A three-step strategy for keeping upholstered furniture looking fabulous year-round.
There’s nothing like new upholstery to freshen up your décor, but how long it remains looking crisp and clean is entirely up to you. Follow our three-prong strategy to keeping soft furnishings looking fabulous year-round.
Step one: Preventative measures
- Vacuums aren’t just for floors and those intimidating attachments they come with can actually prolong the life of your furniture. Use the upholstery attachment to vacuum soft furnishings on a weekly basis.
- Once a month, take cushions outside and beat them by hand. This will help prevent dust from settling into the fibers. When replacing cushions, rotate and flip them as you would a mattress to ensure even wear.
- Mom was on to something with the “no eating the living room” rule. If you’ve the stamina to enforce a ban on food, drink and pets on the furniture, you’ll avoid worry – and work – down the road. Take care with other less obvious sources of stains, too: even newsprint inks can bleed easily onto fabric.
Step two: First-aid for stains
- The first rule of tending to a spill? Get to it quickly before it has time to set. Use a blotting motion with either a paper towel or clean white cloth. Rubbing can smudge the spill into a larger stain – an effect that upholstery cleaning pros call “blossoming”. Work from the outside of the spot towards the centre. Blot dry.
- If blotting hasn’t done the trick and a cleaning solution is required, take a moment to examine the manufacturer’s care label, usually located under the chair seat or inside a cushion cover. Here, you’ll find instructions as to which types of products can be used in the cleaning of the fabric: W for water-based cleaners, S for solvents, WS for either, and X for none of the above – in which case, vacuuming is your only option. Note that many grease or oil-based stains (gravy, butter, cosmetics) are only treatable with dry solvents. A good and quite safe homemade cleaner is 50% water and 50% white vinegar with a few drops of dish soap prior to using. This mixture is only good for an hour or so, so don’t mix up large batches. And follow the tips below.
- Before applying a cleaning solution of any kind, it’s a good idea to test the colourfastness of the fabric on an inconspicuous patch of the furnishing. Apply the solution to a clean white cloth, and press against the test area firmly for 30 seconds. Examine the cloth for evidence of colour transfer. Reds & blues are the colours of greatest concern.
- Whether spot cleaning with a pH-balanced (neutral) detergent in a 1:20 water mixture or a commercial dry cleaning solution, where appropriate, finish by blotting with clean water.
- Never over wet the fabric. Applying too much water or cleaning solution can spread the stain and saturate the padding underneath the upholstery, creating the perfect haven for mould, mildew and bacteria – all of which are far worse than a surface stain. Don’t try to speed up the drying time with a hot-air dryer either. Heat merely sets the stain. Instead, merely blot the area dry.
Step three: The deep clean
Some home owners choose to remove their cushion covers and put them in the laundry please be advised that generally this is not a good idea, but if you so choose this remember the following;
- Always use cold water but even in cold water many can shrink and deform.
- Beware that the optical brighteners in most laundry soaps will alter the true colour of the material – your couch body will not match your cushions. Even with a professional cleaning after you have washed them, the colours will still be altered.
- Always place damp covers back on cushions to help reduce the chances of shrinkage and deformation. Otherwise you may not get them back on or they will look all contorted.
- Overall this method of cleaning it is not something that we recommend.
- Every 12-18 months, schedule your soft furnishings for a deep cleaning treatment. Call us in to clean and freshen up all your upholstery. Using our high powered truck mounts we can breathe life back into you fabric, the majority of materials even many of code S (dry clean) can be successfully cleaned using our low moisture tools and low pH cleaning products.
If you ever have questions please feel free to call us or email us for advice, we are to help you, even with your own cleaning attempts.
We serve all of St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and surrounding areas.