When cleaning up the house, many homeowners forget about or don’t know that upholstery needs to be kept clean too. Even if you’re fortunate enough not to have spills on your furniture, dirt, dust and grime have a way of building up in upholstery over time. General upkeep of upholstery not only keeps your furniture looking good so you can keep it longer, but also gets rid of dirt and bacteria, which results in keeping your family healthier and providing better air quality in your home. There are many ways to maintain your upholstery. In fact, to be effective, upholstery cleaning should be a part of your normal household cleaning routine along with regular professional cleaning.
Spot-cleaning and Regular Maintenance
Vacuum your furniture.
Move the furniture from where it normally sits, and vacuum and dust around the area. Then, remove the cushions to vacuum any dust, dirt, and things that have fallen between the cushions since the last cleaning. This gets rid of anything that is just sitting on top, not deep in the furniture, like stains.
Polish wooden or metal pieces on your furniture.
You should dust and wipe these parts down as part of regular maintenance. Once again, this just gets rid of built-up particles.
Check the tags for material type and cleaning suggestions.
Water will be necessary to clean the upholstery, so find the tags on your furniture and double-check what kind of material to prevent possible damage. Sometimes, the manufacturer provides cleaning suggestions on the tag. Depending on the material, it may be fine for you to use water, or it may be better for a professional to perform the cleaning for you.
The cleaning code for a couch or chair is typically found underneath the cushion of the base and will be listed as followed:
- "W" - This fabric can tolerate a water-based upholstery cleaner.
- "S" - Water should not be used to clean this fabric. It must be professionally cleaned with cleaning solvents.
- "S/W" - This code means a combination of dry cleaning solvents and water can be used.
- "X" - This indicates the furniture should never be cleaned with water or solvents; vacuuming is necessary.
Use upholstery cleaning solutions.
There are many options for fabric and upholstery cleaners at your local supermarket, but there are also some great homemade alternatives. Always test upholstery cleaning solutions on a part of the furniture that is hidden from view. Each piece of furniture may have a different reaction to cleaners depending on its qualities. Be careful not to saturate the upholstery with too much water.
Dry your upholstery.
This can be done multiple ways, such as simply leaving windows open to allow a breeze, using a hairdryer directly on a recently cleaned spot, or turning the ceiling fan on counter-clockwise, allowing the warmer air to be pushed downward, toward your furniture.
According to the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IIRCC), routine maintenance like vacuuming and immediate attention to spills, along with periodic cleaning by a certified technician every one to two years, can keep your furniture looking new and help maintain a clean and healthy home or business environment. Households with kids, pets and smokers should consider more frequent professional cleanings.
In order to keep upholstery clean and looking like new, schedule regular visits with a Rainbow International® cleaning professional.
DIY Upholstery Cleaner
- 1/2 cup of warm water
- 1/2 cup of dish detergent (laundry detergent is not a substitute)
Stir them together until the solution becomes foamy. Dip a rag, upholstery brush, or sponge in it and apply to upholstery. Gently scrub, as scrubbing too hard can cause damage to the material. Some find it beneficial to add half a cup of white vinegar to the solution, but this is recommended for use only on synthetic-based upholstery. Source for cleaner: http://www.upholsterycleaners101.com/homemade-upholstery-cleaner/
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