Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Tips & Tricks for Cleaning Upholstered Furniture

When you care as much about your home's appearance as us Divas do, then it's easy to overreact to a spill or splatter on the upholstery. Relax, because even if you don't have any cleaning products in the house there are loads of things in your kitchen that can help you battle those stains, spills and odors. Let's find the best way...

Step 1: What Is Your Couch Made Of?
Before tackling any upholstered furniture cleaning job yourself, you need to establish what material your upholstery consists of, to prevent costly mistakes.

  • If you have removable covers that aren't dry-clean only, put them in the washing machine taking note of the care label. You should replace the covers while they are very slightly damp, for a better fit.
  • With fixed covers you need to act quickly, deal with the cleaning without getting the upholstery too wet, and dry the upholstery as quickly as possible. The use of a mild solution of dishwashing liquid, or laundry detergent,is usually enough to give a good general clean. On upholstery with a nap, give it a vacuum with the small brush attachment once dry, to restore the nap in the right direction.
  • To clean leather upholstery use a tightly rung out cloth soaked in soapy water to wipe down the leather. Rinse with clean cold water and wipe with a dry cloth. Take care not to soak the leather, and use soap flakes rather than a regular detergent.

Natural Products Work Best

Step 2: Deal With Furniture Stains Quickly
  1. The first tip, when cleaning upholstered furniture yourself, is to act quickly, before the stain has a chance to dry.
  2. Get rid of as much of the offending substance as you can before starting any cleaning. If it's a liquid then blot up as much of it as you can using kitchen roll or a clean cloth. If it's a thicker, sauce-like substance, then scoop up what you can using a spoon, working from the outside in, to prevent any spreading of the stain.
  3. Work on a small area at a time, and try not to soak it. Always blot and never rub at the stain. Rubbing causes the stain to spread, and can cause damage to the fabric. When the stain is dealt with, dry it as quickly as possible.
  4. Have some of the following items in your cupboard, that can be called on to deal with most furniture stains:
  • Club soda/ soda water
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Nail polish remover
  • Hairspray
Step 3: What's Your Stain Made Of?
These methods presume that you have:

1) Followed the steps above, and have blotted up what you can of the stain;
2) Tested your chosen stain remover on an inconspicuous area of fabric first.
  • Tomato based - try a dishwashing liquid/water solution first, blotting between each application. If this doesn't work then allow to dry, and then use white vinegar.
  • Ink - On fabric upholstery spray on hairspray, or use nail polish remover (sparingly) to blot away the ink. On leather upholstery, use a lemon juice and cream of tartar mix.
  • Coffee - Use a detergent/water mix and blot again, now use white vinegar (1/3 cup to 2/3 cup water) and blot again. Rinse and dry.
  • Red wine - Pour club soda over the area. The carbonated water should bring more of the stain to the surface so now blot again. Deal with any further stain by using a mild detergent, blot and dry.

Quick Tips
If the above tricks for cleaning upholstered furniture haven't covered all your problems, then read on for some quick tips.
  • To deodorize your furniture, neutralize unpleasant odors with the use of a Bicarbonate of Soda/Baking Soda solution. This works particularly well when toilet training pets or toddlers, or for any "sicky" based accidents.
  • Dry upholstery quickly by opening windows, or using a hairdryer if it's a wet day outside.
  • Vacuum your upholstery at least once a month. Dust particles have an abrasive effect if left to settle, causing damage to the upholstery.
  • Take a tip from the professionals and consider purchasing a steam cleaner. Home versions can vary in price but if you find yourself cleaning upholstery on a regular basis then it may prove a worthwhile investment. Steam cleaners work particularly well as a general cleaner and on transference of fabric dye from denim jeans for example.
Now whatever furniture stain, or nasty odor problem presents itself, you can deal with it ably, using these easy cleaning tips and tricks.
First image courtesy of: marcosvazquez61/photobucket
Final image courtesy of: theworldsbestcleaners/photobucket

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