Speak to any pet owner and many will tell you stories about the challenge of protecting much loved furniture and keeping sofas and armchairs clean.
There is no escaping the fact that pets shed hair, scratch furniture, and sometimes produce odours that can linger in your home.
There’s a growing selection of pet-friendly furniture available for cat and dog owners. Companies such as Swyft have produced their own range of sofas that have been designed specifically for pet owners. Their sofas are easy to clean and use pet-friendly upholstery fabrics
Top tips for keeping your sofa clean
Buying a new sofa can be a big financial investment so it’s important that you clean and look after it properly. Here are our tips on cleaning your sofa and protecting it from your cat and dog.
Vacuum your sofa regularly
You should vacuum your sofa daily or a couple of times a week so that you can pick up any pet hairs and prevent unpleasant pet smells. Odour-causing materials and bacteria will have less chance of building up if you vacuum regularly.
When vacuuming, make sure you get into every corner and in between the sofa cushions to reach those pet hairs, crumbs, and anything else that might be hiding in there. There’s a good range of vacuums available that have been designed for pet owners and specialise in removing pet hair.
Alongside regular vacuuming, you can also use a classic lint roller and hair magnet brushes that can be used to help pick up pet hairs from your sofa.
Tackle stains immediately
As careful as you try to be, it can be hard to avoid stains on your sofa. Little accidents like spilling wine or coffee on a sofa are common, while for pet owner, muddy paws on a sofa will be a familiar problem.
Common household stains are normally easy to remove. If you accidently spill something onto your sofa the first thing to do is act quickly and not to panic. You should try to remove as much excess spillage as soon as possible by blotting with either a paper or cotton towel.
Stains that have already set in are much more difficult to remove. Sometimes trying to clean them can damage the fabric fibres and make things worse.
Always remember to check the manufacturer's instructions which will be on the inside label of your sofa. If the instructions indicate that detergents are okay to use, apply a detergent or a cleanser designed specifically for your sofa.
Use odour sprays and pet wipes
There’s a wide selection of odour sprays and pet wipes available. Most are suitable not only for sofas but carpets, bedding and clothing.
Both young and older pets can be prone to accidents but using sprays and wipes can help remove unpleasant smells and leave a clean fresh smell after use.
It might surprise you to know that baking soda can be useful in getting rid of stains and odours. Simply sprinkle your sofa with baking soda and leave to sit for at least 20 minutes before vacuuming. If the smell is more severe you can leave the baking soda on your sofa for a few hours or overnight.
Clean your cushions and throws
If you have any cushions or throws on your sofa you should wash these regularly to remove any unpleasant smells.
It’s best to use cushions that have removeable slip covers as these are much easier to put in a washing machine.
If you have non-washable pillows, you should consider replacing them with slip covers as they will help prevent pet odours from lingering in your home.
What type of sofa should you buy if you have pets?
There are a now more pet-friendly sofas and furniture available for cat and dog owners.
When choosing a sofa you should think about the type of covering material best suited for you and your pet. You want a material that won’t easily be damaged. And one that won’t trap pet hairs or absorb pet odours.
Microfibre has become a popular choice for pet owners. It looks like suede and is easy to clean and maintain. Swyft furniture use microfibres for their sofas. They are stain resistant and protect furniture not only from pets but from those typical household accidents that commonly occur.
Fabric verse Leather sofas
The advantage of leather is that it’s a durable material and easy to clean. It’s a good choice for pet-friendly furniture and if you do find any paw prints on your leather sofa its easy to wipe these off.
Leather doesn’t have a weave, so any pet hairs or odours won’t become trapped between the fibres. With leather, pet hair wipes right off and doesn’t cling to the smooth leather surface. It means you sofa can easily be cleaned by dusting or vacuuming.
Depending on the anaimal, fabric sofas can also be a good choice for pet owners. Fabric sofas don't become scratched in the same way that leather does. Fabric tends to be better at dealing with pet claws.
Fabrics with a tight weave are a good protection against pets. Your pet’s claws are less likely to cause damage and moulting hair is easier to remove than on fabric with a looser weave.
When choosing which fabric to go for, you might want to consider a canvas, denim or man-made microfiber sofa as these are great for dog and cat owners.
Choosing a colour
Choose colours that hide fur and fit into the colour scheme of the room your sofa is in. Darker colours are recommended over lighter colours as they don’t show dirt as easily.
You could decide on a fabric that’s the same colour as your pet so their hair won’t stand out as much.
Protecting your sofa from pets
It will often be easier to prevent your pet leaving stains or damaging your sofa than trying to fix the problem after the event. You can keep pets away from a sofa through good training and the use of accessories.
Keep lots of toys nearby that will keep your pets busy and occupied and this will hopefully stop them from jumping on your sofa too often.
Remember to wipe your dog's paws if they've come from outside. This can stop muddy paw prints getting on your sofa and prevent unpleasant smells.
You can choose to have a pet bed or scratching post nearby, this should encourage your pet to use those instead. Cats have an instinctive desire to use their claws, so a scratching post is ideal for them to keep their claws sharp and clean.
Make sure you pet is trained to stay off your sofa and that they know where they should go to the toilet.
Clearing up after your pet is an everyday activity for pet-parents but with regular cleaning and training you can ensure your sofa remains in good condition.