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Furniture Care: Caring For Your Fabric Sofa

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A sofa or chair is not just a piece of furniture – it is a haven to escape to. Every sofa, chair and ottoman we build is crafted in high quality materials designed to withstand the various stresses to which it is subjected during its working life. Each range is expertly matched to give the ultimate combination of style and comfort, working with some of the largest fabric mills to bring you a collection of modern fabrics which are all tested to industry standards for durability, resistance to fading, pilling and abrasion to ensure that your fabric will hold up to daily use. To ensure your sofa will be with you for years to come, it is important to understand fabric upholstery and the care and maintenance that is required.

Characteristics of Upholstery Fabrics

Depending on which fabric you choose and how you use and maintain your furniture will determine how long it lasts and maintains its look and feel. Today’s advanced upholstery fabrics primarily utilise man-made synthetic fibre yarns to help to:

  • Repel grime and stains
  • Deliver better/longer wear
  • Be easier to clean
  • Resist mildew and mould
  • Feel and look like natural fibres, with lower cost and less maintenance

Good Looks Need To Be Maintained

Prior to your sofa leaving the factory, it will receive a final inspection. It will then be wrapped in order to protect it and minimise movement whilst in transit. Once unpacked, fabric sofas may require “dressing” which involves plumping up the back cushions and the arm pads of each sofa. Sofas with fibre or feather filling may require “dressing” or “modelling” to ensure they return to their initial look.

A Quality Sofa Doesn't Wear Out, It Wears In

If your new freedom sofa feels or looks a little different to the one you saw in the store (the seat may feel firmer; the fabric might look tighter), that’s because your furniture is brand new, unlike the store’s floor sample which may have already been well “run-in” by many visitors. During the first 3 months of use, polyurethane foam in the seats and cushions tends to soften and then should permanently stabilise.

Similar to a new car, your sofa may have a strong smell after it is unpacked. This is normal and after airing in a well-ventilated room or open space, the smell will dissipate. Depending on the surrounding environment the smell may dissipate quickly or over a longer period of time.

Feather Filled Cushions

The additional plushness that a feather filled cushions provide is hard to beat for comfort. Before modern foams came about, feather was used as the primary fill for cushions. Below are some tips to understand how to maintain them and what to expect during use:

  • Feather filled cushions will require dressing after use – don’t be soft when fluffing them – big cushions can be thrown on clean, smooth flooring to get them back into shape. It that is not your style then aggressively pat them back into shape – your sofa and arm muscles will thank you for it!
  • Over time and use, you may notice some feathers coming out of the cushions (particularly the seat cushions) – this is completely normal. Regular vacuuming can remove them.
Fabric Pilling

Pilling as a result of normal daily wear and should not be considered as a fault. There are many variables which can trigger pilling, including climatic conditions, atmospheric purity and user environment. Even specific clothing types (fleecy tracksuits, etc) can transfer pills from the clothing to the furniture fabric. As the fabric surface is rubbed, a single or small group of loose fibres on the surface begins to twist upon itself, forming tiny balls or ‘pills’. Often the catalyst that starts this process is a foreign fibre or speck of dirt. Pilling can be successfully removed with battery operated pilling tools available to purchase from freedom. ‘De-pilling’ only removes unsightly loose surface fibres and does not affect fabric performance.

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Fabric Upholstery Care Tips

Correct care will extend your furniture’s life and value. Various factors determine the life expectancy of your fabric, for example colour, weight and fibre content. Due to so many variables, some fabrics may require specific, specialised cleaning solutions or procedures. See the Fabric Care Label attached to your sofa or consult a furniture sales specialist at your closest store and follow our tips below.

  • Vacuum regularly with a soft upholstery attachment. Dirt combined with body moisture can produce a grime discolouration to the fabric. Vacuuming will also remove grit that can wear away the fabric. Do not vacuum feather filled cushions.
  • Rotate or reverse cushions regularly, where the design permits. Do this once a month to minimise wear from ‘favourite chair syndrome’, this is where more obvious soil build up on the most frequently used seat or seats.
  • Keep pets and sharp objects away from fabric. Fur is particularly oily and may cause permanent discolouration. Claws, belt buckles, heels, keys, etc., can cut and/or pull fabric, causing permanent damage.
  • Pilling can be expected on some fabrics and should not be considered a fabric fault. Fibre pills can be removed easily using a de-pilling machine. This will not damage the fabric when used correctly.
  • Feather and down cushions have excellent recovery, but much like down comforters or pillows, they need to be fluffed more frequently to restore their loft.
  • Use floor protectors on the bottom of furniture (like tables and chairs) to minimise damage to floor coverings.
  • Treat spots, spills and stains immediately before it becomes absorbed excessively. Do not rub - carefully soak up the spillage by gently ‘blotting’ with a clean, dry, absorbent cloth in circular movement, working from the outside to the centre.
  • Pre-test all care products in a hidden area to make sure they are compatible. Do not use household detergents or strong chemicals to clean your upholstery.
  • Use a professional dry cleaning service at least once a year to keep the fabric looking good. Leave any removable covers on during cleaning to minimise shrinking.


  • Do not place furniture in direct sunlight as this may cause colour loss and/or fibre damage by UV exposure. Even short regular exposure can cause damage. Some fabrics (e.g. dark/strong colours) may be extra sensitive to UV.
  • Do not place furniture too close to a heater or air conditioning vent as this may distort the material or surface finish. Position the sofa at least 2 meters from a heat source.
  • Do not move the sofa by pushing, pulling, dragging or lifting by the armrests. Carefully lift from the base when moving it around the home and never drag.
  • Do not sit on the arms and/or the back of the sofa. This causes premature wear and may distort the padding under the fabric.
  • Do not jump or throw yourself onto the sofa.
  • Do not pull loose threads. Cut them instead.
  • Do not put newspaper on the sofa. Ink can transfer and dirty or stain the fabric.
  • Do not self-machine wash removable covers at home. Loose covers may shrink or distort making re-fit impossible. Use a professional dry cleaning service.


We highly recommend purchasing a freedom Fabric Care Kit with your sofa purchase. This will provide you with the correct products in order to care for your fabric sofa. These fabric care products are for spot cleaning only. Closely follow the individual usage directions for each product in the Care Kit. If stains persist, consult a Professional Upholstery Cleaning Service.

Keep Your Furniture Safe With A 5 Year Accident Protection Plan

We know that life is full of surprises and understand that sometimes accidents happen, no matter how careful you may be. Keep your quality freedom upholstered product looking its best with the Accident Protection Plan, provided by Care Cover. Spills, tears and a myriad of other mishaps are covered so you can have that glass of red wine on the couch without a second thought.

Find out more about the Care Cover Fabric Protection Plan.