Upholstery Cleaning- Fabric and Leather

Fabric Upholstery

Most upholstery fabrics are wet cleanable but not all, so it is important to carry out a survey to decide how to proceed:

    1. The first step is to quantify the degree of soiling and staining on the fabric as either light, moderate or heavy.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. We then test for potential shrinkage.
    5. Sensitive fabrics such as brocades and chintzes are checked to see if they are adversely affected by the cleaning process.
    6. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Next, these items are uniformly wet or dry cleaned using the correct method and equipment.
  3. At this stage we can attempt stain removal but not before. This ensures effective stain removal and minimises the risk of ring marking.
  4. 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.

 

Leather Upholstery

Cleaning leather upholstery requires a different approach than for cleaning fabric upholstery.  Before we start to clean, it is essential to determine the type of leather the customer has so that the correct cleaning solutions and methods can be used.  This will ensure that no damage is caused during the cleaning process.  With this in mind, it is helpful to categorise upholstery leather into three main groups:

  • Aniline
  • Protected
  • Nubuck

Aniline Leather cleaning

Aniline refers to the non-toxic dye used in colouring leather and not to the leather itself.  However the leather selected to become aniline is usually the best quality without anything removed from the surface and is known as Full Grain.  Within this group we include all leathers that have minimum surface protection and absorb moisture readily.  This group of leather also absorbs dirt and stains readily, so it pays to regularly maintain the surface.  Following a thorough vacuuming we follow up with a cleaning solution that does not contain detergents as we only want to clean the dirt away from the surface of the leather and not push it further into the grain.  Afterwards, we apply a fluoroseal protector to the leather which helps against staining and finally leave the customer with a bottle of leather maintainer and a quick explanation on how to best care for the suite now it has been cleaned.  Leather maintainer is a spray and wipe product that is designed to clean, hydrate and protect.  If maintained correctly and regularly then dirt can be wiped off the surface reducing the need to deep clean.

Protected Leather Cleaning

The better quality protected leathers are also made from the top layer of a hide, but from one that is deemed not good enough to be Full Grain and has had any imperfections buffed out.  It is normally aniline dyed and then coated with one or more pigments and includes antique and two tone finishes.  Cleaning is carried out using a foaming product, whereby the dirt is encapsulated into the foam and then removed from the surface of the leather. Using a foam cleaner is a more efficient way to capture the dirt rather than using a spray cleaner that just moves the dirt around the surface of the leather.  Using foam also prevents “bleaching” streaks that can prove stubborn to remove.  After the suite has been fully cleaned, a coat of fluoroseal protector is applied and then it is good practise for the owner to look after the suite by cleaning the body contact areas with the leather maintenance product supplied by us.  In this way it will clean, hydrate and prevent surface cracking and reduce the frequency of “deep cleaning”.

 

Nubuck

Nubuck is a Full Grain aniline dyed leather that has had its surface buffed to give a suede effect and may have a protective coating of wax.  Because the surface has been buffed and the leather fibres are exposed it is very susceptible to spillages and body oils.  Cleaning is normally carried out with a nap brush and a tack cloth. Again, a fluoroseal protector is applied after the cleaning process and a bottle of leather maintainer is left with the customer to clean, hydrate and protect.

 

 

You may notice that I have emphasised the word hydrate.  This is because leather is marketed in a way that makes you believe it is like living human skin that regularly needs moisturising, however this is untrue. During the tanning process, all the natural stuff in the hide is removed leaving only fibrous material.  At this stage the hide can now be called leather but it is very stiff, so natural and artificial oils and fats are introduced  to lubricate it and make it soft and supple.  These oils and fats are chemically bound  to the fibres and should last for a minimum of 20 to 30 years.  If you try to ‘condition’ the leather with more oil  then it will just remain on the surface and attract dirt.  This dirt will abrade the surface and cause cracks and the dye to fade.  Because leather has a tendency to dry out, only water based cleaning products should be used.  By keeping the surface clear of dirt and body oils allows moisture in the air to be carried through, keeping the leather in balance with the surrounding levels of humidity.  However if the environment is too dry, as our homes often are, then a 3-in-one maintainer used on a regular basis will help to keep the leather soft.  The 3-in 1 maintainer is designed to clean, hydrate and add a thin coat of fluoroseal protector to the surface of the leather.  The protector will help in the fight against stains and body contact oils.


 

 

Here’s what our customers have to say about our work………

 

5/5  ·  22nd July 2018 by
Upholstery Cleaning
I had my sofas cleaned, very pleased with the job, lovely people.
5/5  ·  14th July 2018 by
Upholstery Cleaning
Have used Steve many times and have also recommend him.  Very satisfied and great value.
5/5  ·  29th May 2018 by of Flitwick
Upholstery Cleaning
Thank you for a job well done. Excellent results.
5/5  ·  23rd April 2018 by of Meppershall
Upholstery Cleaning
The upholstery started to look cleaner as soon as you started.
5/5  ·  1st March 2018 by of Harlington
Upholstery Cleaning
Very happy with the sofas.
5/5  ·  7th January 2018 by of Kempston
Upholstery Cleaning
I can't believe how much brighter my suite looks. The colours really stand out.
5/5  ·  2nd December 2017 by of Silsoe
Upholstery Cleaning
Hi Steve, just rang mum. She was really pleased with the upholstery cleaning and all that you did for her, so just wanted to say a big thank you for that.
5/5  ·  17th November 2017 by of Meppershall
Leather Cleaning
Steven was recommended to us by a friend and was highly delighted when he offered us a time immediately to give us a free estimate. This we accepted and Steven arrived promptly as arranged and cleaned our leather suite which was in need of his care and attention. We were delighted with the finished product and has made such a difference in our lounge which has recently been decorated. Steven was extremely knowledgeable and could advise the best products to use for care and maintenance.
5/5  ·  16th October 2017 by of Shillington
Leather Cleaning
Thank you Steve..... a dramatic improvement that bought the old sofa back to life. Over the years it has suffered from cracking and fading. Your on-site colour restoration service has restored it to very near its original colour. I'm so pleased to be able to get many more years out of a family favourite.    
5/5  ·  2nd October 2017 by of Luton
Upholstery Cleaning
Very happy with the way the suite now looks.
5/5  ·  28th September 2017 by of Barton-Le-Clay
Upholstery Cleaning
Our three piece suite looks a lot cleaner now, should have had it done a long time ago. thanks
5/5  ·  29th June 2017 by of Hitchin
Upholstery Cleaning
I’d like to thank Steve for the superb job he did on cleaning my suite.  What a difference. Well done!
5/5  ·  28th September 2016 by of Maulden
Upholstery Cleaning
Our sofas have come up looking brand new. I would definitely recommend them.

 

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