f you own upholstered furniture, then you know what a challenge it can be to keep it clean. Upholstery cleaning is a huge pain, but did you know dust mites, pollen, mold, and other allergens can live in the fabric of your upholstery?
That means those same allergens are in the air circulating throughout your home. Air pollutants are a serious problem for anyone, not just those with allergies or other sensitivities.
In order to make sure you’re breathing clean air inside your home (where chances are you’re spending most of your time these days), you need to clean your upholstery thoroughly.
Upholstery cleaning can feel intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Check out these seven expert-approved upholstery cleaning tips.
1. Read Your Upholstery Tags
It shouldn’t be a surprise, but each different type of upholstery fabric requires a specific type of care. Every piece of upholstered furniture should come with a care label.
Care labels are typically sewn into a seam, attached to the bottom of the furniture, or underneath a cushion. Take the time to root around and find your upholstered furniture care tags before you start cleaning.
Care tags contain codes for how to clean your upholstery. These codes will contain single or double letters. Here’s how to read those codes:
- A “W” code means it is only safe to clean with water-based cleaners
- An “S” code means it is only safe to clean with solvent-based cleaners
- A “WS” code means it is safe to use either water-based or solvent-based cleaners
- An “X” means it is only safe to clean this upholstery with a vacuum or have it professionally cleaned
Following the guidelines on these labels will ensure you don’t accidentally destroy your upholstery by using an inappropriate cleaning product.
It is always a good idea to begin by testing out your cleaning product on a test patch on a part of the furniture that is not noticeable. Trying out the product on a test patch will let you know if the product will stain your furniture.
2. Be Patient When Removing Stains
The best way to treat stains is by using a spot cleaner or a dry cleaning solvent. Again, make sure you check those care labels before applying any type of cleaner to your upholstery.
If you’re working with water-safe fabric, you can start by wetting and wringing out a clean cloth. Dip the cloth in a mix of water and a small squirt of natural dish soap.
Blot the stain gently.
Next, get a second clean sponge or cloth, dip it in water, and use it to blot the spot to remove the soap. Repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.
To finish, blot the spot with a clean cloth to dry it. If the spot remains after two or three attempts, it’s a good idea to take it to a professional upholstery cleaner.
3. Avoid Moisture
You’ll want to minimize the amount of liquid cleaning product you employ when tending to your upholstery. You always want to use the least amount of cleaning product possible.
Using a wet cleaner or too much liquid cleaner can cause the soap to sink deep into your upholstery padding. The deeper it goes the more likely it is to spawn bacteria. Need we say more?
The best method is to spray a small amount of cleaner on your furniture and blot it quickly with a clean cloth. As long as you don’t let it sink in you shouldn’t have any issues.
4. Vacuum Your Upholstery Frequently
If you really want to ensure your upholstery isn’t releasing allergens and pollutants into your home, invest in a good vacuum and adopt a weekly vacuuming routine.
You will need a vacuum with an upholstery cleaning attachment. The upholstery cleaning attachment usually looks like a miniature version of a vacuum. It has a brush that rotates to lift dirt out of the fabric.
If you vacuum your upholstered furniture once a week you will prevent dirt and allergens from sinking into the depths of your fabric. It will add years to the life of your furniture and help keep the air in your home clean.
5. Clean Up Spills Right Away
If you spill or see a spill on your upholstery, don’t let it sit! Clean it up right away before it has a chance to absorb into the fabric.
Always use a clean, dry cloth to blot the spill area. Notice the term blot. Never rub a spill as it will cause the liquid to move deeper into the fabric.
Use gentle pressure when blotting the spill. If you press too hard you’ll push the liquid right into the fabric. Vacuuming spills can work too.
6. Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Harsh chemicals like Lysol or bleach will destroy your upholstery. Don’t use them. Ever.
In addition to damaging your furniture, it’s really bad for you to breathe in these chemicals. They will get stuck in your furniture and completely defeat the purpose of cleaning your upholstery in the first place.
Organic, chemical-free upholstery cleaner doesn’t have to be expensive. You can even make your own. Combine one cup of water, a 1/2 cup of white vinegar, a 1/2 tablespoon natural dish soap, and one drop of thieves oil.
7. Know When It’s Time to Hire a Professional
Some stains and smells are beyond the breadth and depth of the common human. If you’ve tried and failed to remove a stain two or three times, it’s probably time to call in the experts and hire an upholstery cleaning service.
A professional upholstery cleaner will do a more thorough job of cleaning your upholstery. They may also extend the life of your furniture.
Avoid Upholstery Cleaning Mistakes
Upholstery cleaning is no simple task. It’s easy to make mistakes like using the wrong cleaner, scrubbing too vigorously to remove stains, and accidentally discoloring your upholstery with harsh chemicals.
If you can avoid these mistakes, you’ll be very happy with the condition of your upholstery once it’s clean!
But why stop at cleaning your upholstery? Did you know carpet is a major reservoir for in-home allergens and pollutants? Carpets collect dust and dirt at approximately 5 to 25 grams per square meter!
If you want to completely rid your home of pollutants, contact us!