In the annals of upholstery care, doilies have played a crucial yet often overlooked role. Originally introduced during the Victorian era, doilies on chair and sofa backs were not just ornamental pieces; they served a practical purpose. Armchairs were adorned with delicate doilies as a strategy to protect upholstery from the damaging effects of sweat, natural hair oils, and pomade residue.
In times when central heating and air conditioning were not commonplace and showers weren’t a daily ritual, normal perspiration could easily (and quickly) cause permanent stains and discoloration to the fine upholstery fabrics. Plus, they didn’t have professional upholstery cleaning companies back then! So the intricate patterns of doilies were not just a show of affluence or for aesthetic appeal; they provided a barrier, absorbing and shielding furniture from the oils and sweat produced in long hours of leisurely lounging. Once the doilies started to show signs of grease and discoloration, they could be washed and replaced.
Nowadays, we have central air and most of us wash our hair regularly, so we don’t have much need for armchair doilies. But upholstery can still suffer the effects of too much contact with the back of our heads. That’s because people still use hair products. It may not be as oily and greasy as the hair products of yesteryear, but over time, it can leave a residue on your cherished upholstery.
Modern upholstery, with its diverse materials and finishes, requires a tailored approach to cleaning and maintenance. If your favorite chair is showing stains from everyday use, particularly in areas where sweat and hair products come into contact, it may be time to call in the pros. Thankfully, we don’t live in the Victorian era, and Five Step is just a phone call away!
Remember, consistency in cleaning and maintenance is key to preserving the beauty of your upholstery. While doilies may no longer be a widespread trend, the principles of protecting and caring for your furniture endure.
If you’re in the Asheville, NC area and need help with keeping your upholstery clean and fresh, give Five Step a call at 828.237.3237