A new sofa might have a few extra fibres in the beginning, similar to the way new carpet might need bit of extra vacuuming to start with. This is nothing to be concerned about but a natural process that will stop over time as the fabric is worn in. Before this time you might need to gently brush the sofa, with short strokes in one direction, with a soft clothing brush.
Much like carpet, your wool sofa will benefit from regular vacuuming. Do this with an upholstery attachment, if your vacuum has one, as this is specially designed for the types of wool fibres used in upholstery. This will pick up dust that may settle in between the fibres and if not removed, will eventually begin to damage the fabric. Do not use a vacuum with a rotary brush as this will damage the fabric. For fast removal of small dry spills, such as crumbs, a gentle brush can also be used.
While Merino wool’s inherent protective outer layer makes it naturally stain resistant you will need to protect your couch for the long term if you clean up any spills as soon after they happen as possible. Like carpet, the best way to do this is use an approved product or ingredient suitable to the specific stain. Once the stain is removed, dry the area thoroughly, dabbing not scrubbing. Do not let the area dry until the stain is removed otherwise it will be harder to get out.
If your couch has removable covers — a sensible option if you have a young family or friends partial to spilling their red wine — you can wash them as well. Most Merino wool is able to go in the washing machine and tumble dryer. Just turn the covers inside out and always use a wool safe detergent.
If your covers are not removable and more than a year has past and your sofa is looking a little tired, you might want to hire professional upholstery cleaner. Just be sure to choose a reputable company that has a proven good track record with cleaning Merino wool upholstery.
Illustration: Barry Allen Patenaude
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