Super soft and uber luxurious, it’s no wonder velvet is one of the most popular sofa fabrics at the moment. However, with a look that is fit for royalty, velvet is often considered an impractical material which is “too delicate” to use in the home. The truth, however, couldn’t be more different.
Here we look at how practical velvet sofas really are.
Believe it or not, there are several fabrics which are labelled “velvet” (“velvet” is a term which refers to the weave). In our experience, cotton, synthetics and silk are all common velvet fabrics, each of which needs to be cleaned differently. Silk, for instance, is a highly sensitive fabric and stains quickly, whereas synthetics such as polyester can easily be cleaned at home.
If you’re unsure, a good rule of thumb is to check the cleaning code on your sofa’s tag – this is usually under or inside the item. Typically, the code for velvet sofas is “S”, which means that it should be cleaned with either a solvent or by dry cleaning. It also means that velvet is a fabric which does not react well with water.
Unlike other fabrics, velvet is a material with no raised weaves or loose threads. This makes it difficult for the material to snag – ideal if you live with pets.
You’ll also notice velvet has a flat pile similar to a rug, which makes it highly durable. Not only does this make velvet an ideal material for the home, it also means any dirt or pet hairs should fall away from the fabric.
Unlike fabric or leather, velvet sofas require a few weekly tune-ups to ensure that, firstly, the colour doesn’t dull and, secondly, the nap (the fuzzy surface of the fabric) stays raised.
One way to maintain the look of your velvet sofa is to gently brush it at least once a week. If there is lots of dirt, you may find it easier to use a vacuum with a special upholstery attachment (putting a vacuum directly on the fabric could see it lose its sheen).
Can’t find an attachment? Simply tie a pair of old tights around the nozzle instead so as to not crush the nap of the fibre. Not only does this keep your velvet sofa clean, it also maintains its distinctive textured pile.
If you simply want to give your velvet sofa its sheen back, try using a steamer to fluff up the fibres. Take a brush to the fabric afterwards, moving in the same direction as the steamer, to keep the fabric looking uniform.
As velvet is a very thin material, you will need to act quickly if any spillages do crop up. Unlike fabric or leather, any liquids, even water, can stain a velvet sofa in no time at all.
Step 1: To tackle the spillage straight away, you will want to soft blot the mark with a dry cloth - try not to rub or scrub as this will mute the sheen and reduce the pile of the fabric.
Step 2: When it’s time to dry the area, blow a hairdryer over the mark until the spillage has gone.
Step 3: Once you’re happy that the spillage is removed, brush the pile up to avoid any matting. If, on the other hand, the spillage won’t budge, it is a good idea to take your velvet in for a dry clean.
TOP TIP: Test out any cleaning products (even basic soap and water) on a hidden area of your velvet sofa before any cleaning takes place. This way you can be sure the fabric won’t lose its colour or sheen.
There are various methods for removing stains from velvet, although there are two in particular which we think work best:
What you need:
Step 1: Firstly, mix the washing-up liquid with water (make sure to whip together well, so that suds come to the top).
Step 2: Next, apply just the suds to the stain using a soft cloth (applying washing-up liquid directly can cause discolouration).
Step 3: Blot the suds until they start to fade and remove residue with a clean cloth.
What you need:
Step 1: Fill a bowl with 2 tbsp. baking soda and the rest lemon juice and mix until you have lots of foam on top.
Step 2: Skim the foam from off the top and apply gently to the stain.
Step 3: To dry, either blow a hairdryer over the top or leave to sit for a few hours.
TOP TIP: When blotting a spillage of stain on a velvet sofa, try to clean using long, straight movements along the nap.
Sophie is a great granddaughter of the founders of the business - so fabrics and furniture are almost part of her DNA! Her interests include home interiors and upcycling, and her favourite show to watch after work is The Repair Shop. Some of the topics she covers on the Plumbs blog include sofa reupholstery and furniture protection.