Upholstered furniture is not only functional and comfortable but also helps decorate your home or office. While padding can contribute to improving your home's appeal, they too are susceptible to wear and tear. Regular use of the furniture makes the material wear off with time, or get stains due to the extended use.
Most antique furniture has been reupholstered many times to help maintain their look and feel. Some people, however, choose to discard the furniture especially when the upholstery seems old and worn out. Having the old upholstery replaced with new is, however, not always the best way to treat your furniture. A conservationist expert at The Upholstery Workshop has recommended a few ways on how to keep your upholstery clean, neat and well maintained.
Clean Fresh Spills
Tackling fresh spills is relatively easy. All you need to do is blot it immediately before it dissolves deep into the fabric or dries up leaving a permanent stain. Use a blotting paper or any other soft material to absorb the liquid. Do not use heat treatment on this, as it will only cause permanent stains. Once most of the liquid has been bloated, you can use stain removal detergents to wash it off, or just have an upholstery cleaning expert to handle it for you.
If the stain is made of a water-soluble liquid, such as wine, you could then dampen the surface with water then blot it away. Repeat the procedure several times until much of the stain is gone. You, however, need to be careful with this as overdoing it could damage the fabric fibres, or even worse, create extensive damage on the same.
Although you may feel the urge to re-upholster your furniture, try to do this professionally to avoid the most common mistakes we see today. The first mistake to avoid should be using upholstery materials and techniques that are a bit outdated. If wrongly done, the furniture/chair will have an uneven, over-stuffed and bulky look which will only make it have an uglier look. Having someone experienced in this is the only way to avoid such pitfalls.
If you really have to do it, look for an unobtrusive area on the back then lift it carefully and slowly to find the original upholstery. Use tack holes to identify fragments of earlier covers. If the furniture had been reupholstered before, you will then find seams of the same. otherwise, you are looking at the original upholstery material.
Once you have identified the covers that need to be removed, you can then start working on the furniture. While the original upholstery may have been done using traditional tacks (often black), it would be advisable for you to use stainless steel staples. Stainless steel staples cause less damage to the frame and its components, hence help extend the furniture's life.
An upholstery conservator can help you do most of the upholstery cleaning, especially, when cleaning old top covers. One thing you, however, need to know is that tacks used on the textile are deeply impressed into the fabric. Attempting to lever them out will most certainly tear the fabric – you would better leave them undisturbed.
A conservator can also help you determine the best cleaning method to use on historical textile, as well as minimise damage on the same. One thing you will also note about upholstery is that the fabric is stretched under tension first before tacking is done, then trimmed to fit properly. Trying to remove the material may be easy, refitting it will be the toughest part as you won't have sufficient fabric for re-tensioning.
Drop-in frames cannot be interchanged and should only be returned to the original chair. If the chair had been reupholstered then chances are the additional layer will create a wadding effect on the same. Don't be surprised to find the underneath still intact and in its original glory. You should also be careful not to add too much bulk to the same as doing this will only force chair joints into breaking apart. If overdone, the rebates will break eventually leaving you without a chair. If unsure of what to do, call an expert to help out or just consider cleaning the upholstery instead of reupholstering.