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How to Clean and Maintain Different Types of Upholstery

Always test spot-cleaning products on an inconspicuous area to avoid damage. Photo: Flickr

Always test spot-cleaning products on an inconspicuous area to avoid damage. Photo: Flickr

No matter how much effort you put in cleaning and maintaining your armchairs or sofa, accidents happen. When spill occurs the time of reaction is of essence. In fact, upholstered furniture is bound to get dirty from general use over time – that’s inevitable! Stains, dirt and accumulated dust can make the fabric look worn out and scruffy.

Learning how to clean and maintain your furniture is important if you want to keep it looking beautiful, clean and well cared of. This is why we’ve gathered some useful tips on cleaning the most common types of upholstery fast and effective.

How to Clean Different Fabrics

There are some pretty common rules when it comes to clean upholstered furniture. Regular vacuuming is a must to avoid dust setting deeply into fabric and stuffing. Spot treatment is the best way to remove spills, before they become stubborn stains. But the similarities end here.

Different upholstery fabrics require different care. Knowing how to deal with the specific kind can help you avoid shrinking or colour bleeding and get impeccable results when cleaning your furniture.

There are many different fabrics used for upholstering. Photo: Flickr

There are many different fabrics used for upholstering. Photo: Flickr

Synthetic Upholstery

Fabrics made of synthetic fibres, such as acrylic, polyester, nylon or olefin, are generally easy to clean. They stand water well and you can use any type of water-based cleaning product. If the upholstery is removable you can even put it in your laundry machine. However it is always smart to check the label on your furniture to see if there are any instructions for specific treatment or product. If not sure what to do just test the cleaning product on a small, inconspicuous area to see if there is shrinkage or discoloration. If these occur, stop and try another furniture cleaning agent.

Natural Upholstery

Some types of upholstery are made of 100% natural fibres, most often cotton and wool, but sometimes silk, velvet or linen. Typically natural fabrics retain a lot of water so wet cleaning is not a good idea, however steam cleaning can be appropriate. Generally, you can clean these types of fabrics by yourself unless the label says otherwise. When you clean natural upholstery you will do fine with water-based product, but be moderate when applying it. Too much moist can cause shrinking or ‘water rings’.

Synthetic upholstery is relatively easy to clean. Photo: Flickr

Synthetic upholstery is relatively easy to clean. Photo: Flickr

Combined Upholstery

Very often upholstery fabric is combination of natural and man-made fibres. Usually cotton or wool are blended 50/50 with some synthetic threads. The safest option when dealing with blended fabrics is to hire professional upholstery cleaners in London. Combined fabrics usually require special treatment to avoid shrinking or other damage, unless the label specifies their DIY cleaning method.

Microfibre Upholstery

Microfibre is beautiful, durable and easy to maintain fabric. In this type of upholstery a tiny area consist of large amount of fibres. This stops the dirt from penetrating deep into the fabric. Usually scrubbing off the dirt with brush and vacuuming should be enough to remove the stain. For spot cleaning check the manufacturer label to select the best product for your microbibre upholstery.

Leather is classic choice for upholstery. Photo: Flickr

Leather is classic choice for upholstery. Photo: Flickr

Leather

Usually leather needs only wiping from the dust and dirt and occasional conditioning to keep it elastic and smooth. If however you have to deal with stain on you leather upholstery you should consider hiring professional company to treat the spot.

NB! When cleaning your upholstery, you should try to avoid getting liquids and cleaning agents to frames, legs or armrests of the furniture. These metal or wooden parts can corrode, rust, change color and even stain the upholstery and this definitely is a problem you don’t want to deal with.