How to Clean a Couch and Other Upholstered Furniture

Upholstered furniture instantly adds style and beauty to any room. Upholstered furniture can also cause you stress if it gets dirty, as you may find it difficult to keep it clean. Yet there are several tactics you can use to make this seemingly daunting task significantly easier.

Trying to Keep Things Clean

In a perfect world, couches and upholstered furniture would never be subject to cleaning. However, with kids, pets and clumsy adults to consider, your upholstered furniture is bound to endure some wear and tear.

You can set your own ground rules to establish preventative measures, but the fact is your upholstery will get dirty over time. The best thing you can do is be prepared for when it happens.

Know Your Fabric

Before you start cleaning, you should be aware of how to properly clean your upholstery. This is done by paying attention to the cleaning codes that come with each piece of furniture; codes that tell you precisely how to handle stains.

Some of the more prominent codes include:

  • S – Clean just with dry cleaning solvent
  • SW/WS – Spot clean with upholstery cleaner or mild detergent
  • W – Clean only with water-based shampoo
  • DC – Dry clean only
  • X – Use vacuuming or light brushing

Understanding these codes – and using them properly – is often the element that separates a successful upholstery cleaning from one that’s not successful.

The Tools of the Trade

When the time does come to clean, you’ll need a few items on hand. You’ll also need to be mindful of one simple mantra: Be gentle. If you get too aggressive with your cleaning tactics, you may run the risk of causing damage to your furniture.

Depending on the type of material you’re dealing with, you’ll need the following items at your disposal:

  • Vacuum
  • White cloths
  • Stain remover/upholstery cleaner
  • Can of compressed air
  • Dish soap
  • Upholstery brush
  • Small bucket

You may not need all of these tools to get the job done, but it’s good to have these stored away if you have various upholstered surfaces in your home. A leather chair, for example, may require a different approach than one covered in fabric.

Using the Tools

It’s not enough that you have the correct tools on hand. You also must know how to utilize them properly. Not doing so may cause more harm than good.

You should use the above-mentioned tools in the following manner:

Vacuum – Run your vacuum upholstery attachment over your furniture’s surface from left to right, deploying short, overlapping strokes. The left to right motion is key, as it will capture dirt that may be deeply ensconced in certain materials that tend to hold onto dirt. If you’re dealing with a delicate fabric, be sure the vacuum setting is on low.

Compressed Air – Aim the can’s needle so it is facing outward from the furniture, then blast away. You don’t want to blast it into the cushions or the back panel directly.

Stain Remover/Upholstery Cleaner – Sprinkle just enough of the product to cover the offending spot, then gently rub it into the fabric with a dry cloth. If you have multiple spots to deal with, deploy the remover on the more inconspicuous spot to ensure the amount you’re using is accurate. Do not repeat the process after two attempts – if you overdo things, you may cause damage to the fabric.

Dish Soap – Pour approximately ½ teaspoon of the soap into a small bucket, and fill the bucket with warm water. This should give you plenty of suds. Pick up just the suds on your upholstery brush, and gently sweep them into the fabric. Wipe the fabric with a clean, damp cloth, and allow it to dry, untouched, for one solid day.

Still Need Help?

There are instances where you may feel uncomfortable with cleaning upholstery yourself, such as if you’re dealing with an old piece of furniture or a family heirloom. You may have a stain that’s too stubborn to come out.

You may even have a piece of furniture that requires professionals to get the job done properly, as dictated by its cleaning code. If this is the case, take the code seriously and don’t try to do things yourself.

For any of those times, Loudoun Valley Floors can help. Our qualified team has the experience, knowledge, and equipment needed to make your upholstery look as beautiful and brilliant as the day you brought it home. Give us a call today to find out about a free estimate.

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