Upholstered Furniture Cleaning is a Cakewalk with These Tips!

An often neglected segment of the ‘House Spring Cleaning Project’ is the upholstered furniture cleaning for the simple reason that a large majority of householders are ‘blissfully’ ignorant about cleaning the same. Relax… Gharpedia through this blog shares some important pointers to enable you to give a new look by cleaning upholstery without detracting from its aesthetics.

Well it’s ‘that time of the year’ when all of us tighten our belts for the herculean exercise of cleaning up our houses from top to bottom. While everything else is in place we frequently overlook cleaning the upholstery (the covering for the padded portion of sofas, chairs and swing seats) as we are petrified that we may end up ruining the same in our zest for a spick-and-span look. Sparkling clean floors, walls, furniture but upholstery.

Gharpedia eases your stress by sharing some hacks to set your upholstery on a ‘clean’ path.

The Common Cleaning Code
The Common Cleaning Code

The furniture industry created a common cleaning code in 1969. The code is made up of 4 letters – W, S, W-S and X. Each letter stands for the recommended care and method of cleaning for the specific fabric. The code assigned to each type of upholstery is usually found on the furniture label, often placed under a seat cushion or on the frame that the cushion sits on. 

However, here is a brief summary of each code so that you can coordinate the code on your upholstered furniture cleaning with few suggestions that follow –

  1. Code W – Use water-based cleaning agents or foams only
  2. Code S – Use only mild, water-free dry-cleaning solvents
  3. Code W-S – Use water-based cleaning agents and foams; as well as mild, water-free dry-cleaning solvents
  4. Code X – Do not use foam or liquid agents on this fabric. Vacuum or brush lightly to remove soil

Cleaning Upholstery by Code

01. Cleaner for Upholstery (Code W and Code W-S)

Cleaner For Upholstery

In a big mixing bowl combine one part mild laundry dry detergent with four parts of water. Use a hand mixer or a whisk and beat the mixture to form as much foam as possible. Do one small manageable section at a time. Brush on the foam, and then wipe off the dirty foam with a spatula or an index card. The goal is to clean the fabric without drenching it. Next, blot it with paper towels.

Once you’ve cleaned every section of the entire piece of upholstered furniture, use a hairdryer to dry it thoroughly or let it air dry. Be sure no one uses it before it’s completely dry.

02. Removing Grease Stains (Code S and Code W-S)

Removing Grease Stain

Apply a layer of dry cornmeal to the stain and let it stay there overnight. Then, on the next day, vacuum the cornmeal and the stain.

03. Removing Musty Smells (All Codes)

Removing Musty Smell

If your furniture smells musty or has the lingering scent of cigarette smoke, just sprinkle baking soda or natural clay kitty litter on the upholstery. After a few hours vacuum the baking soda or litter and the smell should be gone.

04. Picking up Pet Hair (Code W and Code W-S)

Picking up Pet Hair

Use a damp sponge, microfiber or chamois cloth to wipe the furry upholstery clean. You can also use a strip of sticky tape to pick up the hair.

Here you can make your dog happy by avoiding 34 Houseplants that are Toxic to Dogs!

05. Removing Candle Wax

Removing Candle Wax

Put ice cubes in a plastic bag and place the bag on top of the wax. Keep it there until the wax is frozen. Then break off as much of the frozen wax as possible. If all of the wax comes off – great! If not, cut the pieces of paper from a brown grocery bag (make sure the pieces are print-free). Place a piece of brown paper on top of the remaining wax. Then press over it with a medium-hot iron. After the paper absorbs some of the wax, place a new, clean piece of brown paper on it. Keep repeating the process until the wax is gone. 

Even after the wax is gone, a wax stain may remain. If that’s the case and you’re brave enough to try something that may bleach out the stain, get three percent hydrogen peroxide. Dip a sponge in the peroxide and gently sponge it on the stain. After 15 minutes, blot the stain with a dry paper towel. In case the stain has got lighter, but still shines, repeat the process till it’s gone.

Gharpedia will also help you to clean your walls on Best 5 Wall Cleaning Tips for Restoring the Glory of Your Walls.

Cleaning Upholstery of Leather

Cleaning Upholstery of Leather

If there’s a wax build-up on your leather furniture, rub it with stale beer … or a solution made from one-fourth cup of distilled white vinegar combined with half a cup of water. Then wash the leather with saddle soap (available at tack stores where saddles and other equine supplies are sold, as well as some shoe repair stores) and water. Complete the job by buffing the upholstery with a soft cloth to bring out the leather’s shine.

Cleaning Upholstery of Vinyl

Cleaning Upholstery of Vinyl

Oil from the human body and hair can stiffen vinyl and cause it to crack. That being the case, you should clean vinyl arm and headrests fairly often, if they get lots of use. Wipe them with a sponge that has been moistened with distilled white vinegar or use a damp sponge sprinkled with baking soda. Follow that with a sponge dipped in a sudsy solution of water and a couple of drops of dish detergent. Then rinse and dry the vinyl.

Take away Points

  • Before cleaning any upholstery, test a small, inconspicuous portion of the fabric to be sure the colour stays the same and doesn’t run and that the fabric doesn’t shrink.
  • Do not remove the cover from a foam cushion, even if it has a zipper that seems to be there for the purpose of removing the cover and throwing it in the washing machine. That would probably be a big mistake. Even if the cover doesn’t shrink after being washed, it’s almost impossible to get it on again properly. We know…we’ve tried! Also, chances are that once the covers are washed, they will not match the rest of the upholstery that wasn’t washed.

So hope the above cues are sufficient to get you started on your ‘DIY Upholstery Cleaning Project’ this weekend? Enjoy yourself!

You can have a Solution for Your Living Room on 5 Tips For Cleaning & Preserving Your Living Room Furniture!

Author Bio

Huta Raval – An English Literature and Journalism Topper, Huta Raval has graduated from the L D Arts College, Ahmedabad. Post serving for 23 years in the NBFC and Public Library Sectors her desire for ‘writing the unwritten’ brought her to the creative field of content writing. Her clientele comprises of NGOs, Blogging Platforms, Newspapers, Academic Institutions, et al.

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