A sofa in a high-traffic area will need a sturdy, strong, easy-to-clean fabric. Certainly you will want to invest on a quality fabric for a beautiful showpiece in the living room. A well maintained sofa can last for years to come. So here’s a little something to start with:
Know your Fabric Well:
Cotton (Natural Fiber): Cotton provides good resistance to wear, fading, and pilling. It is less resistant to soil, wrinkling, and fire. Surface treatments and blending with other fibers often atone for these weaknesses.
Linen (Natural Fiber): Linen is best suited for formal or adult areas because it soils and wrinkles easily. And, it won’t withstand heavy wear. However, linen does resist pilling and fading. Soiled linen upholstery must be professionally cleaned to avoid shrinkage.
Nylon (Synthetic Fiber): Rarely used alone, nylon is usually blended with other fibers to make it one of the strongest upholstery fabrics. Nylon is very resilient; in a blend, it helps eliminate the crushing of napped fabrics such as velvet. It doesn’t readily soil or wrinkle, but it does tend to fade and pill.
Polyester (Synthetic Fiber): Rarely used alone in upholstery, polyester is blended with other fibers to add wrinkle resistance, eliminate crushing of napped fabrics, and reduce fading. When blended with wool, polyester aggravates pilling problems.
Rayon (Synthetic Fiber): Developed as an imitation silk, linen, and cotton, rayon is durable. However, it wrinkles. Recent developments have made high-quality rayon very practical.
Upholstery in General:
• When a fabric is made from more than one fibre type, where one is strong and other is weak, it tends to pill easily. As the weaker one wears and breaks while the stronger fibre holds the pills to the cloth.
• Dust and dirt cause upholstery to wear faster, we recommend vacuuming regularly with an upholstery attachment.
• Flip, rotate and fluff removable cushions regularly to ensure even wear and increase longevity.
• Feather and down cushions have excellent recovery, but much like down comforters or pillows, need to be fluffed more frequently to restore their loft.
• Tight, attached seat and back cushions will stretch and wrinkle with use. You can easily restore their appearance by smoothing the surface and tucking excess upholstery into the sides of the seat or back.
• To minimize fading, we recommend placing your upholstered pieces where they won’t be exposed to direct sunlight.
• An annual professional cleaning will keep your upholstery looking its best.
1. Vacuum fabric sofas regularly with an upholstery attachment using low suction.
2. Clean spills/marks immediately, as stains are harder to remove when they are left unattended.
3. Use Fabric Cleaner on spills and marks, as general household cleaners can damage fibres and discolour fabrics. Always refer to your fabric care label.
4. Prevent velcro and sharp objects such as rings or buckles from coming into contact with your furniture, as they may cause pulling or tearing of fabric.
5. Prevent pilling with regular vacuuming and cleaning to remove dirt and any loose fibres. Should pilling occur, a Fabric Pill Remover (available at department stores) is safe to use.
6. Protect fabrics from direct sunlight as this can result in fading, and weaken fibres.
7. Protect fabric at production stage. This extends fabric’s life by allowing liquid spills to ‘bead’ on the surface, becoming easier to soak up.
8. Organise an annual professional clean by an upholstery cleaner to maintain your sofa’s condition.
Loose fibers have a natural tendency to move to the surface of a piece of fabric, where they are subject to friction, which cause them to twist together into small balls. Pilling is more noticeable on man-made fibres. Natural fabrics shed loose fibers easily and less noticeably. While man-made fibers are notoriously strong, so the pills are anchored strongly to the fabric.
Pills are small bobbles which appear on the surface of some fabrics. Pilling does not indicate excessive wear or an inferior fabric. It occurs as a result of friction on the fabric surface, which loosens fibres and tangles them. Sometimes the fluffing appears and then disappears after a further period of use. These bobbles, which also appear on some garments, can be removed with a pilling comb or fluff shaver, generally available from department stores and dry cleaners.
Here’s how etch&bolts‘ curate the quality fabric for your sofa:
etch&bolts uses a blend of cotton and polyester, a good all-around choice for sofa fabric. The synthetic polyester element strengthens the fabric and minimises wrinkling, while the natural cotton element adds the comfort and eye appeal that buyers prefer. A sofa that is covered with a cotton&polyester blend are able to withstand the rigors of daily use in the average household.
So why not cotton&polyester blend? Start choosing from the range of colours that etch&bolts provide for your sofa customisation.
Here’s another guide for you on how to judge a sofa for quality.