No Simple Solution for Upholstery Cleaning
If you really want to keep your upholstered furniture looking good and extend it’s life, get yourself ready for the drudgery of weekly vacuuming.
It’s all about the dust
All the upholstery in your home will benefit from regular vacuuming. One of the major causes of lifeless looking upholstered furniture is simple settled dust from the air circulating about in your home.
Did you know we produce dust at an alarming rate? The dirt you track into your home is loaded with insect parts, ground up plant material, mold spores, dried animal feces and all kinds of other wonderful things you might like to forget about. Inside your home you and your family are going about shedding skin (dust to dust),
burning dinners (ashes to ashes), churning up all kinds of fabric particles, and allowing pets to spread their share of hair follicles and pet dander.
Is that enough said for you to agree regular vacuuming means weekly, and weekly vacuuming will never again be drudgery.
There’s also a way you can cut down on the amount of dust that lands on that furniture. Clean as much of it from the air as you can before it even settles, by using the finest quality furnace air filters you can afford and changing them according to the manufacturers efficiency specifications.
Why wet dust is worse than dusty dust
Now consider what happens to the dust that escapes your hunt and winds up trapped in the upholstery fabric when the family comes home to relax and watch TV after a vigorous workout on the soccer field. Body fluids, plus body salts, plus body oils, equals grimy gruel on the fabric if you took the option of an application of fabric guard when you made your furniture purchase, or grimy gruel in the fabric if you didn’t. Unless you have a powerful personal conviction opposed to elective chemical use, take the stain guard protection.
When wet or oily soils penetrate your upholstery fabric, the upholstery cleaning story doesn’t always have a happy ending.
There are far too many fabric types, weights and qualities, too many types of soiling compounds, and cross combinations of each of these variables for you to get a definitive prognosis. However, there are some generalities for you to try.
Spilling it out
Use paper toweling to blot spills and other wet soil marks immediately when they occur. The key word is blot. Don’t rub because rubbing will push the mark into the under padding where it can dissolve old dust and residue adding to the mess, rather than eliminating it. Dried in marks can be lightly sprayed with warm water. Add only enough water to make blotting possible. Alternate between spraying and blotting, never saturating the fabric, until the spot is gone.
Oil based stains present a different situation and resolution. The oils must be broken down with a mild detergent solution and held in suspension until they can be picked up.
Purchasing a proprietary upholstery cleaning product is probably best. Look over a broad selection of products. Don’t just pick the first one you see. Spend time reading labels, narrowing your choices to a product that wets the fabric the least. Some are foam “shampoos” that lift stains and hold them in the foam which, when dry can be vacuumed clean. Others are totally different in approach.
When good cleaning plans go wrong
For all kinds of soil, you will be looking for a remedy that treats your fabric kindly. Harsh chemicals can effect color, the natural sheen of some materials, or the texture and feel. If damage of this kind should happen, you should leave the furniture piece as it is for a while and patiently evaluate the extent of the imperfection and measure how much of an annoyance it is to you. If the situation is bothersome, the entire piece should be cleaned using the same process as used on the soiled spots. This will at least make for a uniform appearance.
Compared to carpet steam cleaning or dry carpet cleaning where you are dealing with durable materials, upholstery cleaning is a delicate subject. In most cases, you may find it best to carry out the regular upholstery cleaning routine of vacuuming and light soil blotting on your own, and leave the difficult clean-up for the upholstery cleaning professionals. If you make a mistake, the problem is yours to remedy. If the upholstery cleaning experts make the wrong call or carry out the work incorrectly, they are responsible for making it right with you.
The intent of the content of this report is to help you to understand the need for care in protecting your furniture investment, that the solution isn’t easy and the risks are high.
An educated choice of action is the wisest choice.