Good furniture is an investment and, with proper care and cleaning, it is possible to maintain the appearance and life of your upholstered furniture for years to come.
To help keep your upholstery looking its very best it is important to clean it regularly, ideally every few months.
Step One: Vacuum
Before you do anything, first conduct a quick search for any dropped objects that may have fallen between the cushions of your chairs or sofa (change, pens, winning lottery tickets, etc.). You will want to vacuum your furniture as thoroughly as possible to remove any dirt, dust, lint, crumbs and pet hair. Ever wondered exactly what you were supposed to do with all those different attachments that came with your vacuum cleaner? Now you know – cleaning hard-to-reach spots in your upholstered furniture!
Using the upholstery attachment, vacuum from left to right in short strokes, starting at the top of the piece of furniture and working your way down. If you have a more delicate fabric, such as silk, be sure to set the suction on low. Next, switch to the crevice nozzle and vacuum under the cushions and around the seams. If you really want to be thorough use a can of compressed air to remove dirt from tufting and button nooks. A lint roller or masking tape can help pick up left-behind dirt or crumbs effectively too.
Step Two: Stain Removal
Next, it’s time to tend to any pesky stains. First, check your furniture for its cleaning code tag so you know what cleaning method will best remove the stain and protect the fabric. Some fabrics can be cleaned with water, others will require specific cleaning solutions. If your furniture doesn’t still have a cleaning code, do a simple spot test on a hidden piece of upholstery.
If your furniture can be cleaned with water, grab your iron and use the steam setting to help loosen up the stain and make it more responsive to treatment. Now mix a little dish soap with cool water and using a wrung-out sponge gently blot the stain with the soap mixture. Do not rub the stain as it can weaken and pill the fabric. Rinse the sponge and use just water to blot out the soap mixture. Press dry with a cloth or paper towels.
If the stain is still there, it’s time to break out the chemical cleaners. Again, do a test spot on a less visible spot to make sure the cleaner itself won’t cause a stain. There are many readily-available products to choose from that will work well, including Resolve or Bissell. Just be sure to follow the instructions on whichever product you use.
If the stain persists, try repeating the process again. Sometimes the more stubborn stains will eventually disappear with enough persistence.
Step Three: Sudsing
If your upholstery contains a label with either the code W or WS, we also recommend gently sudsing the fabric. Pour about ½ teaspoon of clear dish soap in a small bucket and add warm water to create lots of suds. Dip a soft upholstery brush in the suds only, not the water, and gently sweep the fabric in small sections. Be careful not to soak the fabric. Applying too much water or cleaning solution can not only spread the stain, but also might saturate the padding underneath the upholstery, creating a potential breeding ground for mold and mildew.
After you’ve sudsed the entire piece, wipe the fabric with a clean, damp cloth and let the upholstery dry completely. If you want to wash the other sides of the cushions, do it the next day, when the fabric on the front is fully dry. Do not try to speed up the drying process with a hairdryer, as the heat will simply act to set the stain.
It is always a good idea to schedule a deep cleaning treatment once a year with a professional cleaning company to keep your upholstered furniture looking its best, as well as if you have any reservations about trying to remove a particular stain yourself, especially if it is a larger stain. The skilled cleaning professionals at Octagon Cleaning & Restoration possess the skill and know how to make sure your upholstery looks its very best for years to come!