Is your velvet sofa looking less than luxe? Learn how to clean velvet furniture and keep it looking as sumptuous as the day you bought it
Choosing velvet furniture is choosing to make a bold style statement in your space—there’s no ignoring its soft sheen, rich color, and innate elegance. But velvet’s commanding presence also means that any discoloration or stains are that much more visible. Anthropologie’s website has pages of velvet sofas and chairs to peruse, so who better to ask for advice on how to clean velvet furniture? According to Anne White, the brand’s head of home interiors personal styling, the first thing you should think about is actually completely unrelated to the furniture. “If you’ve opted for a bright, richly pigmented color, like navy or chartreuse, we recommend avoiding direct sunlight, which can cause the fabric to fade,” she says. “Consider window coverings substantial enough to protect your piece but lovely enough to catch the eye. The technology for window films, which block the sun’s rays without blocking your view, has improved and may be another avenue to explore.” Read on to learn how to clean velvet furniture and protect it from wear and tear and those inevitable spills.
- Absorbent cloth
- Soap and water or an upholstery cleaner
- Soft brush
Vacuum the fabric
In terms of regular maintenance, all you need to do to the item itself is give it a good dusting. “We recommend regular vacuuming,” says White. “A soft brush can also loosen surface dirt and brush it away.”
Tackle spills right away
If someone does happen to spill their cocktail on your couch, White suggests blotting the area immediately with a clean, dry absorbent cloth.
Test cleaning products
If a dried stain is staring you in the face and you just can’t help but do something about it, test any cleaning products (even basic soap and water) on a hidden spot to ensure it doesn’t ruin the fabric. Mix soap and water to create a sudsy solution. Use a soft cloth to blot the stain with the suds. Let the fabric dry completely.
Brush the fabric
“Once the velvet is dry, use a soft, dry brush in the direction of the pile to restore its direction and loft,” says White.
Turn to a professional
“It’s best to professionally clean the entire piece to ensure the color remains uniform,” she explains. “To ensure your velvet furniture remains in optimal condition, you should have it professionally cleaned with pure, water-free solvents.” Next up? Sit back, relax, and enjoy your good-as-new upholstery.
Velvet fabric can be a bit trickier to clean than other fabrics because, in addition to removing the stain, you must take care to avoid “crushing” the nap of the fiber. Here are some tips to help you successfully remove stains without damaging your beautiful furniture.
It is important to verify the type of material on your furniture before cleaning it. At Roger + Chris, we most regularly use cotton and polyester velvets. Professional cleaning is recommended for larger or more prominent stains, but cotton and particularly polyester velvets can be cleaned at home with care. Do not attempt to clean acetate, rayon, or silk velvets. They are very sensitive and easily damaged during cleaning. Some cleaning specialists warn that cotton velvet fabric may kink during cleaning, so use caution and wet the fabric no more than necessary.
Cleaning Velvet Furniture with Upholstery Cleaner
You can use upholstery cleaner like Woolite to clean cotton or polyester velvet. Test the cleaner on a discrete area, like the back or underside of the sofa. Check to make sure it does not discolor the material or damage it in any way. Carefully apply the upholstery cleaner to the velvet with a soft sponge, leaving the velvet’s pile undisturbed. After it is clean, be sure to vacuum and brush the velvet a number of times to keep the velvet looking neat. Note: Woolite also has a foam product with integrated brush designed for cleaning furniture that may prove useful.
The Wet Method for Cleaning Velvet Furniture
If liquid has spilled onto the velvet, soak it up with a paper towel or cloth. Make sure there is no food or debris left on the cloth. Combine a small amount of dish soap and water in a bucket, mixing it until it becomes sudsy. Soak the cloth in the sudsy water and apply it gently to the stain. Use the sudsy cloth to blot the stain until it disappears. It is important for the velvet fabric to dry quickly. Use a hair dryer or fan to accelerate the drying process.
The Dry Method for Cleaning Velvet Furniture
If the fabric is wet, use a paper towel or soft cloth to soak up the liquid. Apply dry cleaning detergent to a sponge and blot the stain repeatedly. Let the cleanser dry entirely on the fabric, using a hair dryer or fan to dry it as quickly as possible. Use a soft brush to unmat the velvet if it appears matted.