Blog Post

Upholstery Cleaning 101: All You Need To Know

Preparing to Clean Upholstery

When the upholstered furniture starts to look a bit dirty or has accumulated spots and stains, the first thing to do is to vacuum it. This removes the dust and dirt that can further stain the fabric if it becomes wet. An upholstery attachment on a regular vacuum cleaner will get into hard to reach cracks and crevices, and will clean the cushions thoroughly. In addition to this, all pet hair should be removed as much as possible. The vacuum should be able to do this, if not, there are commercial pet hair removers available, and some work well on upholstery.

Cleaning up Spills

When unfortunately dealing with a spill, time is not on your side. The longer that it sits on the piece of furniture, the more that is soaks into the fabric, the stuffing, the wood, or whatever else the furniture is made of. Because of this, the first thing that needs to be done is to carefully blot the spill up with a clean cloth as quickly as you can, and this will lessen the spread of the stain. It is vital that the spill is not scrubbed or rubbed, as this will spread the stain. Blotting is the most essential part of cleaning up a spill and can determine whether or not the cleanup is successful.

Which Cleaners?

The type of upholstery cleaner to be used on a spill or stain is dependent upon the type of material that the upholstery is made of, and the type of stain or spill that is on the upholstery. Upholstery fabric can be made of wool, cotton, silk, linen, olefin, acetate, and acrylic, and sometimes even a blend of these. Adding to this, these fabrics may also be dyed with varying colors in varying ways. The age of the fabric is also something that needs to be taken into account when cleaning. If the fabric is quite old or even antique, it is suggested to contact a professional cleaning service company. If unsure about using an upholstery cleaning on the item, there will be information about the piece on the tag, more than likely on the underside of the furniture.

Upholstery Cleaning Codes

The furniture industry has developed a code for the care tags so that customers can easily recognize what is appropriate when the item needs cleaning. The tags are located inconspicuously, and are always placed on a piece of furniture. Breaking down the Code:

  • W: A water based detergent should be used for cleaning.
  • S: A water-free product should be used for cleaning. This can be a dry cleaning solvent.
  • WS: The upholstery fabric can be cleaned with either a water-free product or a water based product, dependent on the type of stain.
  • X: This type of upholstery must be cleaned by a professional. You may only vacuum or brush it, and do not use any upholstery cleaner on it at home.
  • When the Tags are Lost

    Many times, we rip off tags without thinking twice. If this is the case with an upholstered piece of furniture, the upholstery cleaner should be tested on an inconspicuous spot on the upholstery. This will make sure that the method and chemicals will not harm the fabric quality or color. This is all done at one's own risk when the tag is no longer present. If unsure, it would be wise to go ahead and call a professional for assistance or even just some advice. If adamant about cleaning the piece at home, begin with the most conservative cleaning method and then proceed with caution.

    Share this post