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14 Things You're Doing that Are Ruining Your Sofa

from Jill Nystull at OneGoodThing | May 11, 2021

Lifestyle blogger Jill Nystul from onegoodthingbyjillee.com offers some great tips on what to avoid when it comes to your new sofa. Check out this wonderful advice for keeping your sofa looking as good for as long as possible!


Of all the furniture in your house, your sofa is likely one of the more expensive pieces. And since you spent all that money to buy a nice couch, you want that couch to last as long as possible, right? If you’re wondering how long your sofa can be expected to last, low-cost and mid-priced sofas should last about 10 years, while a high-end couch could last up to 25 years or more! But unfortunately, people tend to do a lot of things to their sofas that can cause them to wear out or break prematurely.

Today I’ll be sharing 14 behaviors that can cause undue wear and tear to your sofa. If you’re interested in protecting your investment in your sofa, consider changing these behaviors! These are easy fixes to make, and once you make the switch, you’ll find that your couch will live a much longer and happier life because of it!

1. You Sit In The Same Spot Every Time: We tend to be creatures of habit, so it’s no surprise that we tend to gravitate towards a certain spot on the couch. However, sitting in the same spot on your couch over a long period of time can cause it to wear unevenly. Your sofa could end up being saggy and worn on one end while looking relatively new on the other. Instead, mix up where you sit on the sofa. Sit on the left one day, then on the right or in the middle the next day. Distributing weight over the entire couch will help prevent premature wearing in any one area.

2. You Jump Onto It: No matter what your weight is, it’s not a good idea to throw yourself on your sofa. (No matter how distressing that episode of your favorite drama was!) Throwing your weight onto your sofa can damage the frame, causing it to be less supportive and develop squeaks. The same principle applies to recliners—always recline gently and smoothly. You’ll keep your sofa or recliner nice for years longer just by treating it gently!

3. You Forget To Vacuum Your Sofa: You vacuum your carpet every week, but do you vacuum your sofa? It’s a great habit to get into! Vacuuming up crumbs, dirt, and other debris can help keep it from getting ground into the fibers, keeping it cleaner, longer. Start by removing the cushions and vacuuming underneath them and around the frame. Then use an upholstery attachment to vacuum the cushions thoroughly. I use this vacuum to clean my sofas, and it works wonderfully!

4. You Expose It To Pollutants: When it comes to your sofa’s upholstery, everyday dirt and grime aren’t the only threats. Indoor pollutants like kitchen grease and cigarette smoke can settle into your upholstery too! Use a hood over your cooking range to filter out grease and smoke, and don’t smoke indoors. These easy changes will help prevent discoloration and odors from developing in your sofa.

5. You Sleep On It: Sofas are meant for sitting, not sleeping! Laying on your sofa for prolonged periods of time will cause it to sag and even deteriorate over time. A short nap is fine, but if you’re settling in for a full 8 hours, it’s better to make the trip to the bedroom.

6. You Never Clean It: Even if your sofa doesn’t look particularly dirty, there are likely all kinds of things lurking in your sofa’s upholstery. Since you sit on it so often, it’s important to keep it clean! Take the time to give it a thorough cleaning (or hire a professional to do it) once every year or two.

7. You Use The Wrong Cleaner: Avoid “all-purpose” cleaners if you’re looking to make your sofa last longer. It’s better to use a cleaner that’s formulated for your specific material(s). Check out the following links to learn about cleaners that are suitable for these materials: microfiber upholstery, cloth or canvas, wood, and leather.

8. You Don’t Protect The Upholstery: One of the easiest ways to keep your upholstery looking great is to protect it from getting dirty in the first place! A lot of people institute a “no-eating-on-the-couch” rule, which can be simple and effective. But if that’s not your style, you can always put a blanket or towel over the couch when eating food. Or treat the upholstery with a protective spray like Scotchgard.

9. You Never Rotate The Cushions: Another simple way to maximize the life of your sofa is to rotate the cushions regularly. Flip them over so the other side faces up, and swap their positions if possible. This will help prevent uneven wear (and it will remind you to clean stains that are easy to forget and/or ignore.)

10. You Put It In A Sunny Spot: Sunlight can “bleach” certain types of fabric, so it’s important to put it in a spot that doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. Not only can it cause the fabric to lighten differently on the front versus the back, but it can also cause lightening around throw pillows that can make your couch look “spotty.” Keep it in a shaded area of the room, or make sure your blinds are closed during the times when the most sunlight is coming into the room.

11. You Don’t Clean Stains Immediately: If something spills on your sofa, it’s important to clean it immediately. The longer a stain sits on the fabric, the higher the risk that it will leave behind a permanent stain. So you can maximize your chances of lifting the stain out by tackling it right away!

12. You Don’t Have Couch Rules: You likely made a pretty significant financial investment in your sofa, so don’t be afraid to set rules in order to protect that investment! Whether your rules concern eating, jumping, sitting on the back or arms of the couch, or something else, setting a few ground rules is a simple way to keep your couch nice for years to come!

13. You Don’t Do Regular Maintenance: Furniture joins can get loose and wobbly even from normal use, so take the time to tighten those screws and bolts regularly. It might require a bit of effort to get to the underside of your sofa, but it’s well worth the effort! A wobbly foot on your sofa can easily break, so tightening a few screws would be far easier than getting the whole thing repaired.

14. You Move Furniture Recklessly: The most perilous time for your furniture is during a move from one location to another, so make sure to be careful! Always lift your sofa, rather than pushing, pulling, or dragging it. And don’t stack heavy items against or on top of your sofa, as that can cause damage as well.