No matter how careful you are around your upholstery, it happens – you spill a drink or food, resulting in a stain or your sofa or favorite chair. When this occurs, you might be tempted to run and grab some soap and water to remove that nasty stain before it sets in permanently. But wait – before you attempt to clean your upholstery, you need to know a few rules on how to do so properly.
Rule #1: Check the Label
Always check the care label on your upholstery before you try to clean it; it will indicate exactly what cleaning methods you can use on that item. You can typically find the care label sewn into a seam on the bottom or back of furniture items. You’ll see one of four different codes on the label:
W – This code means that you can spot clean your upholstery with a water-based shampoo or foam upholstery cleaner; it does NOT mean that the item is machine washable. Fabrics with this code are usually the easiest to clean.
S – This code means that the fabric can only be cleaned with solvents (i.e. dry cleaning). If you do it yourself with a water-free solvent or dry-cleaning product, make sure to clean the item in a well-ventilated room and keep away from open flames.
W/S – This code means that you can use a mild detergent, steam or dry cleaning. Whichever method you use, it’s always a good idea to do a spot test on a hidden area of fabric in order to make sure that you don’t make things worse.
X – This code means that only vacuuming or light brushing are permitted. Using water, water-based cleaners, or solvents may end up staining the fabric.
If the upholstered item has a W or W/S code, you can try a do-it-yourself cleaning solution. Dilute a gentle detergent with water (1 part detergent to 4 parts water) and gently blot the stain with a sponge or soft brush. Blot any remaining water with a dry cloth. Remember to check the care label first before trying this method!
Rule #2: Blot, Blot, Blot
Always blot a stain or spill on upholstery with a clean, absorbent cloth – never scrub. Scrubbing can drive the dirt deeper into the fabric fibers, and can sometimes damage the fabric.
Rule #3: Vacuum Regularly
For everyday cleaning of your upholstered items, vacuum them on a regular basis (ideally once a week). Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner to do this, and be sure to vacuum underneath those sofa and chair cushions, as well, where dirt and crumbs love to hide.
Rule #4: Apply a Protectant
As the name suggests, fabric protectants can help protect fabrics on upholstery from stains and dirt, and are especially good for pieces of furniture that get a lot of use. You can apply fabric protectants yourself, or better yet, get a professional to do it.
Rule #5: Get Regular Professional Upholstery Cleaning
Even if your upholstery is free from stains, it will get dingy and dirty from everyday use, so it’s a good idea to have it regularly cleaned by a professional upholstery cleaning company like A Personal Touch. From sofas to armchairs to pillows, we’ll treat your upholstery with care no matter what fabric it’s made of. We can also apply a fabric protectant to extend the life of your furniture and make everyday cleaning much easier.
If you need upholstery cleaning and are in the Centennial, Littleton, or Greater Denver, Colorado area, contact us any time for a free estimate!
Remember at A Personal Touch, we don’t cut corners, we clean them!