Our upholstery cleaner tips will help you maintaining your furnishings clean and extend their lifespan. Soft furnishings need regular maintenance in order to prevent them from looking dull, make them last for longer, and keep them in excellent condition.
Normal wear and tear, stains, and spills can leave your upholstery not looking so fresh anymore. You have two options: Clean it yourself or leave the job to the professional cleaners. Your decision depends on a few factors. In general, the manufacturers recommend professional cleaning. However, many stains and spots can be cleaned at home without any risk to the furniture. When you decide if you want to do it yourself take into consideration the size and location of stain, fabric type, and type of stain. The fabric content can be found on the manufacturer’s label. Synthetic fabrics are safe to clean at home because they are designed for ease of care. If the upholstery fabric is a natural/synthetic blend, it is better to use caution and test a small hidden patch. In case the stain is dark, large, or in a very noticeable area, or the fabric is more than 50 percent cotton, it is better to leave the cleaning for professionals.
A Few Upholstery Cleaner Techniques
The upholstery stains should be removed while they are still fresh. The oil and grease stains are the hardest to clean. If the stain is very large, it is better to leave it to a professional cleaner. Vacuuming your upholstered furniture regularly can reduce overall soiling. Your vacuum system (such as Shark vacuums) may have special upholstery attachments that make it easy to reach small corners and creases. They are also safe to use on upholstery fabrics. You should vacuum your upholstery at least every two months. If you have allergies or pets, you should vacuum upholstered furniture weekly.
Vacuum attachments that come with the vacuuming system can prolong the life of your furniture. Vacuum your soft furnishings using the upholstery attachment. The crevice tool that is angle tipped can be used for reaching sneaky areas such as fabric folds, tufted areas, and creases.
Take the cushions outside once a month and beat them by hand. This way you will prevent dust from settling into the fibers. Rotate and flip the cushions when you replace them, to ensure even wear.
It is recommended to not eat in the living room. If you enforce a ban on drinks and food on the furniture, you’ll avoid spills and stains. You may also want to avoid things that are less obvious. For example, even the ink in newspapers can stain the fabric.
First aid for stains
The first rule of removing a spill or stain is fast action, before it has time to set in the fabric. You may use a blotting motion with either a clean white cloth or a paper towel. Don’t rub the fabric because that can smudge the spill into a larger stain. Move from outside of the stain spot towards the centre and blot dry.
If blotting did not remove the stain, you might need commercial cleaning solution specially designed for that type of stain and fabric. First check the manufacturer’s care label that is located usually inside a cushion cover or under the chair seat. You will find there what type of cleaning products should be used for that fabric. S stands for solvents, W for water based cleaning solutions, WS for either solvents or water based solutions, and X for none of the above. In case that you find an X the only option is vacuuming. Many oil or grease based stains such those from cosmetics, gravy, or butter, are treatable only with a dry cleaning solution.
Test the colorfastness of the fabric on a small hidden patch of the furnishing before applying an upholstery cleaner of any kind. Apply the cleaning solution on a clean white cloth and press firmly against the test area for around 30 seconds. Check the cloth for any sign of color transfer.
If you clean the spot with commercial dry upholstery cleaner or with a pH neutral detergent in a water mixture finish the process by blotting with clean water.
Try to not over wet the fabric. If you apply too much cleaning solution or too much water that can not only spread the stain but also saturate the padding underneath the upholstery. That would create conditions for developing bacteria, mildew, and mould. Don’t use a hot air dryer to speed up the drying process either. The heat can set the stain.
The Deep Clean
At least once a year, you need to schedule a deep cleaning treatment for your soft furnishings. If the cushion covers can be removed and they are washable, you can wash them in cold water. It is better to turn them inside out first, to prevent fading. In case that the removable covers permit only dry cleaning it is better to have them professionally cleaned.
You can also use steam cleaners on your upholstery, just like when you do carpet steam cleaning. For that you need a soil emulsifier or pre-conditioner, upholstery shampoo, scrub brush, a fan, and a steam cleaner. First step is to pre-condition the fabric by spraying the upholstery pre-conditioner or soil emulsifier on the fabric. Shampoo the fabric with a shampoo made specifically for upholstery. Cover the upholstery thoroughly and scrub in the shampoo using a towel or a scrub brush. The next step is to steam the furniture with your steam cleaner to remove the dirt and water.
For microfiber couches choose a pre-conditioner or a shampoo with low pH balance and use a sponge instead of a scrub brush.
Keep Your Furniture Looking Brand New
Your upholstery will pick up dust and dirt unless you cover your furniture in plastic. Even if you don’t have pets or small kids at home, is most likely you will spill drinks or food on your upholstery sooner or later. A home party can easily leave your furnishings stained. This is why you need to know some useful tips on how to maintain your home decor, rooms and upholstery and how to clean eventual stains when needed. By following the upholstery cleaner tips provided in this article, you can keep your furniture looking brand new.