Depending on the type of upholstery you have and the severity of the stains on it, cleaning your upholstery yourself can absolutely be a do-it-yourself job. But there are a few things you should know first! I reached out to a local business owner who does carpet cleaning in New Braunfels. Steve is a great guy who has been cleaning carpets for over 14 years. So let’s jump into the best way to clean your upholstery. Cleaning your upholstery doesn’t need to be difficult, however you need to know what you are dealing with.
For example, every fabric isn’t cleaned the same way. Lift up your cushions and find the tag. You can find a letter code there that will tell you which cleaning products will work best on your upholstery. In any case, use distilled water to clean upholstery since tap water can leave behind mineral deposits.
- “W” means that you should only use water-based cleaning products. Resolve and homemade cleaners with vinegar, baking soda and dish soap are examples of water-based cleaners.
- “S” tells you that you should use a solvent-based cleaner. Water may or may not be needed with these products.
- “SW” is a code that indicates both solvent- and water-based products can be used on this piece of furniture.
- An “X” means that you should not attempt to clean the material yourself. Call a professional instead. Any attempts at cleaning may cause further staining, discoloration or distortion of the fabric.
When choosing furniture, you should check the tags to see how easy the furniture will be to care for down the road. Also, consider whether or not the upholstery is next to metal or wooden elements of the piece. This could make it difficult to clean since most fabric cleaners will damage wood and metal.
Synthetic fibers like nylon, acrylic and microfiber are easier to clean than natural fibers such as silk, wool and mohair. Microfiber, for instance, needs little more than regular vacuuming to keep it looking great. Natural fibers are easily stained and tricky to clean. Keep this in mind also when purchasing new furniture. Any combination materials – 50/50 blends of natural and synthetic fibers – should be left to professionals.
When you are preparing to clean synthetic materials, it’s still a good idea to test the cleaner on an inconspicuous spot before cleaning a visible area. The same goes for natural fibers. Natural fibers typically call for water-based cleaners, so it’s very important to use that distilled water…and not very much of it!
To clean your upholstery, follow the following steps:
- Assess the severity of the stain. Wine or dirt may be within your ability, while pet or blood stains should probably be left to the professionals.
- Double check your warranty. Some warranties are invalid if you damage it further by cleaning it yourself.
- Vacuum the piece extremely well before you begin cleaning in order to remove loose dust and dirt.
- Test your cleaning product on a hidden spot.
- Spot-treat the stain with your product of choice. Repeat the treatment once if it does not remove the stain the first time.
- Scrub the stain with soapy water (dish soap and warm water) and an upholstery brush. Use as little water as possible.
- Wipe the area with a damp cloth and let it dry.
If the stain remains, it’s time to call a professional!