To spray or not to spray your furniture? It’s no longer a question

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Sheryl Novak
Sheryl Novak
Sheryl Novak is an expat Canadian and owner of SOLutions Mexico, an online furniture store in Mexico. Sign up for our free newsletters, which deliver our top headlines twice a week.
Performance fabric is the best option when furniture needs to stand up to stains. Photo: Courtesy

Nothing takes a beating in your home in Mexico like your upholstered furniture. Every piece must withstand harsh environmental conditions such as extreme humidity, hungry bugs and direct sunlight. Everyday use also takes its toll more so than back home.

Sun screen, lotions and bug sprays easily rub off, causing stains. If you enjoy entertaining, there are sure to be some spills regardless if your guests are adults or grandchildren.      

Upholstered furniture has three components that must be protected. Most people focus on the making sure the cover looks and wears. To protect your upholstered goods, it is important to look for ways to also safeguard its wood frame and foam cushioning.

Up until the 21st century, the main solutions to protect your sofa, sectional or occasional chair were either to use a slipcover or to coat the piece with an after-sale protective spray purchased at the grocery store. Most may recall Scotchgard. Although still on supermarket shelves, it is no longer the best solution.

Did you know that spray-coating upholstered furniture with an over-the-counter solution is not a one-time process. If you are like me, I wiped the surface after a spill and mistakenly thought the sofa was still protected. What I sadly found out is that if you drop something in that spot in the future, the protection is gone and the stain remains.

A store-bought after-sales spray may protect the cover from staining but it will not necessarily keep liquid from soaking through to the cushion. If the liquid has an odor, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to remove the smell. Worse, wet foam that does not dry out is prone to mildew and mold.

From an aesthetics perspective, after-sales sprays often add a sheen to fabric covers. This can significantly alter the look and feel of the major décor pieces in your Mexico home.

The worst downside of using a store-bought after-sales spray is that no matter how hard we may try, the coating will never be applied consistently. There is no way to tell when you have missed a spot until you see the fading or discoloration after a couple of years. By that time, it is too late to reverse the look of the lighter colored arm or seat cushion.

The far superior solution is performance fabric. Performance fabric is water and stain resistant. Liquid will bead on the surface of the fabric. It never soaks in; it never stains; it never smells. In addition to the cover looking new for years, the cushion and frame will also be better protected. There is no change to the matte or sheen of your sofa since the material is pre-treated before your upholstered furniture is produced. And, because the treatment is done in a controlled manufacturing environment with precision machinery, the coverage is complete and consistent.

Sofas, sectionals, sofa beds, recliners and ottomans made with performance fabric are now available in Mexico. For more information, including which stores offer them, email Sheryl Novak is an expat from Canada and specializes in providing furniture to English-speaking customers at

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