September 30, 2019

What Is the Best Upholstery Cleaning Method?

Regular upholstery cleaning keeps fabric furniture looking its best, and also removes odors from pets, cigarette smoke, cooking, and even air pollution. Proper upholstery cleaning services prolongs the life of your furniture and also makes it more comfortable for sitting!

DIY upholstery cleaning and everyday touchups are effective for removing many food stains and other minor imperfections, and can ensure that stains don’t set and become permanent. However, professional upholstery cleaning services are vital for deep cleaning and ensuring that your furniture always looks its best.

Most fabric furniture can be cleaned with baking soda and other household products, and a good vacuuming and brushing are also typically very effective at removing dried stains. Note a few suggestions for everyday upholstery cleaning and then some tips on when it’s time to call in the pros and have them clean your home’s furniture along with carpeting, tile floors, and even the grout in your home’s bathrooms!

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Upholstery Cleaning Method Tips

Before you call for upholstery cleaning services near you, consider some simple tips to help you remove surface stains, set-in stains, ground-in dirt, and other unsightly debris from your fabric furniture. Remember to try upholstery cleaning methods on a hidden part of the fabric, to test how the fabric responds to various cleaning methods and tools.

  • Start upholstery and couch cleaning with a thorough vacuuming, using the fabric brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner hose or a handheld vacuum device. Ensure you get into the crevices of the furniture and spend time going over the stained area, to pull up as much debris as possible.
  • Use a dry brush to scrape away as much residue as possible and to “fluff up” the fibers of the fabric. Your fabric will look cleaner and you’ll be able to reach set-in stains more readily once fibers are fully restored.
  • For damp stains, blot the area with a clean, dry cloth, to pull up as much liquid and moisture as possible. Keep switching to a dry cloth or clean area of your cloth to ensure you remove as much residue as you can without pushing dirt and debris into the fabric.
  • Once you’ve blotted as much excess moisture as possible, use a clean damp cloth and blot fresh water into the stain, rubbing in a gentle circular motion to pull up debris and residues. Be sure you use small circles so that you don’t actually spread the stain around the fabric!
  • Baking soda is an excellent cleaning material for fabric furniture. Mix a small amount of baking soda and water in a bowl to create a paste and then gently push this paste into the stain with a clean, damp cloth. Rub the baking soda in a circular motion to pull up dirt and debris and then use a clean, damp cloth to remove as much of the baking soda as possible.
  • The bubbling action of club soda also helps to lift trapped and locked stains so you can wipe up food residues and other debris. Pour just a small amount of club soda onto the stain and use a damp, clean cloth to wipe the area dry.
  • Once you’ve followed all these steps, use your dry brush to wipe away any leftover residues and then use a vacuum again to pull up dirt, dust, and water used for washing. Let the fabric furniture dry completely before you evaluate your upholstery cleaning attempts!

Should You Use an Upholstery Cleaning Machine?

Shop any home improvement store and you’ll no doubt see shelf after shelf of upholstery cleaning machines, designed for cleaning fabric couches, chairs, and other items, as well as spot cleaning rugs and carpeting. While these machines might be useful for some upholstery cleaning, they do have their drawbacks! Note some vital tips about using upholstery cleaning machines at home:

  • Using excessive amounts of rinse water with insufficient extraction leads to mold and mildew growth underneath furniture fibers and upholstery. Excessive rinse water also damages foam and other materials used for cushioning and backing.
  • Some brushes on upholstery cleaning machines are overly stiff and damaging to delicate fabrics.
  • Improper use of upholstery brushes might flatten the nap of furniture fabrics or grind stains into the furniture rather than pulling them up.
  • Leaving a self-cleaning machine on top of furniture so that brushes can rotate for several minutes might also damage fabric and pull on loose threads. Manual upholstery cleaning allows you to monitor your work as you go so that you avoid the risk of fabric damage.
  • Some upholstery cleaning machines offer no more cleaning than what you might accomplish with a clean cloth and stiff brush! It’s often good to save your money on these machines and try DIY couch cleaning or professional upholstery cleaning services when needed.
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Why Regular Upholstery Cleaning Is So Important!

Getting out spots and stains is needed to keep your furniture looking its best, but there are many other reasons why you might consider regular upholstery cleaning services from the professionals. One reason is that homeowners often go “nose blind” to smells trapped in their home’s furniture, not realizing that couches and other materials tend to smell musty and otherwise unpleasant over time. Trapped cigarette smoke, cigar smoke, and cooking odors also create a very unwelcoming atmosphere in the home.

It’s also vital to realize that ignoring dirt and dust on your home’s fabric furniture allows those residues to get ground in every day, crushing fabric fibers and creating a flattened look. The longer you put off needed furniture cleaning, the dirtier the fabric and harder it is to remove that dust and debris!

Professional upholstery cleaning near you also restores the overall color and nap of fabric. You might assume that your furniture is faded and worn beyond repair and start shopping around for new items, only to find that couches and chairs needed nothing more than a good cleaning. Upholstery cleaning by the pros is more affordable than new furniture, and can extend the overall life of your furniture by many years.

Why Schedule Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Together

Regular carpet cleaning provides the same benefits as upholstery cleaning; professional rug shampooing removes ground-in dirt and other debris as well as odors a homeowner might not notice. Carpet shampooing and steam cleaning lift fibers and create a comfortable feeling underfoot while also restoring the color of rugs and making them look like new.

Scheduling carpet and upholstery cleaning together is an excellent way of ensuring that you don’t overlook either needed service. Many homeowners have rugs cleaned in springtime, after they’ve tracked in dirt and snow during wintertime, or in the fall, to ensure rugs are cleaned before they need to close up the house for wintertime. Schedule a full cleaning of your furniture at the same time ensures a clean interior environment and one free of germs, bacteria, and other pollutants.

It’s also helpful to schedule carpet and upholstery cleaning before the holidays, when you want your home looking its best, or after the holiday season and guests have gone home for the year! In homes with children, you might schedule both carpet and upholstery at the end of the summer when the kids go back to school and have done some damage in the home to both rugs and furniture! Cleaning all the surfaces of your home ensures a welcoming and hygienic environment.

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How to Keep Upholstery Clean

In between professional upholstery cleaning services, note some tips for ensuring your home’s furniture is always in tiptop shape:

  • Install an air filter in the home, to trap and lock airborne dirt and dust and keep it from settling onto fabric furniture.
  • Change the home’s furnace filter at least twice throughout the year, as this will also trap and lock dust, dirt, pet hair and dander, dust mites, and other debris that would otherwise land on your home’s furniture.
  • Have the home’s ductwork cleaned every few years, or as often as recommended by your AC repairperson.
  • If you must smoke in the home, invest in an ashtray that captures cigarette smoke rather than allowing it to waft into the air.
  • Keep pets off the furniture, or invest in a slipcover or pet pad you put over fabric furniture. Ensure you brush your pets often, to remove loose hairs and dander and keep it from settling onto the upholstery of your home’s pieces.
  • Use exhaust fans in the kitchen, to remove food odors and keep them from being absorbed by fabric furniture.
  • Clean stains and especially pet messes right away, so they don’t have time to settle into furniture fabric.

Related Questions

Can you use laundry detergent on furniture upholstery?

To use laundry detergent on furniture fabric, be sure to dilute the detergent in a bucket of water and then apply it with a clean, damp cloth. Use another clean damp cloth to blot away the detergent and the stain.

Can you use a fabric steam cleaner on upholstery?

The challenge with using a fabric steam cleaner for upholstery cleaning is extracting all water and humidity so that mold doesn’t grow along fabric foam. Use an extractor with the steam cleaner or vacuum to remove water after cleaning, to avoid the risk of mold and mildew growth.

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