How to choose a cover fabric if a cat or dog also sleeps on the sofa?

Do you keep a dog, cat or increasingly popular rabbit indoors? If these four-legged pets are legitimate members of your household, they will probably appear on your sofa from time to time. Whether they really belong there divides people into two camps. In favor of the opponents, the presence of dirt and scratches from claws, typical for animals, speaks mainly. If you do allow your pet to sleep on your sofa, choose the cover fabric carefully and take care of it with precision.

What the cover has to face

While the nightmare of many people is the soiling of the cover fabric with spilled wine or juice, in the case of animal lovers, these pitfalls are also compounded by minor "accidents" of their pets (saliva, urine, vomit, mud...) or the constant battle with omnipresent animal hair and scratches from claws. In addition, animals also have their own specific smell , which the householders don't even realize after a while.

All these typical impurities originating from animals worsen the condition of the cover, both in terms of utility and aesthetics. Insufficient maintenance of the cover can even lead to an increase in health risks that result from the proliferation of various microorganisms that have settled in the upholstery. The listed factors that affect the cover are also the reason why it is clearly not recommended that animals make litter on the sofa.

Dense and easy to maintain

If you don't want your visitors to turn up their noses at the smell of an animal that you may no longer smell yourself, or at the unattractive appearance of the cover due to various "bitten" spots, it is necessary to choose a cover fabric with optimal surface treatments.

These include, for example, the Easy Life treatment, which prevents liquid from soaking into the fabric. The Easy Cleaning treatment , which enables easy cleaning of stains, can also be very useful. Teflon (resistance to liquids, grease, dirt) and hydrophobic treatment (resistance to water penetration under the surface of the fabric) will also bring you a similar benefit. These adjustments are necessary because excreta and dirt coming from animals have a negative effect on the fibers of the fabric, they weaken them, and so the fabric is more prone to tearing, for example.

When choosing a suitable upholstery fabric for a household with a pet, the fabric's weave is just as important as the Martindale value (which determines the fabric's resistance to abrasion). In a sparse weave, pointed animal claws easily catch and pull the fibers outward, with a dense weave this is much less likely.

An important property of the fabric is also good color fastness. This refers to how resistant the material is not only to the influence of light, but it can also include the resistance of the paint to water, which you, as pet owners, will probably have to use more often than a regular sofa user.

What substances to prefer

If we can't prevent our pet from lying on the couch, synthetic upholstery materials (that is, composed of chemical fibers) can be a suitable choice. This includes, for example, fabrics composed of polyester (typical properties: low shrinkage and moisture, excellent retention of its shape and dimensions, good resistance to abrasion, mould), polyamide (high tensile strength and resistance to abrasion, elasticity, low absorbency, resistance to moulds), made of polyolefin (dry and wet strength, moisture wicking ability, good resistance to abrasion, mould) or polyurethane material (high ductility, good resistance to sweat, grease, cleaning agents). Fabrics with such a composition include, for example, the popular microfiber or chenille.

Alternatively, we can reach for mixed cover fabrics, which are a combination of natural and chemical fibers (for example, polyester and cotton). In any case, however, it must be remembered that even the best quality material cannot handle everything, so negative influences must be avoided and proper and regular maintenance must be taken care of.

Sample: polyester cover fabrics (Valentina, Season, Napp, Boston, Le Mans)

After the walk

Thorough hygiene of the animal after every walk outdoors is a must. With careful care, you will not only avoid parasites that animals carry, but also dirt such as mud, pollen and the like. Upholstery fabrics intended for interior use do not "count" with pollution of this nature. And so the cleaning agents most often recommended to you (water, neutral soap solution) may not be enough to remove dirt brought by a dog or cat on its paws, fur or snout. More aggressive cleaners can irreversibly damage the cover material.

When choosing a fabric, it is good to take into account its color and pattern. Stains, dirt, hair are more visible on some fabrics than on others.

After returning from a walk, the dogs do not take off their clothes at the door, nor do they go to wash their paws... It is up to us to take care of all the unwanted dirt.

Blanket and scratching post

If your dog or cat has a favorite place on the couch, the easiest solution is to use a blanket or blanket that prevents the animal from coming into direct contact with the cover. However, choose a blanket that has a similar shade to the sofa and does not have a high fiber. When choosing an unsuitable blanket, there may be an increased formation of lint on the cover (it is good to think about the property "resistance to pilling" when buying, which reflects the fabric's ability to resist the formation of unsightly knots).

What must also be considered is the fact that cats are literally attracted to the softness of upholstery fabrics and their instinctive scratching can fray the fiber and damage the surface of the upholstery. The animal doesn't care if you paid hundreds or thousands of euros for your new couch. The best solution is therefore to provide the cat with a scratcher for daily nail grinding. Especially with a cat, it should be taken into account that a dense, strong, smooth fabric is more resistant to claws.

Animal hair is an additional concern

An additional task that households without pets do not deal with is removing hair from the upholstery of a sofa, armchair or chair. You can get rid of animal hair in several ways. The most common way of removing them is vacuuming. If you don't have a vacuum cleaner at hand, you can also help yourself with a moistened hand or an ordinary rubber glove, which will create static energy and catch fine hairs.

However, some dog breeds have short, needle-sharp hairs that penetrate the upholstery and literally stick into the fabric. They can be handled, for example, by adhesive rollers for removing dirt. A brush for animal hair with silicone bristles will also be a great helper before thoroughly beating the seat.

However, the care of the cover does not end with the removal of hair. As they say, the main thing is invisible to the eye. Regular vacuuming of the sofa from dust, various minor and larger impurities, removal of stains as soon as they occur, or impregnation that prolongs the cleaning of the fabric, as well as deep cleaning of the sofa at least once a year, all of this is one of the basic duties of the owner of the sofa if he wants you to the upholstery fabric has maintained its quality, health safety and good appearance for as long as possible. It is also advisable to think about possible visits. People with allergies may not tolerate sitting on a sofa, on which a dog, cat or rabbit is also lying.

Having a pet in the household can bring a lot of positives and joy, but remember that they simply do not belong on the sofa. However, if you can't wean them from it, at least make sure to choose the most suitable cover fabric and follow up with thorough care. So you can save yourself unnecessary worries.

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