Given the extra traffic your furniture has been going through with more of us staying home and watching DVD's and playing board games, it is not surprising that you are searching for some do it yourself upholstery cleaning tips. With a little practical advice and a little hard work, cleaning your upholstery on your couch and chairs should not be difficult.
Do It Yourself Upholstery Cleaning-Pre-Cleaning Steps
Cleaning upholstry is part of regular household cleaning and maintenance. Before actually cleaning your couch or chairs, perform these actual pre-cleaning steps to help make the overall experience easier.
- Pull the furniture away from the wall or the area where it normally rests. Vacuum and dust the area. If it has been resting against a wall, wipe the wall with a damp cloth or sponge. Next, check the wall for any dings or scratches. These you will want to fill in with wall spackle, sand, and touch up the paint.
- Next remove the cushions on the furniture, vacuum where they have been resting, getting into the cracks and crevices of the furniture. Stop and polish any wood parts or dust and wipe down any metal parts.
- Check to make sure all parts of the furniture are in working order - i.e. that the recliner still reclines and lever/hinge assembly is not loose. Call and bring in a furniture repair person to fix any missing or broken parts before you actually clean the furniture yourself.
Water, Water Everywhere - Not!
You are going to have to use water to clean the upholstery. Check for the tag on your sofa or chair and make sure you know what kind of material you are working with, as well as any cleaning suggestions the manufacturer may have made.
Please note that professionals trained to deal with the delicacy of this fabric should only clean any silk or silk blend fabric. Other materials requiring special cleaning include wool, linen, rayon, and Haitian cotton. These fabrics shrink and can be discolored by water usage.
The biggest mistake people make in cleaning their upholstery is using too much water. To avoid this, fill a spray bottle that has a mist setting about halfway up with water. You should also avoid using cloths saturated in water and a cleaning agent. Always test an inconspicuous area with a couple of drops of water to see if the fabric is colorfast, and to see how long it takes to dry.
Too much water will cause the piece of furniture to experience drying problems. Upholstery that is wet will give off a musty odor and may turn moldy after a while compounding rather than solving the problem you are trying to solve.
Out, Out Stubborn Spots
After you have checked to make sure the upholstery responds well to water, choose a mild fabric or upholstery cleaner.
- Mist particularly obvious stains with water
- Spray a little of the cleaner directly on the spot.
- Gently pat the cleaner into the spots with a pushing motion. Try to avoid rubbing too hard.
- Take damp clean cloths and wipe off as much cleaner and dirt as possible.
- Use a clean, dry towel to dry and extract as much water as possible.
A good basic and inexpensive cleaner is a half a teaspoon of detergent or liquid soap to a quart of water.
Drying an Upholstered Piece of Furniture
Furniture should dry completely within 24 hours. Of course, it is best to clean on a warm day with the windows open and a breeze circulating. If that is not possible, following the steps will help you speed up the process:
- Take a hair dryer and go over seamed or corded areas.
- Turn up the heat by two or three three degrees.
- If you have a ceiling fan, put the switch on the fan to turn counterclockwise, to push the warmer air down to the floor and furniture level.
- Keep the family off the furniture. Sitting on it before it is completely dry pushes the moisture in and makes it more difficult to dry completely.
- Make sure curtains and drapes are open to make use of as much natural light and warmth as possible.
Other Homemade Solutions
The web is a gold mine for people sharing do it yourself upholstery cleaning tips. Sites like Stretcher.com chock full of ideas from people who have used everything from baby wipes to hand held steam cleaners. Again, if you decide to follow someone else's suggestions, check your upholstery fabric and furniture tags first for suggestions and recommendations.