Professional Furniture & Upholstery Cleaning

Professional Furniture & Upholstery Cleaning is a lot different than carpet cleaning, as the fabric used to make furniture can be up to 90% cotton or a blend of cotton. So, most furniture has to be cleaned at a neutral pH, heat should not exceed 160 degrees, you can’t aggressively agitate like you would do synthetic carpets (because of not having any pile) and there are concerns of browning/bleeding with use of too much water.

Follow the following checklist to keep yourself out of trouble:

1- Do a fiber id test to see if the fabric is natural or synthetic. Take a piece of fiber from underneath or by opening the zipper. Take a lighter and burn it. If it melts away and produces a hard bead, then it is synthetic. If it produces an ash and burns like a candle wick, it is natural.

2- When cleaning any fabric you have not cleaned before, test for colorfastness. Make sure you use a neutral pre-spray recommended for upholstery cleaning. Take your pre-spray and apply it on a towel, then go to an inconspicuous area on the furniture and blot with the towel. Darker colors work best. If there is any color transfer at all, then you can’t wet clean the fabric safely. The colors will bleed.

3- If the fabric is natural, then perform another test. Clean a one-square-foot area and let it dry (use a fan to reduce drying time). If the texture changes at all (texture change on the fabric will look similar to what a wet paper towel looks like after it dries), you will not be able to wet clean this fabric.

4- Make sure you use an upholstery tool that controls the amount of moisture. A tool like the Mytee Dry, Sapphire Scientific Upholstery Pro, Drimaster or the Shear Dry.

5- Use a dry towel to absorb extra water after cleaning from crevices and areas that don’t get too much airflow naturally.

For auto detailing, most of the fabric will be synthetic, so you generally don’t have to worry too much about the above. Just make sure not to overwet to drive the spots and stains deeper.

Written by Taf Baig, IICRC Upholstery Cleaning Instructor. Want to learn more?  Take Taf Baig’s IICRC Upholstery Cleaning Technician class or read the Upholstery Cleaning Manual.

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