When it comes to cleaning upholstery, much like with carpet, there are two main options: dry or wet cleaning. The one you choose will be determined by the type of upholstery you have. There are a few fabrics that are not compatible with the wet cleaning process. These include cotton, velvet, and silk. Wet cleaning these materials can result in color bleeding or even fiber damage. So make sure you know what type of upholstery you own and always test any cleaning method on a small, out of site area first.
Once you’ve determined the cleaning method you will be using, the first thing you need to do is remove the cushions and then any loose particles such as lint or crumbs. To do this you will first use a soft brush on the upholstery. This will loosen any items attached to the upholstery. After giving the furniture a good brushing you will then need to give it a thorough vacuuming. Combined, these two steps should remove all loose materials from your upholstery and have you ready for the actual cleaning.
There are many cleaning variations between different cleaning experts but the fundamentals should all be the same. If cleaning your own upholstery these are the ones you should stick to.
First of all, as mentioned earlier, you want to pre-test the upholstery to make sure you can clean it safely. The next step is to pre-spray the furniture with a neutral pH cleaner. This will help loosen up any soils and oils in the fabric. Allow the cleaner to settle for a few minutes and then use a horsehair brush or a cotton towel to gently agitate the sprayed areas. After this you will rinse the upholstery with a low moisture extraction system. The reason for this type of system is to keep the furniture from getting too wet. Use fans to speed up the drying process, if necessary.
Keep in mind that most upholstery cleaning problems occur due to over wetting or to slow drying. If you can keep either of these from being a factor during your cleaning endeavors then you should be in the clear when it comes to successfully cleaning your upholstery.
Remember, if you are at all unsure about these steps or if you just don’t feel confident about cleaning the upholstery on your own, call a professional. It’s better to spend a little money and get it done right the first time than to make a mistake and have to buy new furniture.