Have you ever had a stain on your furniture without a single idea of how to clean it? Or maybe you have attempted to clean it and ruined the upholstery? You might have come up with these problems a lot especially if you have small children or pets. If this is the case, you have come to the right place in order to learn the basics of cleaning up your upholstery furniture.
It is extremely tricky to figure out what kind of cleaning supplies you should use for your particular furniture. Manufacturers have taken care of this by putting special codes on the furniture tag. Those codes reveal how you should take care of your upholstery, how durable it is or what kind of fabric it is made of. Even if you have gotten rid of the tag, manufacturers usually have this kind of information on their websites. In case if your furniture is re-upholstered or manufactured to special order, you should check the information out with the manufacturer.
Starting off with the most basic and common codes you will find, let’s figure out what you need to know about them.
“W” – This code stands for ‘water-based cleaner’. These are the easiest fabrics to clean, although you will not be able to machine wash them. In case of spills, soak the stain with a cloth as soon as possible to make the cleaning process easier. After, you can clean the stain with a water-based shampoo or foam cleaner. Don’t overwet the stain while cleaning.
“S” – The ‘S’ code indicates that the fabric should be spot cleaned with a water-free solvent or another dry-cleaning product. Make sure to ventilate the room properly and avoid high-toxic cleaning products, like the ones containing carbon tetrachloride.
“W/S” or “S/W” – You can probably already guess what these codes indicate. These are fabrics that can be cleaned with both water-based cleaners and solvents. Only make sure not to saturate the fabric with liquids. The best way to clean this kind of fabric is using a special upholstery shampoo, mild detergent foam or mild dry-cleaning solvent.
“X” – This code indicates that the upholstery can only be cleaned by brushing or vacuuming off the dirt. These kinds of fabrics cannot be cleaned with solvents or water-based cleaners.
There are some other codes that are less common: “HW” – hand wash; “DC” – dry clean only, “N Fbr” – indicates natural fibers, which should be soaked with a cloth immediately after staining and cleaned with a mild detergent; “WASH” – machine wash with cold water and mild detergent, do not use any bleach; “Wool” – drying with a simple cloth is recommended, with no cleaning solutions afterward.
Always remember that zippered cushion covers should not be removed and washed separately. Zippers are only meant for making the cushion tighter. Clean those covers according to the overall fabric cleaning instructions. If still in doubt, you can always pre-test the cleaning agent on an inconspicuous spot on the upholstery. However, since spot-cleaning is only meant for in-home cleaning, consider contacting a specialist to clean the whole piece of furniture. For casual cleaning and fresh appearance you should simply vacuum or brush your furniture regularly.