How to Clean a Velvet Couch
Lush, rich, and oh-so-stylish. No, we’re not talking about your secret crush — we’re talking about velvet. Because of its beauty and ability to elevate a space simply by existing, velvet sofas have experienced a massive resurgence in recent years. If you own this ultimate millennial status buy, you also probably know that, like all things beautiful, velvet requires some care to keep it looking its absolute best. Muddy paws, sloppy peanut butter sandwiches, and general dust and dirt can all wreak havoc on your velvet sofa. Thankfully, you know how to clean a velvet couch. Or, you will, in about five minutes or so.
Before you even have a chance to make a mess on your sofa, you’ll want to understand the type of velvet you’re dealing with. There are two main kinds of velvet: cotton and synthetic.
When choosing a velvet piece, you need to think about your lifestyle. While both types of velvet are beautiful and will give you the rich look that you want, we recommend synthetic velvet pieces, like the Embrace chair or Ceni loveseat, for households with kids and pets. It gives you the same oo-la-la of cotton velvet, but tends to be a bit easier to care for. For example, that ketchup smudge from those after-school chicken nuggets won’t stain as easily on synthetic velvet. We’re lovin’ it.
With all of Article’s velvet withstanding a Martindale rub count of 40,000 (most domestic fabrics have half that number with 20,000 rub counts), any piece from our velvet collection is ideal for families, pet owners — or just generally messy people.
General Cleaning and Maintenance
Velvet has a reputation for being fussy, high-maintenance, and reserved for only the super clean and pristine elite. While it looks undoubtedly luxe, velvet isn’t much more difficult to clean and maintain than other fabrics or materials. Besides regular pillow fluffing and flipping, there are a few ways to keep your velvet looking *chef’s kiss*.
If you’re savoring a flaky almond croissant on your Sven Cascadia Blue velvet sofa and some buttery crumbs go wayward, simply vacuum those decadent morsels up with with a soft brush attachment. Once you’re done eating, obviously.
Spent your winter in Spain and are now dealing with some dusty velvet chairs after months away? A quick vacuum will also deal with any dust or other everyday dry messes that seem to creep up when nobody’s watching. Just make sure you’re using that soft brush attachment to avoid any nicks or scratches.
You know when you sleep for eight hours and wake up with crease marks on your face? The same thing can happen to velvet. Since velvet is plush and has a higher pile (taller strands of fabric) it can compress when under pressure or weight for periods of time. This will appear as a crease or white stain. An easily-fixable crease or white stain.
Simply grab a handheld steamer (Good Housekeeping has top picks for all budgets) or the steam setting on your iron. Once it’s hot, start in one corner and move the steamer across the fabric in the opposite direction of the pile. Make sure you’re using the lowest heat setting and you don’t hold the steamer in one spot for more than a few seconds. For extra zhushing, use a stiff lint brush to brush the fibres up as you steam. So fresh and so steamed.
Fading is a natural fact of life for anything exposed to light — whether from the sun or a bulb indoors.
“Velvet is particularly sensitive to color fade,” explains Zoe Garred, our director of product development. “To avoid it, I suggest protecting your furniture by selecting a space that isn’t in direct sunlight. If that’s not possible, drape a throw blanket over the sun-exposed areas to protect it.”
Or, if fading doesn’t bother you: ignore this advice and lean into the faded, lived-in look.
To sum it up:
- Vacuum with a soft brush attachment for dry messes and dust
- Fluff and flip pillows regularly
- Fix crushed fibres by steaming against the pile
- Keep your velvet furniture out of direct light to avoid fading
You’ve never had a truly bad idea. But it might be time to admit that the baked potato bar you set up for your holiday get together may have been better in theory than practice. If your velvet sofa could walk, it’d be running out the door and away from Todd and his chili-cheese stuffed steaming russet.
Sour cream, greasy bacon bits, and the aforementioned chili are just some of the many risks your velvet furniture faces over the course of its lifetime. Prepare for disasters of the messy kind by figuring out exactly how to clean these spots before they get too cozy in your velvet.
When something inevitably spills onto your velvet furniture, the first thing you’ll want to do is take a deep breath. Okay great. Nailed it.
Now, check your manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. They’ll tell you exactly what to do (and what not to do) when it comes to taking care of spills and messes.
A good place to start for all spills, is to soak up excess liquid with a soft, lint-free cloth. We definitely want to emphasize the lint-free component here, as lint can get caught in the velvet fibers.
Once you’ve soaked up as much of your mess as possible, it’s time to make a cleaning solution. Mix a drop or two of dishwashing liquid (like the kind that can clean oil off of ducks) with a cup of water. Shake to create some frothy bubbles, like your own little soapy latte. Take your cloth, and dip it in just the suds. Then, lightly blot the stain with the sudsy cloth until you’ve removed as much of the stain as you can.
Let the area air dry, or use a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting to speed up the process.
If you don’t want to take any chances with your luxe velvet, consult a furniture cleaning specialist. They’ll make sure your velvet is cleaned and restored to its original beauty.
While there’s no magic bullet for cleaning anything, these steps offer the best way to clean velvet, without the risk of damage:
1. Check your manufacturer’s cleaning instructions for any special care requirements.
2. Use a soft, lint-free cloth or paper towel to absorb any excess liquid. Do not rub.
3. Leave the cloth on the spot until as much liquid is absorbed as possible.
4. Mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid into a cup of water.
5. Shake until bubbles form.
6. Dip your cloth into the suds only.
7. Gently blot the stain, making sure not to saturate the velvet.
8. Let it air dry or use a blow-dryer on the lowest settings.
9. Call on professional help if you need it.
Stuffy and high-maintenance velvet is a thing of the past. Today’s velvet furniture can handle sticky kids, slobbery pets, and all life’s messes in between. Now that you know how to clean a velvet couch, you can enjoy velvet that’s plush, opulent, and stain-free — without the worry.