Skip to content

Sofa Maintenance: How to Take Care of Your Fabric Sofa

multi pillow back sofa with two accent chairs, two occasional tables and a three level coffee table in front of a feature wall with art and two large windows

You’ve been enjoying your beautiful sofa. It looks great in your home, the fabric is amazing, you use it every day – it’s exactly what you were looking for and perfect for your space! You definitely don’t need a new sofa, but how can you make sure you won’t need a new one for a while?!

There isn’t a ton of maintenance required with a high-quality sofa, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you’ll have that perfect sofa for as long as possible. 

At McElheran’s Furniture + Design, we’ve been furnishing rooms for life since 1994. And yes, we do have plenty of sofas in our showroom for you to choose from, but you already have one, don’t you? We’ll definitely be here when you want to make your next furniture purchase, but for right now, we just want to make sure that you get the most out of the sofa you have!

Sofa care and maintenance are often overlooked, or at least forgotten about over time. It’s kind of like flossing. You know you have to do it, it’s important, your dentist always reminds you, and for a couple of weeks after your appointment – you’re on top of it! But if it doesn’t become a habit, you’ll likely let your flossing fall by the wayside after a while.

Don’t let looking after your sofa end up like your flossing routine – unless you get better at both, then that’s actually a really good thing, and you should absolutely keep up with both of those!

Anyway, back to your fabric sofa.

In this article, our in-house designers, known as Design Guides, will take you through the regular maintenance of your fabric sofa. We’ll also touch on:

And before we get into it, we should also say that caring for your sofa is not meant to be labour intensive. These are just little things you can do here and there, but they make a huge difference ensuring you will enjoy your fabric sofa for many years to come. 

What should I do on a regular basis to increase the life of my fabric sofa?

Vacuum your sofa

Using the curtain attachment (the one with a lint-catching fabric strip), we recommend vacuuming your fabric sofa every couple of weeks or work it into your normal vacuuming schedule. And if you have pets that shed, you may want to amp up the number of times you do that.

Vacuuming your sofa will pick up any dirt or debris that could embed itself into the fabric, leading to micro-tears. A regular routine of vacuuming – or the odd lint roll, too – will keep dust from building up, which will prevent the colour of your sofa from dulling over time.

Fluffing of pillows and cushions

An occasional fluffing of a pillow or cushion will help revive and maintain its structure, especially if the fill isn’t tightly packed – like with down and feathers. If you notice that one back pillow may look fuller than another, a quick little fluff is usually all the pillows need.

Rotate, flip and reposition pillows and cushions

Putting your cushions and pillows in different positions will ensure that your sofa is wearing evenly. Wear-and-tear is normal for every piece of furniture, but if you’re diligent about flipping and rotating all the pieces you can, the wear will be less noticeable because it will be consistent throughout the entire sofa.

Some sofas come with back pillows and cushions that are specifically made to go on certain parts of the sofa, but if these pieces are interchangeable and flippable, take advantage of that and move them around as needed.

Make sure the seams on the fabric are in-line

When you can, take a peek at the seams on your cushions. Are they still in-line with the intended shape of the cushions, or have they shifted? If you notice that the seams are slightly off, simply pull them back to where they should be. If the seams are way off, you may need to unzip the cushion the tackle the problem from the inside.  

Check for spots and stains

While you’re vacuuming, fluffing, adjusting, and moving around cushions, you might as well take a closer look at your sofa. It’s really the perfect time to catch a little stain before it turns into a bigger problem.

tufted sofa and patterned accent chair around a round glass top coffee table over an area rug

Tips to extend the life of your sofa

Change up “your spot”

We all do it because we’re creatures of habit and oddly territorial. We find that perfect place on our sofa and it becomes “our spot,” where we lounge day, after day, after day.

It’s your sofa – that’s your space to decompress, we’re not going to tell you how to use it. But for the sake of your sofa’s longevity, it wouldn’t be the worst thing if you switched up your spot every once in a while. Sitting in different seats will keep any wear-and-tear consistent with the rest of the sofa.

Also, sit back and get comfortable! Your sofa will wear better when you really sit in it, as opposed to just hanging out on the edge of a cushion.

Read up on the warranty on your sofa

There may be some care and maintenance recommendations under your sofa’s warranty or helpful cleaning tips. It’s also good to know the guidelines of your warranty before you take any sort of major action into your own hands.

Lift, don’t drag your sofa

It’s always better to lift a piece of furniture when you move it, instead of dragging it. Yanking, jerking, and pulling a sofa around – especially if you move your furniture quite often – can add unnecessary stress to the frame of your sofa.

Why is sofa maintenance important?

Apart from the fact that looking after and caring for your sofa can extend its life (as with most things), you’ll also keep your sofa looking like new, longer.

As you reposition cushions, plump up and move around back pillows, you’re ensuring that your sofa will wear evenly, too.

It’s never a bad thing to get in the habit of taking care of your sofa. Once you do that, you’ll find that you’re more in tune with seeing potential issues, like spotting stains before they get worse!

Looking after your sofa will also save you money. These are investment pieces, right? And they’re key pieces in your home that you use day in and day out. A little maintenance here and there will go a long way and prevent you from having to replace your sofa more often than you really should.

 What external factors can wear on my sofa?

A well-made sofa should be able to withstand regular, daily use, but there are a few external elements that can add some extra wear to your sofa. These are just a few things to be mindful of, so you can get the most life out of your furniture!

Your sofa doubles as a jungle gym

The occasional playful hop on a sofa shouldn’t be an issue if it’s well-made, but if your sofa is frequently used as a jungle gym or trampoline, that’s going to put a lot of stress on its frame, fabric, and suspension.

Your sofa is in direct sunlight

If your sofa is just sitting by an uncovered window with the sun beating down on it all day, it’s going to dull the fabric's colour. It would be better to move your sofa away from the window or perhaps close your blinds during the hot and sunny hours of the day.

Your pets use your sofa

Pets carry with them a lot of dander, dirt, and hair. Not to mention the fact that they can scratch and bite furniture, too. We let them because they’re so darn cute, but having your pets on your sofa can cause it to wear a lot faster.

sofa with pillows behind a rectangular coffee table in front of two large pictures and three smaller ones

With proper maintenance, how long should my sofa last?

If your sofa is well made and you’ve put some time into looking after it, it should last you about 15 years. If you can’t see your sofa getting to the 15-year mark, there could be a couple of factors at play – find out more by reading “How Long Should a High-Quality Sofa Last?”

And if you’re perfectly happy with your current sofa, maybe it’s time to spruce up the rest of your living room – or another room in your home altogether! Browse our products to find inspiration and schedule a visit to McElheran’s. Our Design Guides look forward to guiding you through your next furniture purchase when the time is right for you.

Download button for a design guide of the five expensive design mistakes to avoid