Many people are trying to find the easiest or the fastest way to clean their sofa, but this is not the best approach. It’s simple – some couches are easy to clean, other require more efforts. And different upholstery has to be treated different ways. So, the right question actually is “How do I clean my sofa most effectively?”
Check the Materials Your Sofa is Made of
Initial, DON’T try to clean your sofa with no meaningful what fabric or blends of fibers you are dealing with. It is very easy to ruin your upholstery beyond salvation. The best thing you can do is to look for a cleaning code. This should be located on a sticker placed on the frame underneath your couch’s cushions. It isn’t required by law for a manufacturer to place such code on their furniture, so it’s possible that yours may not have one.
If it does, however, read it carefully. Somewhere on the bottom of the sticker, there will be one of 4 codes:
“W” – stands for wet or water. You can apply moisture safely.
“S” – stands for solvents only. Only dry cleaning, NO WATER!
“S/W” – stands for dry foam. Safer than S, but still better don’t risk and go for a dry cleaning.
“X” – stands for vacuum cleaning only. Do not attempt to wash by yourself. This is a very rare code.
If there is no code sticker, then it’s better to be left to a professional to decide on the most adequate professional cleaning services procedure. Cleaning upholstered furniture is a delicate task. There is no universal way to clean all types of furniture. The material dictates what treatment will be the best and also how well it will clean particular spot or dirt. Just remember that spotless doesn’t always mean it will look good after the procedure. Explain the technician your exact visible expectations before he starts cleaning. Ask for a test spot, they should do it for free. If you’re not satisfied with the result, don’t waste money and reject the procedure. Unfortunately, the truth is that some materials cannot be completely cleaned after some period of use.
Clean Your Couch by Yourself
Assuming that you haven’t found any code, feel the fabric with your hand. If it’s smooth, almost silky, it’s most safe to dry-clean. These fabrics are usually more decorative and look a bit shiny. If the upholstery feels more rugged or plush (like the fabric on a car seat upholstery), there’s a good chance you can clean it with steamer. If you have any doubts, test an invisible area with few drops of water. Most of the dry-clean fabrics are non-absorbent and will repel or bead liquid. Water treatment to a dry-clean upholstery may color loss or bleeding, cause shrinkage, or water stains (yellowish or brownish rings, like when a child wets the bed. Most rings from liquid are known as water stains). Once appeared, water stains are most commonly permanent. There is also another good method to check your upholstery. If there are previous water stains on the fabric already, it’s most likely to be dry-clean. DO NOT USE MOISTURE METHOD. Water stains may appear in few minutes or even a couple of hours on some upholsteries. If you think your sofa upholstery cleaning services is done with dry-clean type cleaning, it’s not recommended to attempt anything by yourself. Usually dry fabric detergent is only good for surface dirt. For old stains and real visible difference, it’s pretty ineffective. Dry clean upholstery fabrics don’t absorb water and therefore don’t clean well even if moisture were applied. Your options are limited with such fabric.
If you determine your sofa suitable for steam cleaning, then you are lucky. You may rent one or use your own portable steam cleaner, but professional equipment does a better job. It’s optimal to use about 300psi, but no more than 400psi. A smaller portable stem cleaner may only reach around 100psi though. Do not use much detergent. If it is foam or soap based, it will leave unwanted residues or film on the fabric. In short time, the residues rapidly attract dirt and may stiffen the upholstery a bit. The concept of steam cleaning (which is actually extremely hot water at very high pressure) is to break up and extract dust and dirt, so the added cleaner doesn’t matter that much. Go over your entire couch with the steamer. Everything should be fine if you apply moisture evenly and suck up as much of it as possible. If you notice stubborn stains, apply few drops of cleaner directly on the affected area and go over it with repeated short passes. But never use too much detergent,regular steam cleaning will be more effective and safe than using too much detergent. As a home stain removal white vinegar mixed with water is safe. Just agitate a little with a brush first. There is no magic mix a man can use as a miracle spot cleaner though. More of the effective spotting agents are highly acidic and should be used by a professional with proper equipment only. You have to take in mind that some spots may be permanent. In some cases despite your efforts cleaning cannot lead to the expected results. Usually bright colored stains are the worst. Mustard, urine, fruit juices and other bright colors dye the upholstery fabric. When you finish with Sofa Cleaning leave your windows wide open to ensure quick drying of the sofa. This can take between 1-4 hours.
What I recommend is wash your cushions cases only as a last resort, because most upholstery fabrics shrink in the washing machine, therefore use cold cycle and don’t use the dryer.