How to Clean Upholstered Furniture

Upholstered furniture is the epitome of cosy beauty. Its padding and springing let you sink into the arms of comfort. Upholstery fabrics also protect your furniture frameworks from dirt and dust. It is ironic then, that they themselves can get very dirty and need regular cleaning. And there are always staining accidents that need to be dealt with, not to mention getting rid of musty furniture smells.

Cleaning upholstered furniture can be a bit tricky, but for the most part is simple enough. For tidy, clean-smelling and beautiful upholstery, follow these tips.

1. Check the manufacturer’s label

Before you do anything with your furniture, check the manufacturer’s label for the cleaning code. Most upholstery comes with one, and you can usually find it under the centre cushion. There are 4 options – X, S, W and WS – each indicating the type of cleaning agent you can use on the furniture.

– ‘X’ indicates that only light brushing and vacuuming is suitable.

– ‘S’ means that your furniture can only handle water-free solvents; keep water away.

– A ‘W’ cleaning code specifies that water-based agents and foam can be used.

– Furniture with ‘WS’ can handle all the above cleaning agents.

2. Vacuum your upholstery

Vacuum your furniture before using any other cleaning agents. Dirt and dust, when wet, can get deeper into the cushions and settle in. Vacuuming will help prevent this. Also, make sure you get rid of all pet hair on the furniture.

Use an upholstery attachment with the vacuum. Work your way from the top to the bottom of the piece you are cleaning, and make overlapping, left-to-right strokes. Using a crevice nozzle, vacuum under the cushions and around the seams.

3. Remove spots and stains

For cotton, linen or polyester-acrylic upholstery, use a pre-mist on the stain first. Then sprinkle a dry cleaning agent on the stain and use a dry clean cloth to rub it in. Vacuum the spot and your stain should be gone. However, if it persists even after a couple of rounds, call for professional help.

For leather and vinyl furniture, spray a liquid cleaning agent onto a clean cloth and wipe the stain. Follow up with a dry cloth to remove all residues. Beware of cleaners that contain silicone. They will cause the leather or vinyl to tighten up and crack.

4. Wash your furniture with soap

Wash does not mean a good scrubbing up. Use clear gentle dish soap – pour half a teaspoon into a bucket and make lots of suds by adding water. Pick up the suds onto an upholstery brush and sweep the piece. Make sure that you use a light touch and take care not to soak the fabric. Finish up by wiping the furniture with a clean, damp cloth and let it dry completely before using it.

5. Call pest control

When dust mites and bed bugs are the problem, pest control will be your best option. These germs and insects can cause considerable harm to your furniture and health. Call pest control every six months to keep them in check.

For minor issues like dirt and small stains, the above tips are more than enough. If your furniture is old, valuable, antique or expensive, it is better to hire professionals. The ones at Expressions at Home will help you with any furniture maintenance queries.