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Upholstery: Care and Glossary

A well-informed decision can add years of enjoyment and satisfaction to your purchase. We invite you to learn more about the quality, craftsmanship and construction details you will find throughout our Furniture and Assembly Required Collections.

Furniture Collection Upholstery

Our upholstered Furniture Collection pieces are constructed with quality frames and premium cushioning, fabrics and beautiful leathers. There are three options for ordering upholstered Furniture Collection items:


We offer more fabric choices than you can imagine, and insist that each one surpass industry rub tests designed to exaggerate daily wear. We will be glad to provide fabric swatches to help you make your decision. If you need more help visualizing, you can “click-upholster” items in the Stock and Stock Plus colors available.

Care Instructions


Most of our Furniture Collection pieces are benchmade in the USA with kiln-dried wood frames, upholstered start to finish by craftsmen, not an assembly line. Almost all of our upholstery pieces feature eco-friendly components, such as certified sustainable hardwood frames and soy- or plant-based foam cushioning and a variety of recycled materials, such as steel and trillium.


Most frames in our upholstered Furniture Collection have a lifetime guarantee. Our frames are made using only kiln-dried woods to reduce movement, twisting and warping. Key joints are reinforced with traditional double-dowel joinery and/or corner blocks to withstand weight and stress.

Solid Woods

Our craftsmen carefully choose woods for the durability and beauty they will bring to our designs. The traditional woods we use are timbers hewn directly from cut or recycled trees. The terms below include many of the durable hardwoods and design features you will find in our collection.

Suspension Systems

Depending on style and function, we offer the comfortable and lasting support of traditional eight-way hand-tied springs, heavy-gauge steel sinuous wire springs or Flexolator spring suspension systems. Which is all very technical talk about really sinking in and relaxing.

Cushions and Padding

We add extra layers of premium padding to prolong the life of the fabric and to enhance the subtle curve of a chair back. Whenever feasible, we use soy- and/or plant-based foam to reduce dependency on petroleum products. We generously plump seat cushions with a variety of fills including soft down blend, and recycled and post-consumer fibers.

Furniture Collection Upholstery


Stock offers the quickest delivery time and best value. The fabric color shown on display in the store is available and in stock for immediate delivery. Additional Stock choices within select collections are also available for immediate delivery; view online or ask a store associate for details.

Stock Plus

Preselected Stock Plus colors offer more variety in fabric choices for the same price as Stock colors. Because Stock Plus items are made to order, please allow for additional production time. Excludes promotional offers on Stock items.

Many of our upholstery collections also include Stock Plus frames in additional sizes with preselected colors. We are pleased to offer these frames with the benefit of Stock Plus pricing. Please allow extra production time.


Our Furniture Collection stores offer over 2,000 Custom fabrics for most of our frames. Tweeds, stripes, florals, linens, leather. You can even bring in your own fabric (Customer’s Own Material, COM). Because these options are special orders, there are usually additional costs incurred, as well as additional production time.

Fabric Care

Rotate cushions and pillows weekly to distribute wear. Vacuum upholstery weekly using the upholstery attachment and crevice tool of your vacuum to remove loose particles. Periodic cleaning by a professional upholstery cleaning service is the only recommended cleaning method for your upholstery, including the furniture base beneath slipcovers. Annual cleaning is suggested, but this may vary depending on use. To prevent possible “bleeding” of ink onto fabric, do not leave newspapers or other printed materials lying on upholstery. Take special care when spraying household chemicals and commercial products near upholstery. Avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight. All fabric and leather will fade over time. Applying noncommercial scented fabric fresheners, neutralizers and fabric protectors is never recommended.

Spills and Spot Cleaning

In some cases, spot cleaning can cause a ring or fading. It is best to have the entire piece or cushion casing cleaned by a professional upholstery cleaning service to ensure uniform results. If you decide to spot clean on your own, check the standard cleaning code (below) to determine the correct type of product to use. Always blot—never rub—spills immediately with a clean, absorbent white cloth. Blot from the outside to the middle of the affected area to prevent rings. Pile fabrics may require brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to restore appearance. Follow the cleaning code below. Always pretest cleaning agents in a small, unnoticeable area. Never use strong chemicals or detergents.

O: Wash in cold water using biodegradable detergent or eco-friendly soap; air dry. Organic dry cleaning is also recommended. For spot cleaning, test a small inconspicuous area first with a biodegradable or eco-friendly cleaner.

W: Water-based cleaning agents or foam may be used. Use only distilled water; tap water may cause rings or fading.

S: Only mild, water-free cleaning solvents should be used. Never use water.

SW: Water-based cleaning agents, foam or mild water-free cleaning solvents may be used. Use only distilled water; tap water may cause rings or fading.

X: Clean only by vacuuming or light brushing to remove overall soil. Never use water, foam or liquid cleaning agents.

Note: For prewashed fabrics upholstered onto the frame, follow the S cleaning code.


Brush or vacuum slipcovers regularly (at least once a month). Protect from direct sunlight, which may cause fabric to fade unevenly. Immediately blot spills with a clean white cloth. Seat and back cushions should be reversed and/or rotated regularly.

Machine-Washable Slipcovers - Use a triple load washer or divide slipcovers into manageable washloads. Always wash the entire slipcover for uniform results. Close all zippers and fabric tab fasteners prior to washing. As with clothing, some fading is to be expected. Use cold water and mild detergent. Tumble dry on low until slightly damp; remove promptly to reduce wrinkling. Do not line-dry slipcovers as this may stretch the fabric.

Dry Clean-Only Slipcovers - Hire a reputable dry cleaner or professional upholstery cleaner. Always dry clean the entire slipcover for uniform results. Close all zippers and fabric tab fasteners prior to cleaning. As with clothing, some fading is to be expected.

Natural Fabric Protection

When you invest in a new piece of upholstered furniture, we recommend that you purchase our Crypton® natural fabric protection. By providing stain resistance, microbial protection and UV inhibitors to prevent fading, it keeps your upholstery looking newer, longer. We carefully treat every fiber of your fabric prior to delivery. Free of bleach, solvents and other chemicals, this eco-friendly treatment is safe for homes with children and pets. See your sales associate for pricing.

Advantages of Fabric Protection - Coats the fibers of your upholstery fabric, reducing penetration of soil and stains. Gives you extra time to effectively respond to accidents. Acts as a stain-release agent, allowing soil and stains to more easily lift off the surface when professionally cleaned. Lasts through approximately three to five complete cleanings by a professional upholstery cleaning service. Extends the life of the fabric to keep it looking new.

Note: Fabric protection is not a force field against stains. Application of this product will not prevent upholstery from getting soiled or stained, nor does it eliminate the need for routine cleaning and proper fabric care. Fabric protection is not recommended for slipcovers that you intend to wash.


If you’re investing in the beauty of leather, you’ll appreciate knowing that at Crate and Barrel we select top-grain hides—the softest, most supple, highest quality there is. Our collection features sofas, chairs, ottomans, sectionals, recliners and benches—each crafted with fine finishing details that may include topstitching, welted edges and mitered corners. Colors range from rich cognac to classic ebony, as well as seasonal new colors. Leather finishes vary depending on style, from the French flea market antiqued look to highly polished and sleek.

Full-Aniline Leather - Leather that has been dyed all the way through the top and back surfaces, allowing all the natural characteristics of the hide to be highlighted.

Natural Markings - Often it takes several hides of leather to complete one piece of furniture. Because hides vary in color and texture, each one will have its own unique characteristics. Natural markings such as wrinkles and scars are not imperfections, but rather an assurance that you have received an authentic leather product.

Semi-Aniline Leather - Top-grain leather that is aniline dyed with additional pigment and/or other topical finishes for a more even coloration.

Top-Grain Leather/Hide - The outermost layer of the leather hide, which produces the highest-quality leather.

Care Instructions

Dust regularly with a dry cloth and vacuum as needed. Leather furniture should be protected from exposure to sunlight and heat, which may cause the leather to fade or lose its soft, supple feel.

Spots, Spills and Stains - Most liquids will initially be repelled by the leather, but if left standing over an extended period of time, will be absorbed. Blot liquid immediately with a clean, absorbent cloth or sponge. If necessary, use clear, lukewarm distilled water and gently wipe the spill. Wipe with a clean towel and air dry. If water is used, clean the entire area where the spill occurred (i.e., the entire arm or cushion). Stubborn stains can be washed with a mild solution of nonperfumed, undyed soap and clear, lukewarm distilled water; then rinse, wipe well and air dry. Do not dry area using a hair dryer. Butter, oil or grease spills should be wiped with a clean, dry cloth. Spot should dissipate into the leather in a short period of time. Do not use saddle soaps, oils, abrasive cleaners, perfumed or dyed soaps, furniture polish, varnish, detergents, ammonia or harsh commercial cleaners, as they can damage and streak the leather. If you have any questions concerning your leather upholstery, please call your sales associate or a professional upholstery cleaner.

Leather Care Products

Leather Cleaner and Conditioner - A gentle cleaner for most types of leather. The conditioner provides an extra barrier to stains and helps extend the life of your leather.

Ink Remover Stick - Removes or reduces noticeable ink markings and other stains from most leathers.

Natural Fibers

Several of our exclusive designs feature handwoven natural fiber construction or accents that add texture and character to the room.

Lampakanai - A coarse sedge with distinctive triangular stems. Natural lampakanai is coffeelike in color, but can be dyed darker.

Rattan - A vinelike plant with distinctive solid stems, known for being lightweight, durable and flexible. Strands of rattan skin are peeled off the stem and used for weaving around furniture frames. The remaining core is a sturdy material also used in furniture-making.

Care Instructions

Dust regularly with a soft, dry cloth. Do not use harsh chemicals, abrasive cleaners, or silicone- or alcohol-based agents on any woven material. Clean spills with a damp cloth. Remove small particles or surface debris with a soft brush. Fiber furniture is intended for use indoors only and should be protected from exposure to sunlight.


Certified Sustainable Frames - The majority of our frames are crafted from woods that can be traced to sustainable origins and are certified by either the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

Corner Block - A wood block that is screwed into the frame corners for extra stability at the joinery.

Double-Dowel Joinery - The frame sections are designed to interlock at the corners for stability and durability. This joinery is then reinforced with wood glue and corner blocks.

FSC - The Forest Stewardship Council is a nonprofit organization that encourages responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC sets high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable way.

Kiln-Dried Hardwood - Hardwood such as ash, maple or poplar is kiln-dried to remove moisture, ensuring that the frame will not crack, split or warp. All of our frames are either CARB exempt or CARB compliant.

Low-Emission Engineered Wood/Veneer - MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard) and veneers that are produced using the strictest low-emission standards established by the California Air Resource Board (CARB) as well as the European Union.

SFI - The Sustainable Forestry Initiative program oversees more than 150 million acres of forestland in North America to make sure wildlife, plants, and soil and water quality are protected during the growth and harvesting of trees.

TFT - TFT is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote responsible forest conservation through sustainable and equitable social and economic development at all points in the supply chain of the wood, from harvesting to manufacturing. All of our solid mahogany and teak furnishings are supported by TFT.

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Solid Woods

Gmelina Wood - A sturdy hardwood produced by a plantation-grown tree, gmelina arborea. Typically used in the construction of sofa and chair legs.

Mahogany - A tropical wood with a dark, reddish coloration and handsome grain. Our collection features only plantation-grown mahogany.

Teak - An extremely dense, durable tropical hardwood. Our collection features only plantation-grown teak.

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Suspension Systems

Eight-Way Hand-Tied Springs - A traditional, high-quality handcrafted spring system in which each spring is hand-tied eight times around the coil to each adjacent spring, forming a flexible, floating suspension.

Flexolator Spring Suspension - A vinyl-coated wire grid with helical, spiral coil springs is placed into the frame and attached using metal clips. The clips are also vinyl-coated to prevent metal squeaks.

Sinuous Wire Spring Suspension - Rows of S-shaped, zigzag springs are attached to arch across the frame at regular intervals for support and comfort. We use a double row of springs at the corners for extra support.

Synthetic Webbing - Sturdy, synthetic straps are tightly interwoven in a grid for even support.

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Cushions and Padding

Downproof Ticking - A tightly woven, cotton-muslin fabric used to encase fiber, soft down blend and all-down cushions. Its tight weave traps the air for a more “cushy” experience and prevents feather ends from pushing through the casing.

Eco-Friendly Cushions - All of our eco-friendly seat cushions begin with a soy- and/or plant-based polyfoam core. Depending on style, many are then wrapped in either a blend of feather/down and corn-based fibers, a blend of feather/down and synthetic fibers, or regenerated, recycled or post-consumer fibers. Most seat and back cushions are luxuriously wrapped in synthetic or downproof ticking.

Fiber - Spun synthetic fiber encased in a ticking.

Loose Cushion - Cushions that are not attached to the furniture frame.

Polyfiber - Polyurethane foam core wrapped in spun synthetic; encased in ticking.

Polyfoam - Polyurethane foam core encased in ticking.

Down Blend - Fiber and feather-down blend encased in downproof ticking.

Synthetic Ticking - A manmade, nonwoven synthetic fabric used to encase fiber cushions. Due to its more porous nature, it is not used to enclose down fill.

Tight Back/Seat - Upholstered seats or backs without separate loose cushions.

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