How to Protect Your Sofa Fabric

Unprotected sofa fabric is subject to wear, stains, fading and damage, which can put a noticeable blemish on an otherwise good-looking room.

Fabric Protector: Once Isn't Enough

Tinted windows slow fading from sunlight.Tinted windows slow fading from sunlight.
Choose from sofa-prolonging measures, including protective treatments, cleaning techniques, covers and window considerations, to keep your sofa sun, grime and guest ready.

Everyday life includes accidental spills and stains, which are good reasons to treat sofa upholstery with an upholstery-fabric protector. Newly treated fabric may be purple-juice, muddy-paw and red-wine resistant, but it doesn't stay that way. Wear, steam-cleaning and environmental factors break down protective chemicals, leaving the fabric vulnerable. Do-it-yourself fabric-upholstery-protector kits are available, but their contents may have to be applied more often than commercial- or professional-grade treatments. Look to green, eco-savvy, people-safe products for worry-free protection.

The Valiant Vacuum

Your list of sofa protectors should include a vacuum cleaner and upholstery attachment. By vacuuming your sofa as needed, or at least monthly, you reduce wear from dust, dirt, crumbs or other fabric-"grinding" debris or particles. A dirty upholstery attachment can be more damaging than protective; vacuum the bristles before each use, and wash them with warm, soapy water when they get grimy. Allow washed bristles to dry fully before using the attachment -- for your and your sofa's safety.

Sun Safety

Sunlight robs color from upholstery, fading a sofa's fabric over time. If you can't arrange the furniture so that fabric-covered pieces are safe from ever-moving ultraviolet rays, turn to the windows for protection. Keep the curtains or blinds drawn during the day, or, if living like a mushroom in near darkness doesn't appeal to you, have the windows tinted with clear UV-protective film to slow fabric fading.

Slipcover Your Asset

One of the easiest ways to protect your sofa from body oil, dust, pet hair and life's smudges is by hiding it under a slipcover. A washable slipcover saves the sofa from wear, conceals any damage, and is relatively inexpensive to replace when it succumbs to stubborn stains or your style sensibilities change. Moreover, a slipcover offers stylish versatility: Put the cover on for everyday use, and take it off to expose a pristine sofa below for special occasions.

About the Author

Lorna Hordos has owned a home-flipping business for more than two decades. She uses her construction and interior design experience to write friendly, conversational home and lifestyle articles for Daltile, Marazzi, Lowes and numerous other publications. She also enjoys writing for children, and has been featured on the cover of Humpty Dumpty magazine.