If you’re a design aficionado (or just, you know, have Instagram…) you’ll know that boucle is the material of the moment. Plush, cosy and chic, we love the visual appeal of boucle, which has a woollen, almost ‘bobbly’ look and feel.

Boucle is the perfect fabric choice for a sofa, ottoman or chair – but as all of us with pets or kids know, these can be some of the messiest, highest traffic spots in the home. So, it’s important that you know all about caring for and cleaning your boucle chair before you add this gorgeous weave to your interiors repertoire. We spoke to the experts, our stylists, to get their top tips for boucle owners – here’s what they had to offer.

A step-by-step guide to cleaning sofa fabric

The concept of cleaning the sofa is daunting in itself, even if you’ve done it a million times. Sofas are delicate, and frankly, expensive, so the potential for getting things wrong can feel quite scary. With the right tools and advice at your disposal, though, giving your couch a good clean is quick, easy and stress-free. Follow these steps for a sparkling clean every time…
Small loops of fabric that create that bobbly, fuzzy texture make up this durable fabric.

Understanding your fabric

Knowledge is power, so it’s always best to start off with a thorough understanding of the material you’re dealing with, and what it does and doesn’t like or tolerate. Boucle is a mix of wool and nylon that is typified by small loops of fabric that create that bobbly, fuzzy texture. It’s highly durable and doesn’t tend to pill like a lot of other fabrics, making it an ideal choice for your seating, as well as other furniture items, clothing like jackets, and homewares such as throw pillows. Because it’s a blend of a synthetic fabric (nylon) and a slightly more delicate, natural fibre (wool), boucle lands somewhere in the middle of the maintenance spectrum – as long as you keep it in good condition, it won’t show lots of wear and tear, and spot cleaning should be relatively easy.

Getting prepared

When you’re prepping to clean your boucle sofa or chair, you’ll need a few items to hand. The first is a water-based fabric cleaner, many of which are easy to find at the supermarket. For those tougher stains, it’s recommended you use a dry cleaning solvent, which can also be found at most shops for an affordable price. If you don’t have anything special lying around but desperately need to clean your boucle piece, a good ‘around the house’ go-to is a small amount of dish soap or washing detergent mixed with water, which will do the trick on a variety of marks and spills.

You’ll also need a cloth and/or sponge ready to go – if you can, keep a couple in your furniture cleaning kit at all times, as they’re bound to come in handy! The final piece of the puzzle for regular maintenance is a vacuum cleaner, preferably a handheld or one with a smaller attachment for getting into those nooks and crannies created by the texture of the boucle fabric.

How to clean boucle fabric

When you’ve assembled a solid arsenal of tools, you’re ready to jump on any stains that might appear at random (blame the red wine). You’ll also have everything you need to perform regular maintenance to ensure your boucle’s looking spic and span at all times!

Tackling stains on boucle

If you’ve spilled something on your boucle couch, our first piece of advice is to take action as soon as you can. The longer a stain is left to simmer, the worse the outcome will be – and if your boucle is a traditional white or cream, an extra few minutes could make a drastic difference to the appearance of your beautiful furniture piece. Thankfully, boucle is low absorption, so it’s not likely to suck up lots of liquid, meaning your stains should stay on the surface for a while.

If you’re working with a wet stain, start by soaking up any excess moisture using a clean, dry cloth. Then, grab a fresh cloth or a sponge for your product. If the stain is water-based (e.g. wine, soft drink) dip your cloth into a water-based cleanser or your dish soap and water mixture. Apply to the area and rub gently to remove the stain, using small, repetitive strokes. If the stain is oil-based (e.g. food, cosmetics), use your dry cleaning solvent in a similar manner, working from the outside-in to tackle the stain.

On the other hand, if the stain on your boucle lounge is dry, it’ll be much easier to clean. Grab your vacuum and fit it with a small attachment to make it easier to clean. Vacuum up any crumbs or remnants of the dry stain, avoiding any long strokes, but rather holding the suction in place and changing its position after 5-10 seconds. This will prevent the stain from spreading or streaking. If there’s still residue left over, use the same method you’d use for a water-based stain.

One hot tip to remember when working with boucle furniture in particular is that the fabric is pretty durable, but doesn’t take super well to being rubbed vigorously, as this can affect the appearance of the loops. So, be sure to go slowly and gently for best results!

Beautiful boucle seen on our Bailey Armchair

Maintaining your boucle

In addition to mopping up any stains or buffing away marks, boucle will need a little maintenance – but, if you put this time in regularly, it’ll keep your fabric looking good as new, and make it easier to spot clean whenever the time comes.

The most important (and thankfully, the simplest!) step in the maintenance process is vacuuming your boucle sofa or chair. Using a small, gentle attachment once again, give your boucle piece a good once-over every one to two weeks. This is an especially salient tip if you’re working with a light-coloured fabric like white or cream, as any crumbs, particles or dust will show up sooner and affect the overall hue of your couch. Vacuuming is essential to maintaining most sofa fabrics, but in particular boucle, due to the intricate loops of the material.

Other tips for cleaning a fabric lounge

Whether you’re dealing with boucle or are cleaning a fabric couch of some other description, there are some tips that are universal – ensuring you know them will make the maintenance process ten times easier!

  • Always work from the outside-in on any fabric stain. This will prevent the stain’s edges from bleeding any further.
  • It’s always a good idea to use sponges, cloths or rags in a similar colour to your couch where possible. Although colour transfer doesn’t happen often, there’d be nothing worse than removing a stain just to create another one!
  • If you have the forethought, spot test your cleaning products on a small, unnoticeable area of your sofa or chair to guarantee they work and don’t affect the integrity of the material.

Our favourite boucle pieces

Now that you know all there is to know about caring for and maintaining boucle, we hope you feel confident in your decision to bring this gorgeous fabric into your home.