How to Care for Velvet

Caring for velvetIt’s easy to fall in love with velvet. The classic warmth and rich texture of the irresistible fabric brings a soft touch to its surroundings. So why is it so hard to commit to?

The should-I-or-shouldn’t-I dilemma of velvet lies in its luxurious beauty. How will it hold up over time? Can it keep its luster? While it can’t match the durability of microfiber or Sunbrella – both are certainly more suitable choices for kids or pets – velvet can hold up over the long haul with a little care and effort on your part, much like any successful relationship. Follow our tips below to keep your velvet looking lustrous for years to come – and you’ll love it forever.

Tips on caring for velvet

Basic Maintenance

For velvet drapery or pillow covers, dry-clean regularly. In between cleanings, use a soft-bristle brush to dust and remove fuzz. For spills or stains, follow our tips below. If you prefer to switch out your velvet drapery in the warmer months, keep them dust-free by hanging them in a breathable covering away from light and moisture.

The dry-cleaning option obviously goes out the window with upholstered furniture. The most important thing you can do to keep any upholstered furniture looking its best is to vacuum regularly, preventing surface dust from settling into the fabric. For velvet, use the small brush attachment of your vacuum and run it in the direction of the nap. If you fear your attachment is not very clean, wrap it in cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band to protect your velvet upholstery.

You can also dry brush with a soft-bristled hair brush to dust and remove hair or fuzz. This especially works if you need to clean it in a jiffy! 

Caring for velvet

Stains & Spills

Any spills should be treated as quickly as possible by gently pressing a white absorbent cloth or paper towel over the spill. Slightly moistening the cloth with lukewarm water may help as well. Just be careful not to rub or pat the spill, which will force the moisture deeper into the fabric.

For more persistent stains, there are a couple of solutions you can try. The first requires mixing a few drops of dishwashing detergent with a small amount of warm water in a bowl. Agitate the solution until suds fill the top of the bowl. Using a soft white cloth, apply only the suds to the stained area, taking care to not over wet the fabric. Lightly dab the stain until it starts to fade. Blot with a clean cloth to remove the remaining stain and any residue from the suds. Allow the area to dry completely, using a hair dryer on its lowest setting if necessary.

If that doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to use a dry cleaning solvent. Follow the directions on the packaging to dilute the solution. Apply a small amount on a clean cloth – never directly on the fabric – and lightly dab into the stain just as you did with the suds mixture. Use a damp, clean cloth to remove any residual shampoo. Let it dry completely.

Caring for velvet

Reviving Its Sheen

Has your velvet lost its luster? You can use a steamer to restore its signature shine. Keep the nozzle moving across the velvet at a moderate pace in the direction of the nap. After it’s completely dry, brush it in the direction of the nap using a soft-bristled hair brush.

Are you ready to commit? Do you have any helpful tips for caring for velvet? Tell us in the comments below.

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How to Decorate Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.

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8 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kristyn

    April 5, 2016
     

    I am having old chairs reupholstered in velvet fabric. Should I use “scotch guard” on the fabric to protect them from possible spills?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      April 5, 2016
       

      Kristyn,
      It never hurts to give your upholstered pieces extra protection against stains and spills, so we would always recommend it if you’re considering. Think about where you’re putting your old chairs. Are they in a super high traffic living room? Or are they in a corner of your master bedroom. If in the living room, we definitely recommend it! If there in a space where you feel safe they won’t be at risk, the fabric protectant may not be as important.
      Hopefully that helps!

  2. Reply

    Deborah

    October 18, 2015
     

    We stored our velvet chairs for a few months while doing a condo rehab. Unfortunately they got piled on top of each other and now have matted areas across the seat and a few area on the back. Will steaming the damaged areas help to restore the velvet… or brushing …or both? Not sure I want to do anything until I find the proper technique.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      October 21, 2015
       

      Steaming should help a ton! First try that. Also, over time the pile should come back up as they get use. Best of luck, Deborah!

  3. Reply

    Cheryl

    December 11, 2014
     

    I have been viewing drapes especially the hardware. I have purchased bulap lined curtains from BD for my master bedroom. Love them!! I plan to purchase drapery for my foyer (front door) sidelights. I recently came across an article in HB about drapery hardware and light fixtures should be of the same/similar finish. How important is it to match these finishes? I have the BD orb 6 light chandelier (silver finish) in my dining room; however my drapery rods are black. I have an open kitchen dinging livingroom layout with 8′ to 16′ windows/doors. Do I paint my orb light or just leave is as is?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      December 17, 2014
       

      Hi Cheryl,
      If you use both metals more than one throughout the space, we don’t think it should be an issue if the hardware and lighting doesn’t match! Maybe just bring in a bit more silver throughout the space, and we think it’ll look fantastic. Black and silver pair well together anyway!
      Hope that helps,
      The How to Decorate Team

  4. Reply

    Linda denton

    January 18, 2014
     

    Are the velvet crush drapery panels (item # RY004) lined or unlined. If lined, please tell me with what are they lined.

    • Reply

      How to Decorate Team

      April 3, 2014
       

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for your comment. Our Signature Velvet Drapery panels are lined, and the lining is 100% cotton. Hope that helps!

      Happy Decorating,
      The How to Decorate Team

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