BUYING a lounge suite is a considerable investment, and it will require regular care, cleaning and maintenance to keep it looking good as new. Here are a few tips from Grafton Everest on how to properly maintain your lounge suite or sofa:Prevention is better than cureYou can reduce the amount of damage your soft furnishings suffer by taking a few simple precautions:- Reduce the level of airborne pollutants in you home as much as possible. For example, use an extractor over your cooker - greasy cooking fumes will settle in the fabric of your furniture. Also, prohibit smoking in the house - cigarette smoke will discolour upholstery fabric and give it an unpleasant odour.- Keep your furniture out of direct sunlight – this will prevent fading and prolong the life of the fabric.- Consider placing covers over armrests and the tops of cushions to protect these areas from hair and skin oils.- Regularly turn the cushions on the sofa to spread wear and tear.Day-to-day cleaningIf you remove loose dirt and debris on a regular basis, it has less chance to work its way into the fibres of your fabric upholstery. A sticky lint roller is great for picking up any hair, crumbs and dust that might be left on your sofa. Using a lint roller has the advantage of lifting the nap of the fabric, rather than flattening it and pushing dirt deeper into the weave as a brush might. Vacuum your fabric upholstery once a week using a purpose-made furniture nozzle and the crevice attachment for the more difficult to reach places. Regular vacuuming removes dust and prevents it building up within the fibres of the fabric.Washing fabric upholsteryCheck the label on the back of the furniture for cleaning instructions. Some furniture is upholstered in fabric that can be damaged by water or detergent. If your furniture is marked “dry-clean only”, it’s likely you’ll need to have it professionally cleaned. Before washing a piece of furniture, test the cleaning solution on a small unobtrusive area to see how it handles and prevent bleaching, colour bleed or other adverse fabric reaction in a more conspicuous area.WashingWhen cleaning upholstery fabric, it is important that you keep the use of water to an absolute bare minimum. Getting upholstery too wet can result in fabric shrinkage and watermarking. Similarly, water should not come into contact with any metal parts of the furniture, particularly the zips of cushion covers, as it will cause rusting, which will damage functionality and the rust could bleed and stain the upholstery.To clean fabric upholstery, follow the steps below:• Mix a solution that comprises a quarter-cup of dishwashing liquid and one-cup warm water. Make sure the water is only warm, and not hot.• Whisk this solution using an electric hand mixer until stiff, dry suds form.• Using a clean cotton cloth, working on one small area at a time, massage the suds gently into the fabric.• Use a rubber cooking spatula to scrape off the dirty suds.• Rinse the area with clean water by dabbing with a damp cloth. Make sure the cloth is only damp, and not wet.• Allow the fabric to dry thoroughly before use. To speed up the drying process, you can use a fan. Never place the furniture in the sun to dry as it could bleach the upholstery.As good as newBy ensuring a clean environment around your furniture, regularly removing surface dirt, and by using the suds cleaning method outlined above, you’ll keep your fabric upholstery looking as good as new for years to come. - Property24.