Good Questions: How to Clean Velvet Chesterfield Sofa?

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Here is a great question from an Apartment Therapy reader. "We have this fabulous Chesterfield sofa which our labrador thinks is fabulous as well. But dogs can be dirty (and the owners have a hard time with disciplinary action)...

How do we clean this sofa? We've heard steam cleaning will ruin velour/velvet upholstery. Is there something we can do ourselves or is this job for a professional only?"

Thanks!

We can see why you pooch loves that couch! You're right about velvet being a tricky problem to solve. For upholstery, velvet is typically made from silk but it can also be made from cotton and in addition there are now synthetic velvets made from polyester or nylon. It's important for you to find out what your couch is comprised of. The easiest way to find out is to look for the care label underneath the seat cushion. For starters the best way to keep the velvet lustrous is to keep Fido off the couch. If you don't already have a bed for your canine, think about purchasing one. A good idea might be to go to a local fabric store and buy a yard or two of velvet and place that over the dogs bed. If that fails, you will want to start a weekly light vacuuming or light brushing of the couch to remove soil and prevent the build up of dirt in the fibers. You can also spot clean any stains that are left behind by using a water based foam cleaning agent such as a mild detergent or non-solvent upholstery shampoo product. You'll want to apply the foam with a soft brush in the direction of the nap (the raised hairs on the surface of the fabric with reference to how they naturally lie) and vacuum when dry. Before you do any spot cleaning make sure to test an obscure area for discoloration or fabric shrinking. If these measures still leave the couch in need of a cleaning overhaul, it's best to call in a professional.

How do our readers clean their velvet upholstery?