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Can I go with a light microfiber fabric?

December 10, 2013
I want to buy a sectional for my family room. I love the idea of using a light gray microfiber, but I worry about it showing stains. I'm not talking about someone spilling something on it, but the stains that are caused by people sitting on the couch over time. I could see the sample sectional in the store had these stains. See attached photo. Can I get away with using a light gray? Is microfiber something that I can professionally clean and it will look like new again? I thought about using two, different fabrics for the sectional--a lighter one for the frame and darker one for the cushions. Is it better for me to get one color for the whole thing? I loved the way these chairs looked with the two colors. I welcome your input.
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Comments (26)

  • PRO
    Marc Russell Interiors
    There's alot going on here! Let's start with that show room shot. The sectional looks filthy, the quality of the sewing is awful, and the pillows smell cheap! Run out of there and never return. Microfiber cannot be treated, and shouldn't be cleaned with professional soaps. Warm water is your best bet. If you must use Microfiber, find a dealer with updated swatches. The new generation of Microfibers are almost palatable! The chairs in the picture aren't bad looking, but I wouldn't 2 tone the sofa. Good luck!
    Alex511 thanked Marc Russell Interiors
  • Darzy
    I love this one for a stylish sectional. Gray/white piping. I had microfiber before and hated it. Sofa/chair given away!
    A Ginebra Sofa · More Info
    Alex511 thanked Darzy
  • saratogaswizzlestick
    I have never had microfiber and am surprised by these comments. What is wrong with it?
  • Sharon
    Microfiber is wonderful for a sofa. I owned a red sectional microfiber for 10 years and I sold it because I moved to a smaller house. I recently purchased another sectional in blue microfiber and it's great. Go for it...
    Alex511 thanked Sharon
  • Darzy
    Mine looked dirty all of the time with "normal" use. Even the showroom sofa above looks dirty with only customer use.
    Alex511 thanked Darzy
  • love2browse
    I'm going to attempt to have mine clean after Christmas, so I'll try and let you know how it turns out. The chair my husband sits in looks awful!
    Alex511 thanked love2browse
  • armipeg
    It's probably hard to believe but we have a beige microfiber sofa & loveseat in our family room and they got very dirty and stained over time. So, I thought I could wash and scrub them with dishwashing detergent, hose them down, and let the sun dry them out in our backyard (we live in Southern California). I gave it a shot and it really worked. Now I have new looking, fresh smelling furniture, that I can use for another 2-3 years.
    Alex511 thanked armipeg
  • Darzy
    Yes, I cleaned mine as well and it worked (I have a carpet cleaner with upholstery attachment). I got tired of the maintenance and switched to leather. :)
  • Alex511
    These responses are very helpful. Thank you so much! Keep 'em coming!
  • Christina
    I have a microfiber couch in my family room and I hate it as well. I don't like the marks left behind from just sitting. I will NEVER buy it again. I'll either get chenille or leather when I change out my furniture in the next couple of years.
    Alex511 thanked Christina
  • 574steele
    Make sure all the cushions have zippers so they can be removed for washing.
    Alex511 thanked 574steele
  • Lesley Delle_Grazie
    I have an olive-green microfiber sofa in my family room, and I love it! One of my son's friends dropped a piece of chocolate cake on it (naturally it landed icing-side-down) but it cleaned up no problem. Supposedly stains don't penetrate the fabric, but remain on the surface, making it much easier to clean. The thing you have to remember is that microfiber has a nap to it, so you will see where it's been sat upon, rubbed, or vacuumed. I cleaned ours last year with a rented carpet-cleaner with an upholstery attachment and I was actually surprised how much dirt came out of as it didn't even look dirty. I would imagine a really light colour would show the dirt much more though. If you really love the look of the one you've seen, then go for it, but maybe invest in some kind of upholstery cleaner (carpet shampooer).
    Alex511 thanked Lesley Delle_Grazie
  • Kim D
    I've seen advertisement in my area (Boston) for sofas made with Sunbrella fabric for interior use, not sure how cozy it is but it might be worth researching.... If you do go microfiber, don't wait to for cushions to appear dirty start with a once a month cleaning regimen to stay ahead of the results of the picture in your post.
    Alex511 thanked Kim D
  • Alex511
    One of the things I was worried about in picking a darker color was the room having a dark large piece of furniture in the room. We get good lighting in the room. Is this an unnecessary worry?
  • armipeg
    @alex511 , If you have a good amount of light coming through your windows, shouldn't worry about the darkness of the furniture. Plus you can always lighten up, or cheer up that area with throws and cushions by using lighter, and brighter version of your favorite colors, or choose colors that would give contrast.
    Alex511 thanked armipeg
  • PRO
    Color Zen
    I've had issues with my microfiber and wouldn't go that route again. Have you checked out roomandboard.com? They have such great quality (modern) sofas with endless fabric choices. Good luck!
    Alex511 thanked Color Zen
  • bobbsey
    Our Classic Gallery microfiber sectional—very expensive when we bought it twenty-one-years ago—has just started showing wear over the last few years. It always has looked beautiful! We've been on the hunt for a new sectional for a while now but nothing comes close to the beauty, plus it's worn like iron. Either we recover it or order another from Classic Gallery. Go microfiber; spots just wipe off with a damp rag. Ours is Teal Green; I don't know if a lighter color wouldn't "wear" badly. In looking at the above comments, you do have to be okay with a "nap."
    Alex511 thanked bobbsey
  • PRO
    JudyG Designs
    A sofa is a huge investment. Microfiber should not be the upholstery for all the above reasons. If you want that look, but need endurance and a great look, go for ultrasuede…the real deal.
    Alex511 thanked JudyG Designs
  • bobbsey
    Thanks, iamjudy! That's actually what we have—ultrasuede, not microfiber! I was using the terms as though interchangeable.
    Alex511 thanked bobbsey
  • kristylou
    We had microfiber about 4 years ago and every time I spot cleaned it, there was a dark ugly water mark. I've heard the new microfiber doesn't do that but I can't say.... I eventually got desperate and threw my cushion covers in the washer (not in the dryer though to prevent shrinkage) and they looked brand new!! I soon learned if I needed to spot clean the arm, I needed to do the whole thing and blow dry it fast to prevent water rings. I've also ready vodka or rubbing alcohol works like a charm at cleaning microfiber. For me, I will never have it again because I can't stand how you brush the fabric one way and it's dark, then another way and it's light. It always looks dirty.
    Alex511 thanked kristylou
  • condomary
    Not all microfiber can be cleaned with water. Check the fabric tag.
    W means you must use water based cleaning solution.
    S means you must use a “solvent” based cleaner
    S-W means you can use S or W type cleaners
    X means you can vacuum only (so, no water or solvent based cleaning solutions).
    If you have it cleaned professionally, be sure to ask what they use for cleaning. Fabric that can't be cleaned with water will leave water marks. However, I have washed my cushion covers in the washer with soap and water and dried them in dryer. Came out beautifully and very soft. If you spot clean, whatever method you use, you need to restore the nap. This can be done with a new nylon pot scrubber ( or one you keep just for this purpose) buffing the area you cleaned when dry.
    Alex511 thanked condomary
  • Alex511
    Thank you for all the input you have provided me. I am grateful! (And I may be going with a non-microfiber fabric. ;-) )
  • Karen Emmons
    Microfiber, like sheets, actually has a "thread count" the higher the count, the better the furniture. Pick up the warrenty if possible, the extra 10% can give you piece of mind for about five years.
    Alex511 thanked Karen Emmons
  • PRO
    Paris Flea
    Best of luck to you! Paris
    Alex511 thanked Paris Flea
  • Nancy Travisinteriors
    I would not do a two tone. Why don't you invest in gray leather. The best thing for a family room that gets a lot of use. Their are deals shop around.
    Alex511 thanked Nancy Travisinteriors
  • Alex511
    I love the suggestions! Thank you!

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