Five years ago we bought a very expensive sofa and love-seat – in hindsight we probably shouldn’t have bought white upholstery. We now have 2 kids and a dog. Needless to say but the fabric is no longer white. In my infinite wisdom I decided to borrow a home steam cleaner from my neighbor and clean the upholstery myself. The sofa and love-seat now look worse than before I cleaned them. What did I do wrong and can this be corrected?
The fabric is likely 100% cotton or a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers. Rayon fabric is a common synthetic used with cotton. Although a man-made fiber; professional cleaning technicians treat it as a natural fiber due to the way it reacts while being cleaned. Regardless of the fabric type; you should never clean your furniture with a home cleaning system. First and foremost, the cleaning agents for use in these machines are NOT designed for upholstery cleaning. Cleaning agents designed for carpet react far differently when applied to upholstery of any type. Small cleaning machines do not have the power to properly rinse and extract water from upholstery. Leaving the fabric too wet can lead to more problems.
Upholstered fabrics containing cotton often develop two conditions when improperly cleaned:
The first is known as brown-out. Brown-out (simply put) is a pH imbalance; brought on by using high alkaline cleaning solutions, combined with over wetting of the fabric. Brown-out can appear as an overall brownish discoloration or on specific areas of the upholstery; such as the most used cushion.
The second condition is yellowing. Yellow splotches all over the fabric are a direct result of the chemical components used to make a cleaning product. Generally speaking; BOTH of these conditions can usually be reversed by an IICRC Upholstery Technician. HOWEVER, in some cases these conditions can become permanent; especially if not corrected in a timely manner.
While professional upholstery cleaning may seem expensive; cleaning it yourself is usually a recipe for disaster. Something usually goes awry or the results are poor and you’ve wasted a lot of time. Whether you spent $15,000.00 or $1500.00 on the furniture is beside the point when it comes to longevity of your upholstered furniture.
Although I’m a pretty handy guy; my wife always tells me to “call the guy” when something needs repair or attention around our home. Over the years I have come to heed this advice!
When the time comes for your upholstery or carpet cleaning needs. Do yourself a favor and “call the guy’ – Dan’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning is that guy!
Dan is IICRC certified in many fields of cleaning but has also attained Master Textile Tech status; which will ensure your upholstery is cleaned or restored to the best possible condition.