Furniture can be very expensive – especially if it’s upholstered. If you have a chair, loveseat or sofa that’s dirty, don’t just resign yourself to buying a slipcover to hide all the stains. By cleaning the upholstery carefully and with the proper techniques, you can keep your upholstered furniture looking brand new. Read on for upholstery cleaning tips and guidelines.
You want your home to always look its cleanest, but that can seem like an insurmountable task when family and friends are constantly spilling food and drinks on the sofa, putting their dirty shoes on your ottoman, or wearing-and-tearing your loveseat. It isn’t impossible to keep your upholstered furniture clean between professional carpet cleanings, however.
Check the Fabric
The first step in cleaning any furniture (or any carpet or piece of clothing) is to check what kind of fabric it’s made from. If it’s made from a synthetic fabric such as polyester, nylon, or acrylic, it should be safe to clean. However, if the fabric is a natural fabric or synthetic/natural blend, such as poly/cotton, you will want to do a spot test first. This means testing a small hidden patch of the fabric first (such as the backside of a cushion) to ensure whatever type of cleaning product or technique you will be using doesn’t bleach, smear, or ruin the fabric. If the fabric of your furniture is made of more than 50% cotton, professional upholstery cleaning may be your best bet – especially if you are dealing with an especially large stain or all-over filth.
The easiest stains to clean are those that are treated while they are still fresh, so it’s important to act fast when cleaning your upholstery. The longer you leave a stain to sit, the harder it will be to remove. Remember that moisture is not your friend when cleaning carpet or upholstery, so use as little water or cleaner as possible for the best results. Baby wipes or sanitary wipes are often the best tool for cleaning stains because they offer just the right amount of water and soap and evaporate quickly.
As much as you might hate vacuuming, it’s important to vacuum the cushions and backs of your furniture on a regular basis. Use a soft brush that’s safe for use on fabrics to remove loose soil; your vacuum cleaner may also come with special upholstery attachments that make it easy to reach small corners and creases in furniture. Vacuuming regularly will reduce overall grime and soiling of your upholstered furniture and is especially beneficial if you have animals or someone in your household has allergies.
Oil and Grease Stains
You may be saying you don’t have oil or grease stains, but check again. Your monthly movie night may be leaving greasy butter stains all over your furniture. For oil and grease stains sprinkle salt, baby powder, or cornstarch on the spot as soon as you discover the stain, and rub it in carefully to absorb as much of the grease as possible. Once dry, brush off the grease and powder (into a dustpan) and wipe with a damp cloth.
We’ve all had a pen in our pockets burst or mark the sofa or chair we’re sitting on, but how do you remove the ink? Spray hairspray onto a clean towel and dab at the stain. Dry and next blot the stain with a towel dipped in rubbing alcohol. Next dry and apply acetone or nail polish remover with another clean towel. If the stain still remains, blot it with a clean towel and spirits of turpentine.
There are many other kinds of stains obviously, but grease and ink stains are the hardest to remove. Just remember the key with cleaning upholstered furniture is choosing the appropriate type of cleaning method. For example, cleaning a store-bought chair from 2005 is much different than cleaning a hand-embroidered antique sofa. Always check the fabric, and if you have any doubts about cleaning a particular piece of furniture, don’t hesitate to call your local carpet cleaning company.