Most upholstery fabrics are wet cleanable but not all, so it is important to carry out a survey to decide how to proceed:
- The first step is to quantify the degree of soiling and staining on the fabric as either light, moderate or heavy.
- Then we establish the type of fibres present as this will help determine whether the fabric will give up or retain the soiling or staining. This test also confirms if it is wet or dry cleanable.
- Next we carry out a test to determine if the dyes are stable or if there is a possibility that they might migrate to adjacent lighter coloured areas.
- We then test for potential shrinkage.
- Sensitive fabrics such as brocades and chintzes are checked to see if they are adversely affected by the cleaning process.
- Finally, any pre-existing damage is noted such as loose tassels or braid, wear, fading or yellowing.
With the survey complete we can start cleaning the upholstery fabric:
- First, we thoroughly vacuum all the pieces to be cleaned. This is an important step and a great deal of time is spent removing as much dry soiling as possible.
- Next, these items are uniformly wet or dry cleaned using the correct method and equipment.
- At this stage we can attempt stain removal but not before. This ensures effective stain removal and minimises the risk of ring marking.
- Finally, any excess moisture is wiped off with a clean, white terry towel and if circumstances dictate we can install a turbo fan in the room to hasten drying.
So what are the different methods of cleaning upholstery fabric mentioned at stage 1 and which one do we utilise?
Well the answer depends on how dirty the items are and the condition of the fabric:
Low Soiling – under this category there are two ways to clean upholstery fabrics that are in very good condition. These methods can be used as a regular maintenance system to remove light, greasy surface soil so as to keep the furniture in pristine condition.
- by spraying a water based solution onto the fabric and wiping off with a quality, absorbent towel. The fabric should be touch dry within an hour.
- by spraying a spirit based cleaner onto natural velvets and other hypersensitive fabrics or fabrics with loose dyes and then, again, wiping off with a quality, absorbent towel. Dry in about two hours.
Medium Soiling – there are three ways of cleaning upholstery fabrics that are in good condition, with no visible wear and showing medium soil build up on body contact areas.
- by applying a crystallising shampoo by sponge. This method is fast drying, one to two hours, and is mainly used on furniture that is grubby rather than greasy.
- by hot water spray extraction to heavier soiled items on wet cleanable fabrics with drying taking 4-6 hours.
- by spray cleaning with a spirit based cleaning solution on hypersensitive fabrics. Drying takes about twenty-four hours.
Heavy Soiling – this method is for wet cleanable fabrics only that are in poor condition and very heavily soiled.
- again by using hot water spray extraction but on a repeated basis because of the extreme soiling. Drying times will be extended.
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