Upholstery Cleaning 101

The upholstery cleaning process is very similar to the carpet cleaning process, in that I use the “Spray, Scrub, and Extract” method. Regardless of what one is cleaning, the procedure can be reduced to 3 steps:

  1. Spray the cleaning solution onto the fabric (the solution used will vary, depending on things like fabric type, and type/degree of soiling).
  2. Scrub the fabric in order to help break up whatever soiling may be present and get it suspended in the cleaning solution.
  3. Extract the cleaning solution and soiling from the fabric with one of several tools designed specifically for upholstery cleaning. The extraction process uses clean water to rinse everything out of the fabric, much like washing your hair.

Before this part of the cleaning ever occurs, though, I test the fabric to identify what type of fiber it is (application and type of cleaning solution will vary, depending on what fabric is in front of me), as well as a test for color migration (aka “bleeding”) if the fabric has some type of pattern or multiple colors to it. Once I’ve gathered as much information as possible, I can then provide a reliable cost estimate, and determine exactly how the cleaning is going to proceed.

Fine Fabrics

Upholstery can be made from one of 6 different fiber types (I’ve even encountered woven fabrics that one fiber type going up and down, and another fiber type going side to side). Most of them are relatively easy to clean, but there are several that have quirks and peculiarities inherent to the process that can make cleaning quite problematic if one is not aware of them.