Proper Maintenance & Cleaning of Upholstery Fabrics

Maintenance & cleaning is a routine, on-going care which reduces the build-up of soil on the fabric’s surface and treats spots and stains. Regularly and thoroughly vacuum with a proper upholstery methods to remove both airborne dust and pollutants. Cleaning regularly removes pile up dirt to maintain the upholstery fabric’s original appearance as much as possible.

Turn and rotate loose protection to equalize wear and soiling levels. Protective arm covers and head rests should be cleaned to minimize difference between the appearance of upholstery and that of other exposed areas. Upholstery Cleaning codes apply to the outer covering fabric only. It is most important that the fabric not be over wet to avoid contact with filling materials.


Upholstery Cleaning

W – Clean upholstery only with water-based shampoo or foam cleaner. Do not over wet. Do not use dry cleaning products to spot clean. Pile fabrics may require brushing to bring back appearance. Cushion covers should not be removed and laundered.

S – Clean upholstery only with upholstered dry cleaning solvent. Do not saturate. Do not use water. Pile fabric may require brushing to restore appearance. Cushion covers should not be removed and dry cleaned.

WS – Clean upholstery with mild detergent or shampoo, foam or dry cleaning solvent as desired. Do not saturate with liquid. Pile fabric may require brushing to restore appearance. Cushion covers should not be removed and dry cleaned or laundered.

X – Do not clean upholstery with either water or solvent based cleaner. Use vacuuming or light brushing only. Water based upholstery cleaning agents* are often classified as shampoo. They are usually commercially available as foams, concentrated liquid, and dry compounds. Cleaners can be either wet or dry, though some suggest a third category, damp. Steam cleaners equipment using water is classified into two broad types: Rotary or hand applied shampoo.

Water extraction (sometimes inaccurately referred to as a steam cleaning)

Two of the damp processes with water are: Dry foam, Rotary mop (bonnet). Dry systems use a granule or powder that incorporates a furniture cleaning solvent, or a non-water chemical solvent which allows soil to be removed by subsequent vacuuming.

Pre-test your upholstery cleaning method on an inconspicuous area of the fabric to determine if color bleeds, shrinks the fabric texture or character altered. If there is any doubt, seek the assistance of a professional cleaners service.

Important upholstery fabric and finish information

Note: Bleach can only be used with solution dyed fibres, as directed.

Topical FR Treatments

If a upholstery, drapery fabric has been topically flame retardant treated, it should be solvent cleaned (“S” cleaning code) only. The flame retardant processing involves, in most cases, water-based flame retardants and, therefore, water-based upholstery Maintenance & Cleaning systems will dissolve or diminish flame resistance.

Solution Dyed Fibers

Fabrics containing 100% solution dyed fibers (eg. Interplay – BASF Nylon) are very colorfast, as pigments were part of the polymer during synthetic fiber extrusion. Drapery fabrics can be cleaned with both (“WS”) water-based and solvent-based cleaning systems, including some strong cleaning agents as diluted bleach for stain removal. Conventional cleaning methods and chemicals should be effective for most soils and stains. However some stains require stronger chemicals to break down the stain. Carpet cleaning detergent followed by a diluted bleach solution* (1 part household bleach, 4 parts water) should be blotted onto the stain and allowed to react with the sofa or curtain stain for approximately 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, the bleach should be removed by hot water extraction.**

If cleaning with bleach is not totally effective in stain removal, a professional cleaning service should be consulted. Phenol type germicides should be avoided, as these chemicals will stain nylon fabrics, although proper subsequent rinsing with water will remove the germicide stains. Quaternary type germicides can be used but subsequently must be rinsed, as some stains can occur. Disinfectants, such as germicides should only be used according to the manufacturers’ recommendations, especially with regard to concentration levels.

Proper Maintenance & Cleaning

Special comments for wool and wool-blended upholstery:

100% wool and most wool-blend fabrics clean satisfactorily with any of the standard solvent cleaners agents. If the construction of the furniture can withstand it, wool upholstery can also be cleaned with water-based cleaners

Cotton and Rayon

100% cotton and high content (50% +) cotton or rayon fabrics should be cleaned only with (“S”) solvent systems, because of potential shrinkage as well as dye bleeding concerns.


Fabrics containing mohair (e.g., Mohair Plush) should be maintained by regular brushing with a firm clothes brush in the direction of the nap and/or vacuum with the upholstery nozzle. Rub carefully with a dry, white cloth in the direction of the nap, or allow upholstery to dry and vacuum with the upholstery nozzle. Always allow the furniture to dry completely (at least 24 hours) before using. Maintenance & Cleaning of mohair upholstery should involve a foam shampoo, sprayed and rubbed onto a water-dampened, squeezed-out sponge or a liquid shampoo worked into a foam with a sponge, using only the foam. Always treat the entire surface of the soiled furniture. After each treatment, use a soft brush working in the direction of the nap.

Note: Should the maintenance & cleaning as well as the spot removal procedures not remove a stain, then expert advice from a reputable, cleaners professional service should be obtained. Certain stains are very difficult to completely remove, and may be permanent.

Upholstery Cleaning & Stain Removal Tips

How to clean and remove stains from upholstery

New furniture can be very expensive. If you have a lounge suite, chair, loveseat, or some other type of upholstered furniture that is in good condition but just heaps of stains, these cleaning tips will save you money and time shopping for new furniture. Most often, people will clean an existing piece of furniture and be totally, amazed at how incredible it looks. Considering that people and sometimes pets sit on furniture, it is no wonder it gets dirty. Even simple aged furniture can benefit from a good cleaners.

The key with upholstered furniture is choosing the appropriate type of cleaning method. For example, if you have an antique chair that is hand embroidered then it would require a different cleaning technique than a sofa that was store bought. In this article, we will walk you through several upholstery cleaners tips to make the job easy and worthwhile.

Getting the Upholstery Stains Out

Maintaining a clean home is part of having a happy home where people enjoy living. With furniture, upholstery is just one aspect but an important one. Think about all the times people have eaten on the couch, dropping bits of food or drink that leave stains. Then you have the dirty feet, dirty clothing, and just everyday wear and tear that can leave stains in your upholstery and looks dirty. As you are about to discover, getting those stains out does not have to be painful.

The most important thing to remember when cleaning is to consider the fabric. If you are unsure, you can check with the manufacturer’s information. Then, before you start in cleaning a large stain, we recommend you work first on an inconspicuous area to ensure no discoloration or damage is done. With that done, the following are a few of the most common stains found on maintenance & cleaning upholstery and methods for removing them.

Butter Stains

The family sits around to watch TV and in comes the hot, buttered popcorn. Although everyone is careful, pieces can fall and then you have a grease stain. For butter, the best option is to choose a dry cleaning solvent, found at grocery and retail stores. Apply a little onto a clean, white cloth and blot at the stain, never rub. Next, mix one tablespoon of a mild, ph-balanced detergent with one cup of warm water. Again, blot at the stain. Next, using another towel, sponge the solvent and detergent off with clean, warm water and allow the spot to dry.

Oily Cheese Stains

Cheese is another food that is seen spilled on upholstery. Again, things like nachos are a favorite snack food but they leave stains. For cheese, mix one teaspoon of mild, ph-balanced detergent with one cup of warm water. With a clean, white towel, blot at the cheese stain. Then mix one tablespoon of regular ammonia with one-half cup of water, again blotting the stain. Finally, blot the stain with clean water to remove any detergent or ammonia and let the area dry.

Ink Stains

Coming home from work; you may sit down with a pen in your pocket and before you know it, a stain is left. Ballpoint pens, especially blue, are common stain makers but as you will discover with this upholstery maintenance & cleaning tip, they too come out. The key however, is to be patient and persistent, as ink stains can be stubborn. Just make sure you only blot. Rubbing could cause the ink stain worsen. You have a number of options such as:

  • Spray hairspray onto a clean, white towel and then dab at the stain, followed by blotting with a clean, dry towel
  • Treat a clean, white towel with isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Again, blot the ink stain, followed by a dry towel
  • Again, with a clean, white towel, apply nail polish remover or acetone. Blot the ink stain from the outside edges toward the center
  • Using a clean, white towel, use spirits of turpentine, blotting as with the other treatment options for stain.
  • Commercial products that work well on ink stains include Carbona or Afta. With both, you would use a clean, white towel, dabbing the affected area.

Coffee Stains

Sipping coffee on an upholstered chair or sofa is everyday occurrence. To remove a coffee stain, mix one teaspoon of a mild, ph-balanced detergent with one cup of warm water, then blot from the outside in. Follow this with blotting the stain with a mixture of one-third cup white vinegar with two-thirds cup water. When finished, use a clean, white towel to absorb any excess, allow the area to dry.

Maintenance & Cleaning Upholstery tips are important since dust settles onto fabric more than hard surfaces. Therefore, regular clean to keep your upholstery looking and smelling clean is essential. In fact, we recommend you clean your upholstery furniture once every two months. Typically, you can use your regular vacuum clean with the appropriate attachment to keep it clean. Just keeping the dust off will help your furniture last much longer. Then when necessary, use the above tips for removing stains. With this, you can enjoy your favorite sofa or chair without having to spend hard-earned money on new furniture.

Call now for your Upholstery Clean in Auckland on 09-489 5599