What to Know Before Reupholstering Your Sofa With Microfiber Upholstery Fabric

While I love my sofa, I realized the fabric had become threadbare, and it was time to reupholster it. Looking at the many different upholstery fabrics, I decided to opt for microfiber upholstery fabric because it is so easy to maintain. It’s also affordable. 

However, I soon realized there were a few other things I should have known before simply choosing the first possible type of microfiber upholstery fabric. Luckily, the great consultants at Kovi Fabrics helped me out, and I was able to choose the best type of microfiber for my sofa project. Here’s what I learned. 

Getting to Know Microfiber Upholstery Fabric for Your Sofa

Knowing a few facts about microfiber upholstery fabric can prepare you for its unique properties and how this will influence the use and functionality of your sofa when you upholster in this material. 

What Is Used to Make Microfiber Fabric?

Microfiber is made of synthetic compounds, which allow for the manufacture of a very fine synthetic fiber that is finer than silk. These thin fibers weave into a fabric that is extra soft and dense enough to repel moisture. 

In upholstery fabric terms, a fiber is measured in denier. A microfiber measures 0.9 to 0.4 denier. Contrast this with silk that measures a denier of 1.25, and you’ll get why microfiber is called microfiber. 

This moisture-flicking structure of microfiber fabric ensures that microfiber doesn’t stain as long as you wipe up the liquid in a short timeframe. An additional benefit of using microfiber is that the fine and dense weave will not only repel moisture, but it will also repel dust and foreign particles. This is what makes microfiber ideal for pet-friendly upholstery projects. 

… And Microsuede? 

Microsuede is a microfiber that has been mechanically roughed to produce the suede finish. Real suede is a leather byproduct, whereas microsuede is simply the next step in microfiber technology. 

There are different qualities of microsuede available, and the fabric thickness will contribute to the overall feel and lasting stain resistance. 

Microfiber and Stain Resistance

Microfiber is often lauded as being utterly stain resistant, but this is inaccurate. Yes, microfiber will repel most stain-causing moisture and other particles, but it can be stained if that glass of red wine is allowed to soak the microfiber. So the stain-proofing of microfiber relies on your speedy actions to clean the fabric before a stain can form. 

Microfiber Upkeep Routines 

What I learned from the Kovi consultants is that microfiber requires a very specific upkeep routine to ensure the fabric retains its soft touch, stain resistance, and great appearance. 

While you may believe that microfiber upholstery fabric is so easy to care for that you do nothing to maintain it, this is not the reality. There is work in managing your microfiber upholstered furniture. 

A typical week caring for your microfiber sofa will include the following: 

  • Daily vacuum with a soft-bristled brush attachment
  • Immediate spot cleaning when a stain or spill has occurred (I’ll share a great cleaning recipe later)
  • A weekly wipe-down with a damp cloth
  • Monthly (or at least quarterly) wash with upholstery cleaner 

Microfiber Upholstery Fabric and Pets

Before you ask, microfiber is great for pets. It really is, yet there are many bad reviews online about microfiber not “cutting it” for some pet owners. I wondered why, and the answer was simple. Not all microfibers are created equal. 

Microfiber with a denier of 0.9 is much coarser than one with a denier of 0.4, which will result in the coarser microfiber producing a fabric that is less closely woven. A finer fiber creates a much denser fabric that is truly pet-proof. Cat and dog nails won’t be able to penetrate the weave of a 0.4 denier microfiber. 

Another weak spot for microfiber and pets is where the panels are joined. The seams of a good-quality microfiber upholstered sofa should not show the stitches clearly. When the stitches show clearly, the fabric has been sewn too tightly, and the stitches will pull when your pets jump onto and off the sofa. 

Exposed stitches are also an area where pet nails can hook, rip, and burst seams to damage your sofa upholstery. 

Measuring Correctly and Tensioning Microfiber Upholstery Fabric 

Another important thing to know about microfiber upholstery fabric for your sofa reupholstery project is that microfiber needs to be tensioned correctly to prevent the fabric from sagging. 

On the flip side, microfiber has very little “give” to it, which means that if you were even as little as an eighth of an inch short on your measurement, your sofa covers won’t fit the cushions as there is no extra stretch to microfiber. 

The thicker the microfiber, the denser the fibers are woven, and the less give the fabric will have. This is great when you want to ensure your sofa seat cushions don’t form ugly pulling lines—if you measured correctly from the start. 

Colors and Microfiber Upholstery Fabric

When choosing microfiber upholstery fabric, it is really important to realize that the colors aren’t just colors. The tone of the color will influence the “staining” quality of the fabric. Light colors will show more dark stains and even oily residue from your hands or on the back cushions where your head rests (yip, hair products can really be a challenge to microfiber). 

Dark-colored microfiber can show dust and may be subject to fading if the furniture item isn’t UV protected and is in direct sunlight. 

The best choice in colors for microfiber fabric is to opt for a medium tone in the colors you like. Medium-toned microfiber upholstery will also have less risk of showing “light stains” when you brush the fabric pile to one side or the other. 

Final Verdict on Microfiber Upholstery Fabric 

Ultimately, I decided to go for a medium denier microfiber that was soft and luxurious, while still giving a little bit of stretch. I carefully chose an upholsterer (thanks to a recommendation from the Kovi Fabrics team) who knew exactly how to tension the microfiber upholstery fabric correctly. 

The result has been breathtaking. I simply love my new reupholstered microfiber upholstery fabric sofa. My cat can stretch and extend her claws without me worrying that she will rake up the upholstery, as the microfiber is resistant to hooking and pilling. 

I was careful to choose a medium tone in the blue shades I wanted, and with quality workmanship from the upholsterer, the microfiber fabric has held up well to the first few months since my sofa was delivered. 

To choose the best microfiber upholstery fabric for your reupholstery project, consider the denier density you need, the color, and your ability to maintain and care for the upholstery. Happy upholstering!

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