Upholstery can be a good addition to a home or vehicle. It can add aesthetic value and mainly, can provide comfort. However, in order to maintain the value that they offer, they have to be maintained. That is, regular or immediate cleaning should be done during instances when staining happens.
Fortunately, upholstery does not suffer the same soiling problems that rugs and carpets suffer. Since you don’t walk or step on upholstery, they are saved from the usual heavy soiling, water/beverage spills or flooding disasters. But the reason that they do no get dirty often is the same reason why cleaning is neglected and most homeowners do not really know how to properly clean upholstery.
While upholstery does not suffer from soiling through foot traffic, they do get dirty from the dirt or other transfer from clothes you wear or oil from your skin. But since compared to carpet soiling, these types of dirt are unnoticeable until there is already a buildup. In which at this time, the buildup can be dangerous for both the upholstery and to your health. Mold or bacteria may form which can pose as a threat to health. And on part of the upholstery, permanent staining or fabric discoloration can happen.
And adding to these effects on upholstery are the effects that improper cleaning may result to. Many may not know it, but improper cleaning can make a mess or stain worsen. And when the effects settle, they can get permanent and as a result, ruin your upholstery.
Effects of Improper Upholstery Cleaning
Upholstery can be made from different materials and each requires a different cleaning method. This fact plus not knowing the dangers of improper upholstery cleaning is perhaps the reason why simple stains can worsen, ruin upholstery or be the reason why upholstered furniture need to be replaced.
Not cleaning upholstery regularly and using improper cleaning methods can result to a few dangers or harmful effects. Here are a few of them:
* Shrinkage - A majority of cleaning procedures include high levels of temperature and liquid. And while these can be effective in cleaning bacteria and removing stains, this does not work in all types of material.
Upholstery can be made from leather, cotton or nylon, and each has its own temperature tolerance. Nylon which is a synthetic fiber for instance, has a low tolerance for high temperature. So what happens when it is exposed to high temperature due to improper cleaning procedures, it tends to shrink.
* Discoloration - Stain or grime that has been present on upholstery for a long period can already cause discoloration. And contributing to more discoloration is improper cleaning methods. Some fabrics are sensitive to cleaning agents that when exposed to them, they tend to fade its color. In addition, brushing or rubbing can also cause discoloration and tear of fibers.
* Dry and Cracked Leather Surface - Leather is one of the most common material used for upholstery and compared to fabric, they require the same amount of regular cleaning and maintenance. However, due to the fact that dirt and oil can be hard to trace on leather, they tend to be neglected.
Oil and dirt can cause a lot of damage alone if not removed from leather regularly and in the proper way. They can remove the protective layer of leather and in the end cause it to be dry. Or if cleaned the incorrect way, its moisture level can become unbalanced and it becomes dry. Eventually, the leather surface will become flaky, cracked or torn.
* Exposure to Harmful Cleaning Agent Fumes - Perhaps the most important effect of using improper cleaning methods is its effect on you and your family’s health.
One mistake that a homeowner may unintentionally do is to use too much of cleaning agents or not be able to rinse them well. Usually, there is a prescribed quantity of solutions just like between bleach and water. And what happens when cleaning agents are used incorrectly or more than necessary is that harmful fumes can results and can harm your family’s health.
Dealing with Upholstery Stains and Cleaning Issues
There is only one thing that can prevent upholstery from the dangers of improper cleaning methods and this is by knowing more about upholstery cleaning.
Already knowing about the possible effects that improper cleaning methods can do to your upholstery is a good start. But, you should also know what you can do to prevent dirt and grime from permanently settling on your upholstery in the first place. Know what proper methods you can apply to cleanup any mess. And more importantly, know who you can turn to if the situation goes beyond your abilities. In relation to this, here are a few helpful tips:
* Preventive Measures - The first preventive measure you can ever do is to act immediately so you can remove stain before it even begins to settle. When you accidentally spill on your sofa, blot it immediately with a clean towel; never rub as it can cause fiber tear or increase absorption. Initial stain is not the only thing that can result in this type of situation. Wet upholstery especially those made from fabric can easily catch stain or color from other surfaces like your clothing or skin when you sit on them. Thus, it is important to dry wet upholstery surfaces as well. Mold can also start to settle which can also cause damage to your upholstery.
Sometimes, the one thing that can save your upholstery from ruin is the manufacturer’s label. Manufacturers actually list down do’s and don’ts related to upholstery cleaning or washing just like on clothing. So before you do any emergency cleaning on your upholstery, it will be wise to read the manufacturer’s label and follow the suggestions.
* Know More about Your Upholstery Material - Knowing more about your upholstery material can also avoid them from getting any stains or suffering from the effects of improper cleaning methods. For instance, if you know that your upholstery is made from nylon, you can do a quick search on how nylon should be cleaned. Usually, you will be warned about exposing your upholstery to high temperature.
As for other fabrics or materials, you may find that there are special cleaning agents specifically manufactured for them. Leather for instance, has a special conditioner or moisturizer that can help prevent stain from settling on it. Other than leather, other types of fabrics have also protectors which can prevent them from absorbing liquid quickly. Thus, preventing stain from the liquid color.
Knowing When to Call a Professional and Who to call
One other thing you can do to avoid stains from permanently settling on your upholstery and prevent the dangers of improper upholstery cleaning is to hire a professional. The questions whether or not and when you should call a professional is a matter of personal judgment.
Cost will be your initial consideration since hiring a professional basically involves a cash outlay. If finance is an issue, then what you can do is to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a professional. You should consider questions such as if you can do the same job as them, if the cost of your upholstery will be enough to make you decide on hiring a professional and whether you can contact a professional on time.
The next thing you should consider is to where you can contact professional upholstery cleaners and who you should contact. One thing you can do is to ask family or friends if they know of one. In addition, you may also want to ask if they do a good job, should you trust them with your upholstery and how much their services usually cost. This information can help you decide and prepare.
One other method you can employ in finding upholstery professional is the internet. There are already plenty of cleaning sites and compared to using the phonebook or asking around, this can be more convenient. To do this, you can either check search engines or search through cleaning site directories.
But whatever method you employ in searching for upholstery professional, you will have to discern who you should contact. So it helps if you keep tabs of a few companies so you can compare and choose the best between them. The first factor you should consider is the company’s credibility. That is, check if they have a license and how they fared in there previous projects. Secondly, check if they operate in your area so they can be at your doorstep as soon as possible. Lastly, compare companies in terms of contract cost.
Indeed, upholstered furniture can provide comfort and aesthetic value to a home or automobile. And knowing that there are dangers to improper upholstery cleaning is a good way of maintaining your upholstery’s aesthetic value. But in addition to this, you should also know what you can do to avoid improper upholstery cleaning and whether or not a household accident involving your upholstered furniture is a job for a professional.