No matter how careful you are where your couches and chairs are concerned, accidents happen. Whether your child fell asleep and spilled chocolate ice cream on your favorite rose-colored couch or your date knocked over a glass of Cabernet on that striking vintage rocker you found at the thrift store, at one time or another, you may find yourself asking the question, “How do you clean upholstery?” Don’t worry; the task is relatively simple.
How do you clean upholstery?
Even daily use can cause upholstered furniture to appear dingy and worn, but it’s easy to clean your upholstery at home in a short amount of time. So instead of panicking after a messy spill or throwing the piece of furniture away when it’s stained and aged, just follow these basic steps to clean and brighten your upholstery.
Mop up fresh spills right away
First, when cleaning fresh spills, think fast. Carefully and quickly blot any liquids up before they have a chance to soak into the fabric. The more of the spill you can prevent from soaking in, the easier the rest of the process is going to be.
Get rid of loose debris
Once you have soaked up any liquid stains, you want to remove as much loose, dry dirt and debris as possible using a vacuum cleaner. Removing the loose dirt and dust before getting it wet prevents possible staining during the cleaning process. Using an upholstery attachment when vacuuming is ideal for reaching all the seams and crevices and ensuring that all debris is gone. If any pet hair remains after vacuuming, use a pet hair remover or double-sided tape.
Understanding furniture cleaning codes
At this point, you need to know two key pieces of information: What type of fabric your upholstery is made with and what types of stains you are cleaning. Much like the tag on your clothing that lists washing instructions, furniture typically comes with printed tags with a list of codes, which can help you decide what cleaning method to use on your upholstery. Certain methods are best for particular fabric types, and the codes include the following.
W: Clean the upholstery fabric with a water-based detergent only. Distilled water is best because tap water often contains minerals that can stain some fabrics.
S: Clean the upholstery fabric with a waterless product, such as a dry cleaning solvent.
WS: This type of fabric may be cleaned with either a waterless product or a water-based detergent, depending on the type of stain.
X: Do not use household cleaning products on this type of upholstery fabric. It should be professionally cleaned.
With any method of cleaning, it is important to test a small area of the fabric in a less noticeable location to make sure you are not going to make the colors run or otherwise ruin the fabric. This is especially important for old or antique furniture, items that are very valuable to you, or when the tag is missing and you do not have the cleaning codes.
Sponge and dry
Keeping the above codes and respective cleaning methods in mind, you’re ready to get started with the next phase of cleaning. Usually, a clean sponge or soft cloth will work perfectly for the actual cleaning stage. Use as little water or solvent as possible to avoid causing rings, shrinkage, or other changes in the fabric.
Wipe the fabric gently until you see that the stain is gone. Depending on the color and severity of the stain, you may have to make several passes in order to remove the spot completely. Finally, gently dry your upholstery by patting the fabric with a soft, dry cloth or paper towels, and then let it air dry completely before use.
As you can see, keeping your upholstered fabrics looking great is easy to do at home. And the next time a friend or family member calls you up in a panic and asks,“How do you clean upholstery,” you’ll be able to help.
Need Some Help?
With these tips, you can keep your upholstery clean. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or simply don’t have the time, energy, or desire to clean, why not call in the pros? If you live in or near Springfield, Missouri, give the cleaning professionals at Grime Scrubbers a call. We offer a variety of cleaning services. You can reach us at 417-864-8862 or click here for a free quote.