Care & Cleaning
Based on our years of experience working with beautiful fabrics, we have put together some information about caring for your fabrics, however please always refer to your appropriate Care Label prior to any care and cleaning. This information is available to browse or can be downloaded as PDFs.
Our advice is given in good faith and should not be considered a guarantee. If in any doubt, always consult a professional upholstery cleaning company.
Treat spills and stains as soon as possible. Test on hidden area to ensure fabric and colour are not removed. Gently scrape any soil or mop any liquid from the surface of the fabric. Use of soap or detergent with water should be approached with caution since overzealous rinsing to remove soap residue may result in over-wetting, water marking and possible wetting of substructure (this may create other stains or damage products).
- For non-oil-based stains use warm water and non-toilet soaps which do not contain optical brighteners (consider Velvet soap, Lux Flakes, Softly). Mix a small amount of soap and warm water solution and apply to the stain, rubbing gently. Blot dry with a clean towel. Apply cool water (preferably filtered or distilled water) and blot dry again. Then with a hair dryer, working out from the centre of the stain, dry quickly to prevent rings forming. It is generally preferable to clean whole panels of fabric in this way rather than trying to spot clean specific areas.
- For oil-based stains following the same basic guidelines as above, apply a proprietary brand solvent based cleaner and try to clean generally in panels rather than spot cleaning specific areas. A helpful industry ‘secret’ for spot removal of oil based biro marks is by the application of conventional hair spray or Glen 20.
A First Aid Kit for Fabrics
To further enhance spot cleaning results, Warwick have introduced the Halo Fabric Care Kit which includes Halo spot cleaner for most household stains, Halo fabric deodoriser to help neutralise pet and general odours and Halo fabric protector to restore liquid repellency on fabric sections that have been spot cleaned
*For treatment of specific stains, see Stain Removal.
Professional fabric servicing
Warwick Fabrics recommend that water-based 'Fluro chemical' type fabric protectors (such as DuPont Teflon® and 3M Scotchgard®) be applied by licensed applicators only. Check your care label first to see if a mill-applied protection was incorporated during fabric manufacture. Fabric protectors do not eliminate the need for vacuuming, routine cleaning or proper care. They will, however, make spot cleaning and vacuuming quicker, easier and more efficient between professional cleans and keep your fabric looking cleaner longer, as well as extending its life. Professionals applying fabric protectors must always pre-test to qualify fabric suitability.
Extreme caution should be taken if considering treatment of velvets and pocket weaves with stain repellent products. Some high pile velvet and pocket weave jacquards may change in surface character if stain repellent treatments are incorrectly applied. Extra care should be taken to pre-test for these fabrics.
Professional cleaning frequency
Is determined by the furniture use, your own maintenance, upkeep and environmental conditions. As a good 'rule of thumb' overall cleaning is recommended every 12 months for most family room lounges.
Velvet curtain care
Curtaining velvet needs care in handling and use. Window fittings coming in contact with the curtain should be avoided. Stiff brushing or strong vacuum cleaning on the reverse side of velvet can also pull at the pile. Draw cords or other methods of drawing without handling the curtain itself are recommended, as grasping, particularly with fingernails, can cause crushing and other damage. Velvet curtains should be dry cleaned.
After the moisture has been blotted up, dab at the stain with a clean cloth dampened in rubbing alcohol. Then blot repeatedly with liquid detergent mixed with cool water. Blot dry with a towel. Dab again with clear cool water and blot dry.
Mix one teaspoon of ammonia in a cup of cold water and apply it sparingly to the spot. Blot with a clean towel. Repeat the procedure until the spot is gone. Then dab the area with cool water and blot. Wait 15 minutes and moisten the area again with white distilled vinegar. Blot thoroughly with a dry towel.
Rub an ice cube over the gum to harden it, then scrape off the excess with a dull knife. To remove what’s left, use dry cleaning fluid.
Chocolate (and other soft candy)
This is a combination greasy/non-greasy stain. Scrape excess away, then go over the spot with cool water mixed with a liquid detergent. Blot thoroughly and then clean with dry cleaning fluid.
Coffee and tea
Sponge with warm water. Apply warm glycerine. Leave for 30 minutes. Flush out with water and dry quickly.
Sponge with warm water. Apply warm glycerine. Leave for 30 minutes. Flush out with water and dry quickly.
Fruit and fruit juices
After excess is blotted up or scraped away, blot the spot with cool water. If a stain remains, add liquid detergent and a drop of vinegar to the water. Dab the spot with this mixture and blot until there’s no trace of a stain. Then go over the area lightly with clear water to remove traces of vinegar.
Grease (including hair grease and oil)
Scrape away excess if necessary and then dab repeatedly at the stain with dry cleaning fluid. If any stain remains, go over the area with a lukewarm mixture of liquid detergent and water. Always make sure you use a clean portion so you don’t put the stain back in the fabric. Last, go over the area with a clean cloth moistened with cool clear water.
Scrape away excess and apply cool water mixed with liquid detergent, blotting frequently with a dry cloth so as not to saturate the fabric. Let dry and then go over any remaining stain with dry cleaning fluid. Blot dry.
Moisten with warm glycerine. Leave for 10 minutes. Apply liquid detergent and brush lightly. Flush out with water and dry quickly.
Rub with cut lemon before sponging with warm water. Apply small quantity of detergent with clean cloth. Blot stain then remove soapy residue with cloth wrung out in warm water and white vinegar solution (1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water).
Milk and vomit
Blot or scrape away the excess, then take a clean soft cloth and blot. Apply clear cool water to the area, blotting frequently. Then blot with a detergent solution to which you’ve added a small amount of ammonia. Blot dry and wait a few minutes. Go over the area with dry cleaning fluid, blot dry. Finally, blot the area lightly with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol.
Soft drinks, sweets and syrups
Sponge with water, add warm glycerine and work into stain. Flush out with water and dry.
Apply liquid paraffin to loosen the stain, then sponge with dry cleaning fluid.
It is especially important to treat this stain right away, before the urine dries. Otherwise, the urine may react with the fabric dyes and cause permanent discolouration. First, dab at the stain with a solution of white vinegar and water and blot dry. Then apply a mixture of liquid detergent and cool water, blotting frequently and with a dry cloth to avoid saturating the fabric. Finally, dab the spot with clear cool water and blot thoroughly.
Blot thoroughly and then dampen the entire spot with clear white vinegar. Wait a few minutes. When the area is dry, moisten it again with clear water, blotting with a dry cloth after every application of the damp cloth. If the fabric has a pile, brush in the direction of the pile when it is dry.
Chenille Yarn Fabrics
Fabrics using chenille yarn constructions from viscose rayon, acrylic, polyester or cotton fibres will behave like most pile or napped fabrics during service, i.e. orientation of pile fibres will be disrupted when sat upon, resulting in an apparently different shade on contact areas. This disruption of the pile fibres and consequent apparent colour change are inherent characteristics and should not be considered as defects.
All fabrics are tested to industry standards. It is important to note that no fabric is 100% colour fast and that it is impossible to prevent colours fading if adequate precautions are not taken in the home. Winter sun, sitting lower in the sky, can cause the most damage, particularly when protective curtains have been pulled back to 'warm the room'.
Certain clothing and accessory dyes (such as those used on denim jeans) may migrate to lighter colours. This phenomenon is increased by humidity and temperature and is irreversible.
Colours with which the fabrics are dyed, particularly bright colours, will be susceptible to light fading depending on the degree of exposure. Some fabric damage will be evident where fading is most pronounced. In situations where rooms are northerly facing or exposed to constant daylight we recommend extra caution in selecting furnishings. Sun damage: constant exposure to the direct rays of the sun will break down fabric fibres, causing them to become brittle and resulting in the affected area breaking when cleaned
When arranging your furniture, care should be taken to avoid touching external walls or radiators to prevent problems of moisture build up and/or scorching damage. Take care to prevent sharp objects such as rings, buckles and pets’ claws from coming into contact with your furniture, as this may cause snagging or tearing of the fabric. Vacuum regularly (weekly) using low suction. Rotate reversible cushions regularly. Protect from direct sunlight.
We suggest that fabrics of predominantly cotton or linen construction are not used for roman blinds as this may result in faded striping. Please ensure the correct product is specified in order to enhance performance and longevity of the roman blind. Warwick will not entertain claims relating to roman blinds when the product specified consist predominantly of natural fibres.
Fumes from chimneys, auto exhausts, open fires, gas fires, stoves, or wherever combustion is present, produce a sulphur compound which when combined with humidity and oxygen in the air produce a mild sulphuric acid. This matter is absorbed by or clings to the furnishing fabric and contributes to discolouration and deterioration of the fabric.
Pink Stain Protection
In Marine and Outdoor vinyl applications mildew and fungal organisms may enter the foam upholstery through the seam areas. These organisms may produce coloured by-products causing ‘pink stain’. If bacterial growth proliferates on wet and untreated substructure components, the pink stain by-product will gradually work its way to the surface and stain the vinyl coated fabric, even if the vinyl is well-protected against bacteria and mildew. Unlike standard vinyls, our marine and outdoor vinyls have been engineered to include mildew retardant additives, to dramatically reduce, and in most cases eliminate, the potential for pink stain situations in almost all conditions. Biocide treatment of foam cushion components of the seat is also critical to fully protect the upholstery. We recommend the use of reticulated foam cushions for outdoor applications.
All Warwick marine vinyl coated fabrics contain proven antifungal/antibacterial agents in sufficient amounts to provide years of mildew-free use. However, the best protection against pink stain is to construct marine and outdoor seating and trim pieces in such a way as to reduce moisture and dirt retention from within the foam, this can be achieved by heat sealing your seams., Also incorporate components that have been properly formulated and/or treated with an efficient anti-microbial agent.
Boat Owner Recommendations
It is recommended that boat owners cover their boats when not in use to assist in reducing the adverse effect continuous sunlight can cause, also to allow adequate ventilation to avoid trapping moisture. Sunlight and moisture can degrade upholstery components over time and shorten the service life of exterior upholstery. Boat owners should refrain from stowing wet towels, all-weather gear, swimsuits, etc. inside their boats. Moisture absorbing desiccants will aid in controlling interior moisture.
Pilling can occur occasionally as a result of normal daily wear and should not be considered as a fault. There are many variables which can trigger pilling, including climatic conditions, atmospheric purity and user environment. Even specific clothing types (fleecy tracksuits etc) can transfer pills from the clothing to the furniture fabric. As the fabric surface is rubbed, a single or small group of loose fibres on the surface begins to twist upon itself, forming tiny balls or 'pills'. Often the catalyst that starts this process is a foreign fibre or speck of dirt. Pilling can be successfully removed with battery operated pilling tools available from most haberdashery stores. 'De-pilling' only removes unsightly loose surface fibres and does not affect fabric performance.
It is the responsibility of our customers to ensure that fabrics labelled as ’reversible’ are made up in accordance with the end user’s preference. Warwick will not entertain claims relating to this issue.
All fabrics are prone to shrinkage and it is important that sufficient allowances be made. An allowance of 3% is considered an acceptable industry standard.
It is possible for fabrics, which are tested for seam slippage and approved for upholstery use, to display fraying problems. This may occur if the following recommendations are overlooked:
- Stitch lengths. Remembering that stitch lengths should always be reviewed when changing material/leather/vinyl types.
- Seam allowance and type.
Over locking and bound edging. Over locking should be used for loose woven fabrics and for seat cushion seams. Making note that narrow over lock bites are generally not suitable for upholstery fabrics. Bound edges are sometimes needed to be used in lieu of over locking to prevent fraying.
Taping. In some cases an additional safeguard of stitching through a quarter inch tape along the seam may be necessary to prevent fraying in high-load areas (such as corner back cushions). This may be done at the manufacturer’s discretion after testing on individual designs.
Pressure and load balances in individual furniture designs. Each design should be considered carefully as to the appropriate sewing and seam method.
If you need further advice it is best to direct your question to a technician from your sewing machine brand or thread supplier. As experts they will guide you to the most appropriate machinery and tools for your project.
Constant exposure to the direct rays of the sun will break down fabric fibres, causing them to become brittle and resulting in the affected area breaking when cleaned.
To protect against pile loss incurred when velvets are upholstered onto foam we recommend high wear areas be completely covered by Dacron or Calico. In particular, side and end panels of foam seat cushions should not be overlooked. We recommend curtains to be made with pile up.
When velvet curtains are hung for the first time it is recommended that they be drawn across and finely sprayed with water. The spray should dampen but not soak the velvet. The curtains should then be left to dry and under no circumstances to be touched during this period. When the curtains are dry most creases and marks will have come out and the pile should have lifted to reveal the richness and lustre of the velvet. If initially cared for, the pile should continue to improve as the atmosphere lifts it. This process can continue for several months.
Orders of velvet are protected by corrugated board. Despite this precaution, bruising can occur if the parcel is dropped or heavily crushed. If this occurs it is recommended that the fabric be unrolled and laid on the table either flat or in gentle folds and left for several days. This procedure will allow the pile to 'breathe' and recover naturally. Any severe bruising can be removed by gentle steaming.
Fumes and atmosphere in any room where tobacco is smoked will cause a yellow/brown stain on most fabrics. This is a particular problem in modern fabrics with a white or light background.
Regular light surface cleaning of leather furniture is important to prevent daily dust, grime, perspiration and body oils from becoming ingrained and causing surface damage. Obviously, lighter colours may require more attention.
Keep your leather furniture at least 30cm away from any sources of heat. Prolonged exposure to heating vents or radiators will cause your leather to dry out, crack or harden.
Avoid placing your leather furniture in direct sunlight. All materials will fade with time when exposed to the sun’s rays. Semi-Aniline and Aniline leathers are especially sensitive and must not be placed near windows or in the open air.
We recommend you do not allow any pets to come into contact with your leather upholstery as their claws may damage it. Animal saliva and other body fluids are highly aggressive. Also avoid letting buckles, studs, zips and jewellery come into direct contact with the leather surface.
Keep materials such as paint, fly/insect sprays, newspaper ink, nail polish/removers, pen inks, plant food sprays, hair creams & gels, bleach, glue and household cleaners well away from your furniture. If you really do need to use these near your sofa, make sure you cover it first. Avoid all products containing solvents or oils, as they could damage the surface of the leather.
Medications: If leather furniture is used constantly by individuals on some medications, extra care should be taken to protect leather surfaces from direct skin contact as the chemistry in these medications may react with and damage the leather finish. Headrest covers and arm protectors are advisable.
Dust weekly or use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Wipe clean using a soft damp cloth and Leather Soft Cleaner. Leather is particularly suited to people who are allergic to dust. Particles of dust are unable to penetrate leather and can easily be removed.
All leathers last longer when preventive maintenance is carried out. As a general rule, clean your furniture with Leather Soft Cleaner at least every six months to remove dirt as well as the gradual accumulation of body oils and perspiration.
For aniline and pigmented leathers, apply Leather Protection Cream to the surface of the leather to increase resistance to staining and prevent grime build up. Aniline leathers are highly absorbent and may require more frequent cleaning if they are subject to heavy usage. After cleaning, always re-apply Leather Protection Cream to renew the level of protection. Take special care to protect areas subject to heavy use such as armrests, seats and headrests.
DO NOT use care instructions on Nubuck or Suede leathers.
DO NOT use saddle soap, wax polishes or spray polishes. These can dry out the leather or add an unpleasant sticky surface which will attract daily grime.
DO NOT use any product or any method of cleaning not recommended by the manufacturer.
Note: Jeans and other non-colourfast clothing can cause colour or dye transfer which is not covered by guarantee.