Easy to Clean Furniture
A house full of kids and pets doesn’t stay clean for long. Finding the right balance between a relaxed, welcoming home and one that is not totally wrecked is a continuous struggle. You want the family to use and enjoy your living room or den without having to encase everything in plastic to keep it stylish and looking great. To preserve your furniture in a busy household, choose fabrics wisely and learn the best ways to clean inevitable messes and spills.
Indoor-outdoor fabrics are family-friendly. They still have a bad reputation from the rigid, waxy materials of old, but fabric technology has come a long way since then. Some are so soft you can't tell that they aren’t traditional indoor textiles. Better still, most are resistant to stains and fading. If you're leery about investing in large furniture pieces, start off with some indoor-outdoor rugs, pillows and cushions for the kids to lounge around on while watching TV or working on craft projects. The family dog and cat might like them, too.
An alternative to indoor-outdoor fabric is faux suede. Marketed under a variety of brand names, these synthetic fabrics are hard to distinguish from the real thing, but a moist towel and mild dish soap will clean most spills. Your furniture will be soft, supple and durable.
Vinyl is making a comeback, especially in fun animal-inspired textures. These pieces are a lower-cost way to add style and whimsy to a room and spills literally wipe right off. Vinyl furniture will take a beating from kids and pets and keep coming back for more. Pet hair won't stick to it, either, although sharp claws might cause small punctures.
Other Smart Furniture Choices
Beyond specific fabrics, there are other furniture choices homeowners can make to help with care and maintenance. Neutral colors actually hide stains better than busy patterns, so filling a room with browns, tans and grays will extend longevity. To bring color into the room, use plenty of pillows and accent pieces. Rough textures are also better than smooth, as the valleys and shadows help disguise stubborn stains. Slipcovers are another trick to keeping a room clean. When accidents happen, they can be removed and tossed in the washing machine. They're also available for both living room and dining room furniture.
Cleaning Stains on Furniture
Kids and pets create constant opportunities for messes and stains on your furniture. A little preparation and quick, attentive clean-up is all it takes to keep easy-care furnishings looking their best.
Pet Stains and Grass Stains
When your pet has an accident on the club chair or grass stains get rubbed into the sectional from your kids uniform, it is really handy to have cushions with zippered covers because you can remove them and toss them in the wash. The loose pillow back and seat cushion design also allows you to flip cushions over when they’ve started to show wear or are sporting stains that can’t easily be removed. To keep your couch comfortable and soft yet durable and easy to clean, turn to fabrics like linen or Microfiber.
Mud and Dirt
When the backyard game of tag somehow ends up in your living room, you might find bits of nature all over your furniture. Couches with skirting covering the legs are especially susceptible to this, as these can get stepped on by dirty sneakers. Thankfully, you can leave dirt and mud alone to dry and then simply vacuum the debris off most fabrics. This should work on furniture with even the coarsest textures like burlap and wool.
The Best Furniture for Food Stains
If your kids love to have lunch or snacks away from the dining room table, you know you're going to have to contend with crumbs, juice spills, and other sticky messes. To make the constant battle with food stains a little easier on yourself, turn to some of the easy-to-clean fabrics like leather and Microfiber. Most spills wipe right off leather furniture and you can get pieces with light distressing to hide the blemishes that a sofa is sure to pick up from rambunctious children. If you prefer a softer feel to your living room furniture, Microfiber is your number one ally in the fight against stains.
Maintenance is Key
Ultimately, the best way to keep your furniture looking fresh and stylish in the face of messy kids and pets is to maintain it. Vacuum cushions often to avoid the infamous buildup of pet hair or crumbs. Keep lint rollers on hand to perform spot cleans after your dog takes a long nap on your favorite chair. You can even turn to DIY protective sprays to lengthen the life expectancy of your furniture. As long as you're willing to put in a little work, you can keep any fabric clean and guest-ready.
For more detailed tips on caring for your furnishings, check out our articles: Cleaning Furniture 101: Maintaining your Furniture's Beauty, Rug Maintenance: The Correct Way to Care for Your Rug, and Caring For Wood Furniture.