Neglecting the care of your soft furnishings such as cushions and curtains might lead to serious damage and risks for your own health. Removing mould, restoring colour and shape, or spending money on replacements for ruined items can easily be avoided by investing some time into their maintenance. To facilitate taking care of your soft furnishings in our hot and humid climate, here are some tips and tricks you can put into practice at home.
- Avoid sunlight
Before tackling intensive care, the first step to take with your soft furnishings is to protect them from direct sunlight, particularly in Singapore’s harsh glare. To avoid the more obvious fading of darker fabrics, move your dark couches and armchairs into shaded areas of the home and hang your windows with curtains in light shades. If you love the look of a deep, dark curtain hue, consider lining the side facing the window with a protective layer, such as thick linen. This will also lend your home further insulation during the particularly hot hours of the day.
- Vacuum thoroughly
The key to keeping soft furnishings clean is to vacuum them regularly. Dirty furnishings attract mould growth, as well as ants and other insects, which tend to be persistent in a hot and humid climate. Curtains should be vacuumed weekly on the lowest setting, ideally with the vacuum’s brush attachment, and shaken out gently once a day in order to get rid of any dust attempting to settle into the folds. To prevent any dirt sneaking in from above, wipe down the curtain tracks regularly. Fabric-covered couches should equally be vacuumed weekly with the brush attachment, not just for visible cleanliness, but to avoid crumbs and dirt ingraining themselves into the fabric as an enticing home for insects.
- Do the occasional wash
For the most part, washing soft furnishings with water is unnecessary and will only damage the textures. However, your soft furnishing items might benefit from the occasional wash, especially when they have accumulated sweat deposits due to the heat. This applies particularly to decorative cushion covers, which can be washed every six months or so, using only cold water. Just ensure that the label doesn’t advise against washing, as some fabric colours may run when in contact with water. To achieve a better shape, pull your clean covers back onto the cushions while still lightly damp, then ensure they dry quickly to avoid musty smells.
- Ventilate your home
To avoid the spreading of mould and mildew, especially in a very humid climate, ventilation is key. Ensure that your soft furnishings are aired regularly and that they are not left to absorb excessive moisture. Cushion covers should be removed every two months for airing in order to prevent odour and moisture build-up. Stains should never be left to sit on fabrics, risking mould growth. Blot stains immediately and avoid rubbing and spreading them further into the fabric. For a fuss-free and inexpensive stain remover, sprinkle stains with baking soda, let them sit for a few hours and proceed to vacuum the area dry. Within a well-ventilated environment, carpet stains can also be soaked in rubbing alcohol, which additionally helps to lift the carpet fibres.