleaning, always clean the whole set to avoid uneven color change.

  • Turn the cushion covers regularly for evenly spread color fading. Also change their places as some of the seats are more used than others. This'll ensure even wear & tear. Stashing some cotton terrycloth towels under seat cushions can efficiently deal with unexpected spills.

  • Don't pull or cut any loose threads. Using a needle or pin, gently push the thread back through to the underside of the fabric.

Spot Cleaning: Use fabric protectors that help in keeping spills from being absorbed into the fibers right away. Anyway, its not enough. Blot any spills immediately with a clean towel. Never rub, only blot gently. Sometimes this is enough to get rid of the stain completely, especially if the fabric has been pre-treated with a fabric protector. If using a fabric cleaner, always test in an inconspicuous area before using. Follow manufacturer's instructions regarding water based or solvent based cleaner. Try to use a mild cleaner. Apply with a soft brush in a circular motion to work into the fibers, then vacuum when dry.

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