There’s nothing better than lying on a plush couch in the middle of a lazy day. A good couch provides a place to nap, watch the big game, or cuddle with a loved one. But a good, well-used couch can also hold onto odor and harbor harmful allergens and germs that can make you and your family sick.

Having your upholstery cleaned by a professional will both extend the life of your fabrics and keep your home and household healthy. Professionals recommend that homeowners have their upholstery cleaned every one to two years. However, if your furry friend has made your loveseat her favorite napping place, you should have that area cleaned more often—at least every six months. In between professional cleanings, homeowners are encouraged to properly care for their fabrics. Keep an eye out for stains, and clean spills as soon as they happen. It’s important to refer to the furniture’s care instructions to make sure you’re giving your upholstery the proper care—for example, some fabrics can be damaged easily by water, while others require special detergents for cleaning. If you notice heavily soiled areas, have them professionally cleaned immediately to avoid permanent stains. It can be hard to restore damaged areas to their original appearance if deep stains are left untreated for too long.

Below are some common and specialty fabrics along with pieces of furniture that can greatly benefit from professional upholstery cleanings:

Common fabrics and materials: cotton, polyester, linen, wool, leather, chenille*, chintz*, rayon, nylon, microfiber, and suede

Specialty fabrics and materials: Haitian cotton, jacquard, mohair, silk, damask, and velvet

Commonly cleaned furniture: Sofa, recliner, ottoman, chaise lounge, dining chair, barstool, window treatments, headboard, office chair, and mattress

NOTE: While these fabrics are typically made with wool or cotton, chenille and chintz go through an additional process, which requires a different cleaning method than ordinary wool or cotton fabrics.

Once you know what pieces you would like to have professionally cleaned, research a couple of upholstery cleaning companies, and ask them about their cleaning methods. Find out what cleaning method the furniture manufacturer recommends, and compare the two processes—the upholstery cleaner’s method should be similar to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you want extra stain protection for your furniture or need to remove strong odors, some companies offer additional treatments like stain repellents and deodorizers.

With professional upholstery cleaning, you can reveal and preserve the beauty of your fabric. Not only will your clean upholstery brighten the room and extend the life of your furniture, but you will also be able to rest easy in the comfort of your spotless, freshened fabrics.

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Sources: Better Homes and Gardens; IICRC; Zerorez of Atlanta.

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