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Looking after your sofa

To wash, or not to wash?

Orford sofa in Marlin Navy

Years of experience have taught us to say,"Go to the dry cleaners," whatever it says on the fabric label, as the whole washable fabric arena is fraught with danger. For example, and apologies for getting a little technical; a washable fabric is technically designated as such, so long as it does not shrink more than 3%. But does your loose cover, which in the current vogue needs to look like a tight cover, have 3% of shrinkage allowance in it when popular demand is for a tight fitting look, a bit like a skinny jean. See what I mean?

Want to know more, then read on.

Rule of thumb.

Washable fabrics come on sofas where the whole loose cover can be taken off. If you only have removable cushion covers don't be tempted to wash them in the machine. They'll shrink and come out crumpled.

Cleaning instructions.

Check the cleaning instructions! Follow them! A fabric can be only washed, say the experts, so long as it shrinks by less than 3%. Washable fabrics have the bucket symbol on the cleaning instructions label, with 30° or 40° in the bucket.

These fabric ranges are washable: Biscay, Cromarty, Dover, Malin, Lundy, Portland, Trafalgar.

  • iron

    Iron, Low

    Regular ironing, steam or dry, may be performed at low setting (110C, 230F) only.

  • iron

    Iron, Medium

    Regular ironing, steam or dry, may be performed at medium setting (150C, 300F)

  • iron

    Iron, High

    Regular ironing, steam or dry may be performed at high setting (200C, 290F).

  • dryclean

    Dryclean, Any Solvent Except Trichloroethylene

    Any dry cleaning solvent other than trichloroethylene may be safely used.

  • dry in shade

    Dry in Shade

    Usually added to line or drip dry. Dry away from direct sunlight.

  • do not tumble dry

    Do Not Tumble Dry

    A machine dryer may not be used. Usually accompanied by an alternate drying method symbol.

  • machine wash cold

    Machine Wash, Cold

    Initial water temperature should not exceed 30C or 65 to 85F.

  • machine wash warm

    Machine Wash, Warm

    Initial water temperature should not exceed 40C or 105F.

  • hand wash

    Hand Wash

    Garment may be laundered through the use of water, detergent or soap and gentle hand manipulation.

  • do not bleach

    Do Not Bleach

    No bleach product may be used. The garment is not colorfast or structurally able to withstand any bleach.

Loose covers.

Top tips. Don't overload your washing machine. If you have to stuff your loose cover into the machine, stop. Take it from me, you're overloading it. It may damage your covers and your machine. Wash the base and cushion covers for your sofa separately.

Never ever use detergents with Optical Brighteners or Whiteners in them, because the chemicals in these detergents take the colour out of your covers. If you are unsure, always contact the detergent manufacturer before washing.