Is Scotchgard worth it, and if not, how do I keep white sofa clean?
July 24, 2012 3:25 PM   Subscribe

White cotton-upholstered couch -- help me keep it clean. Pros and cons of using Scotchgard or similar product? Health risks for people and pets? Other methods?

I understand that Scotchgard works, but I also see some disturbing stuff online about its health risks and environmental badness. Anybody have perspective on how to weigh these and what the current evidence says?
We have an indoor cat but no kids, if that's relevant.

We would apply it ourselves; the store does not do it. Tips on applying, or best type to get?

Other methods of stain prevention? Most slip covers seem very loose and bulky, made for overstuffed furniture - but this couch has rectangular lines and is not overstuffed. Do you know of any slipcovers that fit a more modern, angular style of sofa, and preserve its lines? Or non-slipcover options?
posted by LobsterMitten to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also your best tips for cleaning white cotton upholstery appreciated.

We just got the couch, and I'm trying to think ahead.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:27 PM on July 24, 2012

I've used Scotchgard on camping stuff, but I'm dubious about it working on something so big and conspicuous. It does wear off, so you have to reapply periodically -- and if you don't do it soon enough, all it takes is one spilled glass of wine to ruin your couch.

If you have your heart set on white, bleachable cotton slipcovers are the only ways I can imagine it not turning into a grubby mess. Try Googling "tailored slipcovers" to find the kind you want.

Here are DIY instructions.
Here's a place that does custom.
posted by ottereroticist at 5:20 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Update, we're had the couch for a month and so far so good. Have had one staining incident, but cleaned it up very quickly - dabbing with a cloth with Woolite+water, then dabbing with just water, then dabbing to draw the water out. This worked okay; used Woolite because we didn't have upholstery cleaner handy. But it did leave a slightly lightened spot, so maybe Woolite has some blueing in it, or maybe the whole couch is a little dirty from being in the furniture store.

It definitely shows accumulation of cat hair and that sort of thing more than a darker couch, so regular lint roller/dustbustering is in order. I've also started keeping a cloth (right now I'm using a spare pillowcase, but in colder weather I'll have a blanket there) nearby for putting under slightly dirty feet if I want to curl up, etc.

I found a series of videos on Youtube which show professional upholstery cleaning services doing their thing, using special devices (steam cleaners/wet-vacs (?)) that have very strong suction. This suggests to me that a rental steam cleaner could maybe do the job for regular maintenance.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:27 PM on August 24, 2012

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