Having kids and pets is usually a trade-off for having nice furniture. Even used furniture in decent shape is susceptible to stains, rips, shreds, and the adventurous dog that might eat their way into the middle of your couch.
You’ve already spent time and money child-proofing your home and tip-proofing your furniture. If you’re tempted to find ways to prevent damage to furniture so you can buy something expensive, consider a different approach. Instead of trying to make nice furniture last longer, buy used furniture from the start.
Don’t judge a chair by its upholstery
Finding used furniture that looks appealing from the start isn’t easy. There’s a reason people get rid of old furniture even when it’s in decent shape. If it doesn’t look good anymore, they’d prefer to buy something new. Before passing on the opportunity to buy a used piece of furniture based on looks, consider the fact that it can be reupholstered to match your home’s décor.
Used furniture is easy to repair and restore, and if you don’t want to do it yourself, some people will do it for you. Finding used furniture that fits your needs isn’t easy. You don’t need to leave an otherwise perfect piece behind because it needs repair.
Make use of simple ways to keep furniture in good shape
When your couch and chairs start to look shabby and distressed, unless that’s the look you’re going for, a fabric shaver will be your best friend. Blindster explains that fabric covered furniture starts to look distressed due to an effect called “piling.” Piling occurs when small balls of fiber form on fabrics. These balls are easy to remove with a fabric shaver or a razor.
Piling is the same thing that happens to sweaters when you put them through the wash. You can shave or brush your couch the same way you’d take care of a sweater.
Buy furniture made from easy to clean materials
Material matters. If you buy a used leather couch, eventually that leather will crack and peel, revealing the stuffing underneath. The only question is whether that’s going to happen as a result of time, or because of a rowdy toddler with fingernails.
Used furniture should be selected as carefully as you’d choose new furniture.
Microsuede, also known as microfiber, is a suitable fabric for pets and kids since it’s easy to clean. But know that not all microsuede can be washed with soap and water, and you should choose your piece based on cleaning instructions. If you use water on the wrong microsuede, you’ll end up with water rings. If you have pets and choose a piece that can’t be cleaned with water, you’ll end up with drool marks.
Thankfully, there are codes manufacturers use to let you know how to clean your microfiber furniture. The One Good Thing blog explains these codes:
Furniture marked with a “W” requires a water-based cleaning solution
Furniture marked with an “S” requires a solvent-based cleaner
Furniture marked with “S-W” can handle water or solvent-based cleaner
Furniture marked with an “X” can only be vacuumed
If a piece of furniture doesn’t come with cleaning instructions, skip it.
Donate furniture you can’t keep clean
Can’t keep your recliner clean because the material stains easily? Donate it. Someone else might be looking for a chair like yours, ready to reupholster their new find. Whatever furniture you own that can’t be kept clean, donate it.
Change your house rules
Are there milk stains all over your couch from spilled cereal bowls? No matter what kind of material you find, nothing will prevent milk and other spilled liquids from being absorbed into the cushions.
If your family has a habit of eating on the couch, instead of looking for a sofa that won’t stain, don’t allow your family to eat in the living room. Bring your family back to the dining room table for meals, and make sure you follow through regarding snacks. You’ll still have to deal with drool, but it will be easier to clean than collecting old milk in your couch cushions!
Written by Natalie Bracco for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.