How To Clean Upholstery

Keeping upholstery clean, whether it is fabric, leather or vinyl, is an important part of maintaining your furniture, and methods of cleaning upholstery vary according to the type of covering. One of the simplest ways to keep fabric free of dust and grime is to vacuum it regularly. However, no matter how careful you are, body oil and dust are bound to accumulate over time, and the fabric will eventually need to be cleaned. Wool, silk and linen should be professionally dry cleaned to preserve their appearance. Cottons, acrylic, polyester and nylon fabrics can be cleaned using commercially available fabric cleaners, or by making your own shampoo. If using a commercial cleaner, be careful to check the label to make sure it is safe for your fabric, and always look for cleaners that use neutral, not alkaline based soap.

To clean upholstery follow the directions on a commercial cleaner, or mix a neutral soap with boiling water. When soap dissolves, it will form a paste. Dilute the paste with cold water until mixture is lukewarm and thick suds form. Never use hot water on fabric, and avoid pouring the solution directly on the area to be cleaned. Using a brush or sponge, start outside the soiled area or at the edges, and make small circular strokes. Work on small areas at a time and use plenty of suds to ensure effective cleaning. Scrap suds off with a clean brush or sponge, and rinse using a clean, soft cloth dipped in a weak saltwater solution. Always wipe with the nap, and try to avoid saturating the fabric and underlying padding. Continue to wipe with clean, dry cloths and finish by brushing to raise the pile.

To clean leather upholstery or tabletops, dip a clean, soft cloth in mineral spirits or naptha and wipe. Allow to dry thoroughly, and apply paste wax or cleaning wax. Buff with a clean, dry soft cloth. Vinyl upholstery can be cleaned by wiping the surface with a soft cloth saturated with a mild soapy mixture, and then rinsed with plain water on a clean cloth or sponge. Never pour cleaning solution directly on upholstery surface. Allow to dry thoroughly, and apply a thin coat of cleaning wax.

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