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Cleaning Upholstery

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Pets, children, and spilled drinks are all enemies of upholstered furniture. Let's face it, accidents happen. No matter how careful you are, your furniture will get dirty over time--dust accumulates and dirt gets dragged inside. Read on for some tips to get your upholstered furniture clean again.

What You'll Need

Start by gathering the following supplies:
  • Cleaning cloths

  • Laundry detergent

  • Dusting brush

  • Plastic bucket

  • Plastic scraper

  • Vacuum with brush attachment

  • Electric fan

Cleaning Upholstery

  • Remove the cushions from the sofa or chair and clean them separately.

  • Loosen the dirt with the dusting brush and vacuum using the brush attachment.

  • Mix a quarter cup of detergent with one cup of warm water with an electric mixer until it resembles whipped cream.

  • Dip a cloth in the mixture and test it before use on a small, unnoticeable corner of fabric. Some materials may fade if the detergent is too harsh. Let it dry and if it fades, becomes discolored, or shrinks, stop and have the piece cleaned professionally.

  • If not, continue to rub the soapy mixture onto the fabric. The suds will absorb the dirt.

  • Use the plastic scraper to scrape away the suds and dirt.

  • Rinse the fabric with a damp cloth.

  • Set up an electric fan to blow on the fabric and allow it to dry overnight.

Preventative Care

Treat fabric

Most upholstered furniture is pre-treated with soil and water repellants to help prevent stains. You can purchase additional fabric protectors to apply to your furniture to help prevent the absorption of spills.

Turn the cushions

Regularly rotating your furniture's cushions will help maintain their vibrancy and prevent them from becoming faded or discolored. Be sure to not only flip the cushions, but to relocate them to a different part of the couch to ensure even usage. The equal distribution of wear and tear will prevent indentation or flattening of the cushions. Fluff them up each time you flip them as well to help them remain full and soft.

Avoid sunlight and pollutants

Direct exposure to sunlight can cause your fabric to fade over time. Try to keep your upholstered pieces positioned so it will not be in the sun for extended periods of time.

Exposure to pollutants such as smoke and other fumes can also be detrimental to the condition of your fabric. Making sure you have proper ventilation, especially when cooking, can help prevent this type of damage.

Spot clean

Staying on top of spills and stains will prevent your fabric from becoming dingy and discolored. Always blot any spill immediately with a clean cloth -never rub. If you are using a stain remover, test the product in an unnoticeable area to ensure it will not remove the color from your fabric. Always check the manufacturers warning on your furniture to find out if you should use a water or solvent-based spot remover.

After applying the treatment with a soft brush, vacuum dry.

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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