As we are still awaiting the discovery of stain free fabric for upholstery, the need to clean and maintain upholstery remains a priority for homes and offices. Stain is of course not the only threat to upholstery that necessitates cleaning. Dirty upholstery can pose health hazards, hence the need of periodical cleaning. Upholstery cleaning services are provided by professional agencies and it is costly too. But there are some regular cleaning that can be done on your own. Knowing the methods of cleaning will protect your furniture and retain its beauty and appeal.
The cleaning process
For removing stains from upholstery made of fabric, you can start the process of cleaning by following the procedure described below. You can use steam cleaning or shampooing, whichever you find suitable.
- Stain removal is preceded by cleaning the upholstery to remove dust, dirt and grime using a vacuum cleaner. Dry dirt that has not penetrated deep into the surface of the upholstery is effectively removed in this process.
- The stain has then to be moistened with a piece of damp cloth. The area of the stain is dabbed wet with water to the point of saturation to facilitate further loosening of dirt particles that could not be removed in the dry process.
- Select a suitable cleaning agent that does not affect the fabric quality and colour. The suitability can be ascertained by reading the label of the cleaning agent pack. Check for colour fastness of the upholstery by applying the cleaning agent at a restricted area of the upholstery, preferably on the under surface. This is known as spot test.
- If you do not want to use a commercial cleaning agent then you can make your own at home. Mix half teaspoon laundry or dish detergent with warm water (about a quart). Mix it with a mixer till it becomes frothy with suds appearing on the surface. Ascertain the quantity of suds that will be required to saturate the area that has been stained and add more ingredients if required. Test the efficacy of the cleaning agent that you have prepared by scrubbing it on the fabric at a place that is hidden from view, by using a soft brush or a piece of cloth. If the colour remains unchanged, you can use the cleaning agent confidently.
- The stained area is covered with dry suds of the cleaning mixture that you have prepared. Use steam cleaner to shampoo the stained area by rubbing the brush attachment over it in a circular manner. The suds are then scraped with a spatula and using a clean damp cloth removes the suds adhering to the fibres of the fabric. Once again, steam clean the surface of the upholstery to give a smooth and even surface.
- The next step of drying is very important as improper drying can result in buildup of mildew under the surfaces of upholstery. Use fans and dehumidifier if necessary to speed up drying.
At the end, you can apply a fabric protector to the upholstery that can reduce the possibilities o staining to some extent.