How To Care For Down-Stuffed Upholstery

If you desire a luxury look and total comfort when you sit on your sofa or lounge chairs then you want down-stuffed furniture. Manufacturers use down — the soft, shaftless puff of feather that lines a bird’s underbelly – to make higher-end sofas and chairs because feathers and down are considered the most comfortable materials for sofa pillows and seating cushions, plus they last a long time.

Whether down is used on its own or mixed with quilled feathers, the result gives cushions that distinctive full, even overstuffed shape that conforms to your body when you sink down into it. Best of all, unlike foam, down doesn’t degrade over time. With proper care, your down-stuffed sofa and chairs can maintain their beauty and comfort for years.

Typically, back cushions and pillows are filled with down and feathers alone, which gives them a lush softness that no other fill can match.Seat cushions are a different matter, generally made with a spring or foam core that is designed to provide extra support. This core is then wrapped in channel-sewn panels of down and feathers. The combination presents an inviting supple appearance with the benefit of a firm seating experience.


Unlike foam and fiber-filled furniture, down-stuffed furnishings require care to keep their appearance. Maintaining loft is the primary challenge.Like the down pillows on your bed, your sofa or chair’s down-filled back pillows and seat cushions will flatten over time, making your seating experience less and less comfortable. Down cushions hold a lot of air. It’s the air that makes the cushions soft and gives it loft, or fullness. The secondary problem is how best to clean and freshen down-stuffed furniture.Although down is washable, your upholstery fabric probably isn’t.The following tips will make it easier for you to decide if you want down-stuffed furniture for your home.


Over time, sitting and leaning on down-stuffed pillows and cushions causes the down to clump together and flatten. The easiest way to prevent a flattening is to occasionally turn your pillows and cushions. If possible, you should also rotate your pillows so you’re not sitting in the same place all the time. Fluffing is another important task, which involves light squeezing and shaking of the pillows and cushions to redistribute and unclump the down. This process will also add air into the filling.


The simplest way to keep down-stuffed sofas and chairs clean is to use removable, washable covers or slipcovers. Have sets made for your existing furniture. If selecting new pieces for your home look for those with removable covers.Such covering items make cleaning both exterior fabrics and the interior fill units easier.

Vacuum your sofa and chair surfaces regularly to limit dust and remove soil that might stain and facilitate wear. Should your upholstery become noticeably soiled follow the upholstery cleaning instructions on the manufacturer’s fabric-care label or those provided by your upholster. In general, for furnishings with removable cushions, check the care tag to see if water cleansing is permitted. Wash the covers in cold water on a gentle cycle, zipping the covers closed before washing. Dry them on a low setting to avoid shrinking. If the covers cannot be washed and dried in a machine, spot clean them with quality upholstery cleaner or a dry cleaning solvent – test for colorfastness first in a discreet area.

Attend to spots and spills immediately. Where possible, remove the covers if the spill permeates the upholstery then lay white paper towels or cloths on the cushions. Use a spray-on household cleaner for food and drink spills then blot. Avoid rubbing the stain into the fabric. Spray the area with an enzymatic cleaner for animal stains. An enzymatic cleaner breaks down the soil and removes odors. Dry the cushions thoroughly before replacing the covers.


Down pillows and cushions are susceptible to moisture, which can give then a musty or dank smell. The cure here is simple. Take your pillows and cushions outside on a sunny day and lay them on a clean surface for several hours. Mother Nature will help dry and freshen them for you. Be careful not to air your pillows and cushions in direct sunlight too frequently or for extended periods as exposure can fade upholstery fabric. Alternatively, you can also occasionally spray your sofa and chairs with a fabric freshener.

Proper care of your down-stuffed furniture will help retain the longevity of your pieces and keep them looking fresh and new for years to come!

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