Sofas are made from a variety of materials. These range from cotton, leather to upholstery. Even with all the best precautions however, sofas are bound to get dirty. Cleaning can prove to be a very daunting task and some attempts at cleaning end up harming them. Choosing the right cleaning products as well as considering the materials in a sofa is therefore of utmost importance. It is advisable to check the cleaning codes on the label of a sofa to determine the safe cleaning methods. Spot testing first is also important in order to determine if the cleaning products cause discoloration, shrinkage etc. With all these things in mind how then does one go about cleaning a fabric sofa?
The first step is to identify the material used. Identifying the material as mentioned above helps you in identifying the cleaning methods that should be used. You should go ahead and look for a tag under the cushions containing a cleaning code. The codes are represented by a letter. Not all sofas however have this code.
S or p- Either of these letters indicate that the sofa’s fabric needs to be dry-cleaned using a solvent. Cleaning the sofas with water can end up causing discoloration, water stains and shrinkage. You can opt for a professional to handle dry cleaning. He/she buffs on a solvent then vacuums the fabric off using quality brands. Another option for the S codes is rubbing alcohol. Fill a spray bottle with alcohol then mist the area to be cleaned until it gets saturated. With a plain sponge, rub the same area thoroughly. This method lifts most dirt types from the fabric.
W- These types of sofas are cleaned safely with water or water-based cleaners. This means that you can also steam clean them. While steam cleaning, you should use very little amounts of steam cleaning products as they can prove very hard to draw out and leave a certain film on the fabric’s surface. Not thoroughly removing cleaning products from a fabric sofa might end up attracting dirt and make the sofa get dirtier than before. The steam used is enough to break up as well as remove dirt from a fabric on its own. Cleaning agents are therefore needed in small capacities.
You should go over the steamed area with dry settings to remove moisture from the sofa. Once this has been done, you should stand all cushions upright to allow circulation of air around them which also causes drying. The presence of dirt sports and tough stains can be handled through the use of water- based cleaners. You should be however aware that some are made up of harsh chemicals that might end up damaging the fabric. You should therefore spot test first.
S/W- This marking on a sofa means that it can be cleaned with water-based cleaners, upholstery foam or solvents. Another preferred option is the use of solvents and dry foam. However, the fact that water can be used does not mean that steaming can also occur. It is not recommended.
X- An x marking on fabric sofas means that they cannot be cleaned using water-based cleaners, solvents or ant types of foam. They can only therefore be dry cleaned. Cushions can be beaten outside for dust removal.
After figuring out the cleaning code of your sofas, it is now time to launch into a full clean up procedure. Here are six ways to clean your sofa:
1. Spot testing - before cleaning your fabric sofa, you are advised to do a spot test first. You need to go ahead and pick any area that is not in plain sight e.g. the side or back or towards the bottom. In accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, apply a little of the product then allow it to dry. Next, check to see if there is any color loss or a change in the fabric’s texture. The area should be further inspected in full light. In case of any noticeable change, you should be able to decide if the product is worth using or not.
2. Stains -Stains have repeatedly proven to be among the difficult aspects of proper sofa cleaning. In the event of any stains, the fabric should be pre-soaked using a mild cleaner in accordance with the product directions. Immediately the stain loosens up, try blotting out. Some substances that work well with stains include hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar. Hydrogen peroxide can however lighten a sofa’s color while vinegar corrodes organic materials. You should therefore do a spot test first.
You can also decide to go for a scrub brush that is rather soft. Work baking soda to the stain and let it sit for around ten minutes and then vacuum it out.
3. Machine washing - Some fabric covers are machine cleanable. This information is well indicated on a sofa’s tag. In the event of this, the covers should be removed, tossed in the wash with a cleaner and the machine ran with cold water.
4. Professional cleaning -There are professional cleaning services for your sofas out there. These may be expensive but are definitely worth any extra money you give. This is especially important with expensive sofas. Before hiring cleaners, you should call or pay them a visit in order to make an enquiry on the specified job. If you already know the cleaning code, provide it to the cleaners and enquire if they can comfortably clean the sofa. If it is vital to you that after the cleaning procedure, the sofa retains its appearance then you should alert the cleaner. Also, ask for a spot test to be performed beforehand.
5. Steam cleaning - As seen above, steaming is also a cleaning procedure. In case you are cleaning the sofa at home, use a steam cleaner handling approximately 300psi. You can also decide to hire a steam cleaner then steam clean your fabric sofa. This makes the fabric look absolutely new.
6. Overall clean - With this, you use a microfiber cloth to wipe your sofa clean with a recommended solution. This could be water or water based solutions. You should use a very small amount so as not to saturate the material.
For the best results, use methods and cleaning products entirely suitable for your fabric.