The only sure way to protect your fine upholstered furniture is to put thick plastic over it and not allow your family to use it. Since that would be impractical, not to mention take all of the enjoyment out of your furniture, the next best thing is to use commercially available fabric protectors. Try as you might to tell people to be careful, accidents are bound to happen, and fabric protectors, applied properly, can increase the life of upholstered pieces, and reduce the damage and help prevent stains.
Fabric protectors are sold under a variety of brand names including Scotchguard and Teflon, and consist of microscopic molecules that are sprayed onto the fibers of fabrics. These chemicals fill the minute cracks and crevices of the fibers and prevent dirt and other materials from being lodged in the openings. When liquids or other substances are spilled on the fabric, they appear to roll off because there is no way for them to penetrate. These fabric protectors can either be applied at the mill when the fabric is being produced, or they can be applied by the store where you purchase your furniture, or they can be applied at home using a spray.
When you purchase upholstered furniture ask if the fabric has a protector already applied. You may want to request that the store do this before you have your furniture delivered. If you decide to do it yourself, make sure your furniture is completely free from dirt first. Vacuum and brush the piece thoroughly, since any dirt embedded in the fibers will become permanently locked in after you treat it, which defeats your whole purpose. Spray the piece thoroughly following manufacturers directions and allow to dry. Fabric protectors do not last indefinitely, but even when they begin to diminish, treated fabrics are still more resistant to stains and accidents. You may want to thoroughly clean and protect your upholstered furniture once a year to reduce the chance of stains, and to increase the life of your furniture. By applying fabric protection, you eliminate the need for frequent scrubbing to remove stains, which can eventually damage the fibers of the fabric and allow pieces to become worn. Properly treated and maintained upholstered furniture can provide years of enjoyment.
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