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Should You Dry Clean Upholstery?

Carpet Cleaning, Rug Cleaning, Upholstery Cleaning
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Most people are familiar with steam cleaning carpets and upholstery but may be surprised to learn that you can dry clean upholstery as well. Some furniture is covered with a delicate fabric like leather or silk that must never be steam cleaned. The water, heat, or combination of the two will damage the furniture beyond any hope of repair. Steam cleaning some fabrics may even cause a change in texture and softness.

Usually, a piece of furniture's tags will explain the necessary cleaning procedure. If the tags say "dry clean only" or display an "S," the upholstery should not be cleaned with water. Dry cleaning upholstery is a pretty straightforward procedure and can actually be less time consuming than steam cleaning.

Dry Cleaning at Home

When dry cleaning upholstery at home, it's possible to use either a foaming spray or a cleaning cloth. Product labels should be carefully read and will usually state clearly if they are intended for dry cleaning. Some foaming products need water, and these may cause damage.

Before beginning, the furniture should be thoroughly vacuumed to remove any loose dirt, crumbs, or hairs. The cushions should be removed and vacuumed under as well. It's usually easiest to clean the cushions separately from the rest of the couch or chair.

In most cases, a foaming cleaner is sprayed onto the upholstery, allowed to sit for a certain amount of time, and then simply wiped away. No pre-wetting or rinsing are necessary. The product's directions may say to rub the foam into the upholstery instead of just wiping it off. The directions should be carefully followed, of course.

Dry cleaning cloths, normally used to clean "dry clean only" clothing in the dyer, are an alternative to foaming cleansers. A cloth can be rubbed gently over the surface of the upholstery until it becomes dirty. New cloths should be used until the entire surface has been wiped. The furniture should appear cleaner and brighter and smell fresher after being cleaned.

Vacuuming a second time will remove any dirt that has been lifted during the cleaning process.

Any product, including dry cleaning cloths, should be tested in an inconspicuous area before being used to clean the entire surface. The cleaner can be applied to a hidden area as usual, and the area should be checked 24 to 48 hours later. If there is any damage or fading of the color, that particular product should not be used.

Professional Dry Cleaning

A professional upholstery cleaning service may use a cleaning foam, similar to the method described above, or they may use a special carbonated cleaning product. The carbonation bubbles and "fizzles" to help work soils out of the upholstery fabric. It can penetrate into the upholstery and move embedded dirt back to the surface where the cleaning technician will remove it using a professional-grade vacuum.

When you need to dry clean upholstery, the choice is yours--professional or at home cleaning, foaming cleansers or cleaning cloths. Any of these dry cleaning methods will give you a cleaner and prettier piece of furniture.

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