A lot of the questions I receive on the blog or Instagram are in regards to how I upkeep particular pieces in my apartment. Over the years a lot of them have been directed at my sofa, particularly the cushions and the fabric. It is no secret that I am very type A and I like things just so. There are many things I don’t care about, but for whatever reason a sloppy looking sofa isn’t one of them (unless it’s intentional and somehow looks incredibly cool and inviting – which mine does not when messy).
I like to actively maintain the cushions by flipping and puffing them up weekly. It might seem excessive, but it has become so routine at this point and honestly adds a lot of longevity to the piece since you aren’t sitting on or up against the same spot day in and day out. This is why I prefer bench style seat cushions. I simply flip them over (obviously with a sectional you can’t flip the chaise piece), smooth it out and quickly use my fabric shaver to remove any excess pilling. Then I lay the back cushions flat, move the fill in an upward motion so it evens out the shape and quickly run the shaver over those. This is especially important with polly filled cushions that can start to look very lumpy over time. They don’t move the same way a down fill does so you want to manually break up some of that density by pushing on the cushion. Then I lay my pillows flat and move the down fill around to give them that nice plump shape. The whole process takes under ten minutes and leaves the sofa looking brand new.
How do I keep my cat from sinking his claws into my sofa?
We struggled with this for a long time! Norman ripped apart the left arm of our previous sectional. We got him as a kitten and from day one he just latched onto that arm, it became his personal scratching post. When we bought our new sofa last year I was set on having a solution and I found one that actually works. I stumbled on this very unattractive “scratching bed” that he is completely in love with. He never once used a scratching post, but he immediately went for this. We keep it under the coffee table close to the arm he used to scratch and he goes for that instead. I also put a thin throw blanket (that blends into the couch) over the arm and the side he has access to for the first few months of getting it. He got so used to not being able to sink his claws in that now he doesn’t even try to. I have also found the anti scratch spray has worked (albeit not as well) on some of other pieces like the chair. Cats also love natural fiber rugs. I found when we put the jute rug in the living room he was able to dig his claws into that without tearing it apart, so I always recommend those!
For Upholstery Cleaning
Luckily I have never had a massive spill on our light colored sofa (fingers crossed), but stains and messes are inevitable with upholstered furniture. For clients with children that really want a light colored couch I always recommend scotch guarding beforehand or using a more durable fabric like Crypton. These aren’t fool proof, but help create a bit of a barrier off the bat so the stain can’t completely sink in. You can scotch guard any upholstery yourself (chairs, headboards, cushions on kitchen stools), but with larger items it might be better to have a professional come in and do it. If you do get a stain on your upholstery, Folex is magical. It is technically a carpet cleaner, but it can be used on upholstery that can handle water. You want to make sure you don’t end up making the stain worse by creating a giant water spot, so definitely read the instructions, but it is one of the best cleaners I have used.
To maintain my headboard, since there are no real stains, it just collects dust and has pilled over time – I use my fabric shaver (can you tell I use this a lot?) and then take a clean dish towel with hot water (adding a little bit of soap) and wipe it across the surface in large sweeping motions. I never want the towel to be so wet that the headboard is absorbing water, so I do this rather lightly and then come in with a dry towel to pick up any excess. I will often go over one more time with the fabric shaver since I find it not only picks up pills, but gives a fresh look to the piece. Steam cleaning is also a great way to deep clean upholstery and make it look new.
Get A Shop – Vac
I am a bit obsessed with vacuuming. I absolutely loathe deep cleaning (scrubbing floors, showers – you name it), but since vacuuming doesn’t take long and instantly makes our apartment look a lot cleaner, I don’t hate it. I used the Dyson cordless vacuum for years and now we have the Shark (after the Dyson refused to hold a charge). That is our everyday vacuum and it works great, but there is nothing quite like the power of a shop vac. We live in an old apartment with a ton of natural light which equates to a lot of dust. We also have a cat that tracks liter onto a jute rug, so an everyday vacuum isn’t always the most effective. Probably twice a month, I pull out the shop vac and clean everything from the grooves in the jute to lamp shades and our bookcases. It picks up dust and dirt so well and although it is much more time consuming since you aren’t just sweeping it around – it works! I run it over the drapery, baseboards, sofa, under the dresser and the bed. I have noticed such a big difference when I take the time to do it and end up vacuuming a lot less in between. We don’t have a big place so I bought a rather small one, but I am thinking of upgrading to the cordless!