Find a Local Service Provider

How to Tell When your Upholstery Needs Cleaning

By Luke Armstrong

It is the soft upholstered furniture in your home that adds so much coziness, comfort, and charm to the surroundings. Your cushy sofa and snug armchairs, your stylish dining chairs with padded seats, and every other piece of upholstered furniture you possess impart both a feeling of relaxation and an elegant look to the ambience, enhancing the overall value and appeal of your home. However, if you want to preserve the superb look and feel of your upholstery over the years, you need to take proper care of your soft furniture. Adequate protection and regular cleaning are the basic requirements for reducing wear and tear and keeping your upholstered pieces in excellent condition for a long time.

Upholstered furniture needs prper care.
Upholstered furniture adds lots of comfort and charm to your interior design.

Upholstery Maintenance

To make your upholstery maintenance task easier, you need to choose the right upholstery material for the right place. Leather upholstery, for example, is appropriate for elegant furniture pieces that are not so commonly used, while synthetic fibers are perfect for upholstered pieces which are subject to heavy use. If you have pets or young kids, opt for durable, stain- and scratch-resistant fabrics that do not have loose weaves or too much texture. Use microfiber for upholstered furniture in high-traffic areas and keep cotton or linen upholstery in peaceful rooms or more formal spaces. Once you have chosen the type of upholstery that is most appropriate for your lifestyle and perfectly suits your everyday needs and aesthetic preferences, make sure you take proper care of it:

Protect your Upholstery:

  • Keep your upholstered pieces away from direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure to the sun may cause the fabric (especially silk and other delicate materials) to fade or even to fray;
  • Keep leather furniture away from heat sources to avoid cracking;
  • Plump and turn the cushions regularly (it is even a good idea to change them around from one part of the furniture to the other, if possible). This will help maintain the shape of the cushions, ensure even wear, and prolong the life of your upholstered pieces;
  • Be careful when using scissors, knifes, keys, and other sharp objects while sitting on an upholstered furniture piece – they can tear or cut the fabric (or scratch the leather);
  • Never leave felt tip pens, highlighters, glue sticks, and pens without caps on the upholstery as ink stains are very persistent and difficult to remove;
  • Protect your upholstered furniture from your furry animal friends as scratching and chewing may cause irreversible damage to your pieces.

SEE ALSO: How to repair furniture damaged by pets

Find out fow to best take care of your upholstery.
You need to take proper precautionary measures to make sure your playful animal friends won’t cause irreversible damage to your stylish upholstered furniture.

Clean your Upholstery Regularly:

  • Vacuum your upholstered furniture on a weekly basis to prevent the accumulation of dust and dirt (always use the drape or upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner!);
  • Spot clean stains and blot up spills immediately. Avoid rubbing or using detergents as you may unwillingly damage the fabric or the leather. In case you need to use a cleaning product to remove persistent stains, always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and use only the recommended upholstery cleaners. Test the cleaning agent in an inconspicuous area first and then apply it sparingly on the dirty spot (in order not to over wet it) in a circular motion to work your way into the fabric. Use a soft brush and work from the outside edge of the spot toward the middle to prevent spreading the stain.

Have in mind that fabrics can be made from a variety of different fibers including cotton, silk, wool, polyester, nylon, polypropylene, acrylic, and blends thereof. Each fiber has its own unique features, including fiber-specific cleaning methods (you can find more useful information on how to clean upholstery here). A cleaning agent that works fine on one fabric may cause shrinkage, fading, dye bleed, and even fiber deterioration to another. So, if you are not sure what cleaning product to use, or if your upholstery needs more extensive cleaning, hire professional cleaning services to restore the good condition of your upholstered furniture. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t have to wait until a “cleaning emergency” arises in order to call an upholstery cleaning company – it is generally recommended to have your upholstered furniture professionally cleaned at least once a year to ensure its good looks and long life.

Upholstery Cleaning

Regular upholsery cleaning is essential for keeping your upholstered furniture in excellent condition.
Regular upholstery cleaning will help you preserve the superb look and feel of your soft furniture for a long time.

There are some essential factors to consider when it comes to cleaning upholstery:

How Often to Clean Upholstery

Even if you clean your upholstered furniture on a regular basis, professional upholstery cleaning is required every 18 months or so. Of course, the particular circumstances in your case (a lot of traffic in your home, pets sleeping on the couch or in the armchairs, children playing on the sofa, etc.) may necessitate more frequent deep cleaning – up to three or four times per year. Have in mind that dirt and grime, dust mites and pet dander (as well as other allergens), smoke particles and other air pollutants, sweat and body oils, etc. stick to the fabric and make it look dingy and worn out. Besides, allergy symptoms in your family may aggravate and the overall living conditions in your home may deteriorate when the upholstery absorbs too much dirt and harmful substances. So, professional upholstery cleaning is required not only to restore the good condition of your furniture but also to ensure a healthy home environment.

But how do you tell when your upholstery needs thorough cleaning? You can make some simple tests to know for sure:

  • Take a clean, white cotton towel and rub it over the back and arms of your sofa, your armchairs, etc. If it gets darker and appears smudged, your upholstery needs deep cleaning;
  • Put a black piece of fabric over the end of the vacuum cleaner hose and run the hose across the surfaces of your upholstered furniture. If white debris collects on the fabric, it means that pet dander and dust mites have accumulated on the upholstery and you need to have your couches, chairs, etc. thoroughly cleaned;
  • Look between the cushions or under the arms of your couch – any area of the upholstered furniture that is usually covered, remains hidden, or sees very little usage. If you notice any difference in the color of that well protected spot and the rest of the upholstery, it is a clear sign that professional cleaning is required to refresh the fabrics.

Benefits of Professional Upholstery Cleaning

  1. Professional cleaning prolongs the life of the upholstery by keeping it fresh and free of dust, stains, and debris (thus reducing the signs of wear and tear and protecting the fibers);
  2. All upholstery cleaning companies have strong and specialized cleaning products that are not easily available. They use high powered upholstery cleaning machines and special equipment that yield outstanding results;
  3. Professional cleaners are highly skilled and properly trained. They have rich experience in dealing with upholstery cleaning, spot treatment, and stain removal. Besides, they are familiar with the specifics of different types of fabrics, so they know what upholstery cleaning products and techniques will be safe for your upholstered furniture. The experienced technicians use fabric specific cleaning solutions that will not cause damage to your upholstery;

    Professional upholstery cleaning yields astonishing results.
    It is a good idea to have your upholstery professionally cleaned at least once a year.
  4. Using upholstery cleaning services results in a healthy living environment – all allergens are safely removed from the upholsteries, so skin irritation, headaches, breathing troubles and other allergy symptoms are kept at bay;
  5. When improperly used, many cleaning solutions can have adverse effects on health. Competent professional cleaners have adopted advanced cleaning methods to ensure that no residue or irritating chemical smell will be left behind. The cleaning solutions used in the process contain no harmful or potentially dangerous ingredients, so they are safe for everyone, even for sensitive kids and pets;
  6. Professional upholstery cleaning is a highly efficient and cost-effective process that leaves your upholstery smelling fresh and looking like new!