Tuesday, 10 September 2019 / London, UK

HOW TO LOOK AFTER VELVET CHAIRS (IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN)


Most people I know (with young children) wouldn't dream of getting velvet upholstered dining chairs. It's kind of a crazy idea even from me, but as you know I like to stand out from the crowd. Technically they're not wrong by the way. Velvet is a relatively high maintenance material and children tend to be quite messy. I read somewhere that you shouldn't buy fabric dining chairs until your kids are 18. How depressing is that? So, by the time you get your dream chairs your grandchildren will arrive soon enough to destroy them. No thanks. I'd rather risk it and get myself some velvet dining chairs right now.

So I went against all the (sensible) advice I was given and bought myself some new velvet dining chairs to go with my new wooden table. My girls are a little bit older now (soon 4 and & 7) and I no longer have to worry about toddlers and babies in the house. They're still kids though and make a more of a mess than grown ups do (obviously). I decided to go for darker colours to hide any immediate stains. Unfortunately they don't hide breadcrumbs or hairs though. Quite the opposite but it's easy to remove them with a lint brush which is the main thing.

I placed the black and white chairs on the tops as my children won't be using them. These are our 'adult only' chairs. They are actually softer than the black ones (they are velvet polyester rather than cotton). I wouldn't dream of buying light coloured dining chairs for my girls just yet. It's not that they can't be cleaned, I would just hate to maintain them looking pristine. So that's why I opted for black chairs in the middle (plus they go with the decor too!)





In all honesty, I have found the black velvet chairs absolutely fine in the last 2 weeks. The worst stain we've had so far was yogurt and it wasn't that difficult to remove. I got rid of the stain with a bit of kitchen roll and a damp microfiber cloth. My kids aren't very messy (or so people tell me) but we are still going to get the odd stain every now and then. But this will happen no matter what material you go for. Our old dining chairs were (faux) leather and they were easy to wipe clean, but showed every single finger print. I had a much more relaxed approach (thanks to the wipeable material) and they never actually looked clean. Having velvet chairs means I need to be a bit more proactive and clean stains when they appear. I don't wipe them daily. I only clean them if a see a mark which is probably few times at the week. I do have to get rid of the breadcrumbs daily though!

Here are some tips how you can keep your velvet chairs clean and dust free..

1) HOOVER THE CHAIRS

If it wasn't for my Miele hoover I don't think I would have had the courage to buy the velvet chairs. My hoover comes with a furniture attachment (although I tend to use it without it as it's more effective). You need to make sure the suction isn't too strong for furniture (it has a separate setting for this) and I do use the furniture attachment for our sofa, curtains etc. The trouble is that it marks the velvet so I prefer to use it without it. Once a week I hoover the chairs but I only do this because I suffer from allergies. I try to keep our house as dust free as possible, so a hoover with a HEPA filter is a must.

2) USE A MICROFIBER CLOTH

I love microfiber cloths and this has been ideal with the velvet chairs. I regularly use a damp microfiber cloth to remove any marks/stains. You should always use kitchen roll first if the seat is wet to get the moisture out. Then I just clean the stain with a slightly damp cloth. I don't even need to add any detergents, warm water works just fine. You could always add a bit of dishwasher detergent for more stubborn stains (remember to dilute it with warm water). The fabric just seems to spring back to normal after using a microfiber cloth. I love it.

3) TEACH YOUR KIDS TO CLEAN THEIR HANDS AFTER EATING

I always have extra kitchen roll on the table for the kids to wipe their hands after eating. Good table manners don't cost anything, so you might as well start them young. 

4) BUY A STEAM CLEANER

I've never actually used a steam cleaner on the velvet chairs but a lot of people swear by it. There are mixed opinion on this online so it's always best to check with your chair manufacturer first. The great thing about steam cleaners is that they can be used on all soft furnishing (curtains, sofas, carpets etc) and steam also kills dust mites which means they are great for allergy sufferers like me. I've added one to my wish list now.

5) CLOTHES BRUSH

This is not a necessity but brushing the chairs occasionally is apparently very good for velvet. It's also a handy way to get the breadcrumbs/dirt off the chair. It's better to use the soft side as some velvets (like silk) can be very delicate. Also, make sure you're brushing it to the right direction where the velvet fibers are woven. If you do end up with a large wet stain, brushing the velvet will help you to restore the fibers after cleaning it.

6) BABY WIPES


A lot of people use baby wipes to clean smaller stains but I personally prefer a damp microfiber cloth. Both work just fine. Baby wipes are probably more convenient though.

7) HAIRDRYER

I bet you're a bit sceptical about this one. Apparently larger spillages and deep cleans require a bit of heat and air. Water can leave nasty watermarks on the chairs which is why drying with a hairdryer afterwards is recommended. I've used the hairdryer method on our light grey sofa but never on the new chairs. I find that they dry fine on their own but you may need to do some extra work with lighter colours/bigger stains.

8) VELVET CLEANER

You could buy a cleaning solution for your velvet chairs or make your own with baking soda. Luckily I haven't had the pleasure to resort to any cleaning solutions yet, so please do it at your own risk or try it on a smaller area first (at the bottom of the chair).

9) STICKY BRUSH

These are handy, especially if you have any pets or long haired ladies in the house. I have one but I don't really use it. It's too much hassle and I usually just stick with my damp microfiber cloth. 

10) PROFESSIONAL CLEANERS

For bigger stains I would always hire a pro. It's so much easier and hassle free and they really can do miracles. It's probably not a bad idea to get them annually professionally cleaned (same with carpet and rugs).

I'm going to be 100% honest with you here and say that velvet is not a carefree material (if that's what you're after). It's beautiful and luxe, but yes it's also more work than leather or wood for example. I do find it easier to maintain than regular flat weave fabrics though. Our light grey couch shows stains and watermarks so easily. If you want a (more) low maintenance velvet stick to darker colours (blacks, dark greys, navy, greens etc) or go for 'clever velvets' that are made of synthetic materials. I find my new chairs so comfy that I don't mind looking after them. They also aren't as much work to maintain as people think. If you think I'm hoovering and dusting them daily you couldn't be more wrong. I have two small children and I don't have time for that. I only clean the chairs when I see a stain and hoover them once a week and that's it. I do think going for darker colours makes a huge difference. I don't know how long they'll last but I've heard that good quality velvet (especially cotton) can look good for decades. Of course the chairs can be upholstered too but whether I still want velvet chairs after 10 years is a different story. Velvet dining chairs are not for everyone but I don't think you should rule them out just because you have children.

What are your thoughts on velvet? Would you consider velvet chairs if you have children?
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