upholstery cleaning tips

Upholstery Care Tips

How To Keep Your Upholstered Furniture Looking Great

Preventative Maintenance

  • Have a professional service apply a premium fabric protector treatment when the item is new and again after each deep cleaning.
  • Remove dust, hair, dander, and crumbs. Vacuum your upholstery thoroughly every week with a soft (horsehair) brush attachment, especially the seat cushions and the deck where all the crumbs are. Also, focus on all other horizontal surfaces that collect dust.
  • Rotate, flip, and plump up the cushions regularly to ensure even wear.
  • You may have a favorite spot on your sofa, but switch it up often and try to use every seat to ensure even wear.
  • Take care not to spill food or drinks on the sofa. Obviously.

Act Fast When Accidents Do Happen

  • Blot liquid spills with an absorbent paper towel or clean white cloth by apply pressure from above. DO NOT RUB! Blot until dry.
  • Check the manufacturer’s care label to see what type of cleaners can be used safely on the fabric: W is for water-based cleaners, S is for solvents only, WS is for either, and X for none of the above – in which case, a dry vacuum is your only option.
  • Before applying a cleaning solution of any kind, test in an inconspicuous area. 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 or other undesirable results.
  • Use a teaspoon of pH-neutral detergent such as castile soap in a liter of warm water or a commercial dry cleaning solution, where appropriate. Blot, rinse with fresh water, blot again until dry.
  • Work in small sections taking care not to over-wet the fabric and checking your results. Stop! Adjust your process or call for professional help if it doesn’t go well.

Periodic Professional Cleaning

  • Leave the major cleaning job to a recognized upholstery cleaning specialist.
  • It is advisable to have this done before the fabric becomes visibly soiled with dirt. Schedule your soft furnishings for professional deep cleaning every 12-18 months.
  • Do not remove cushion covers and put them in the laundry, this can be risky as tight-fitting covers can shrink and deform and it will be difficult, maybe impossible, to get them back on the foam.
  • Also, laundry detergent is a powerful chemical containing optical brighteners and will change the colour of the fabric so the rest of the sofa won’t match your cushions.

Tips to prevent damage

  • Your furniture should be at least 12 inches from radiators and other sources of heat, as heat can damage upholstery fabrics and will dry out and crack the leather.
  • Do not sit on the arms of your furniture or allow children to jump on, stand on, climb on, or bounce on your furniture, especially wearing shoes, as that can damage the frame and potentially tear the fabric or stitching.
  • Be careful with scissors, keys, toys with sharp edges, jewelry and other sharp objects that could tear or cut upholstery or scratch leather.
  • Be careful of felt pens, highlighters, glue sticks, and ballpoint pens. Ink is a difficult stain to remove, sometimes impossible.
  • Try not to leave newspapers lying around on your sofa as newsprint ink can transfer and stain. Also when reading the paper, your hands will get ink on them so avoid touching the fabric. In fact, you should probably read the paper somewhere else.
  • Take measures to prevent damage that can be caused by pets, such as scratching and chewing.
  • If you’ve got light coloured leather upholstery, be aware that colour from denim jeans, other dark clothing, and throw cushions can transfer to your furniture. Dye transfer is more likely to happen if the clothing (or throw cushions) is brand new or wet or if sitting in the same spot for prolonged periods of time.

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