13 September 2006

Caring for upholstered furniture

I have frequently been posed the question, “How can I best care for my new suite?”

A sensible question to pose, considering the value of the investment!

Because of the variations of fabrics and fibres used in their construction and the reticence of many manufacturers to sensibly label their upholstery products, it often takes a professional upholstery cleaner to properly identify the most appropriate cleaning methods and products but the following will help extend the useful life of your upholstery

*** Vacuum at least once a week to remove grit that can cause abrasion, and be sure to dust vacuum the top surfaces as often as possible. Professional cleaning is the best way to revitalise soiled soiled fabric, but your maintenance will make professional cleaning a less frequent event. Aggressive brushing can damage some fabrics but a soft-bristled vacuum cleaner dusting brush, or the small upholstery/curtain tool supplied with most vacuum cleaners should be OK.

*** Reverse the cushions each week after vacuuming. Rearrange the furniture occasionally can help to even out wear of the cushions, as there are often favoured locations within a room for such activities as watching television, reading etc. This will similarly effect carpet wear.

Cushions and pillows filled with down or similar cushioning material should be hand-fluffed and reversed regularly to retain their original softness and resiliency.

*** Avoid over-exposure to strong daylight - Ultra-violet light can bleach at an alarming rate and can also cause degeneration of some fibres. Though atmospheric polution can cause the same damage, sunlight is more easily avoided.

*** Pets and small children can damage and accelerate wear, as can metal zips and studs on clothing. 'Dry crocking' is the professionals name for the transfer of dyes between fabrics. New denim can transfer a lot of indigo dye and on light-coloured fabrics the result can be hard to rectify.

D.I.Y Fabric Cleaning

*** I hesitate to advise on cleaning products for home use other than to say that like may other cleaning professionals I have seen much harm done by 'supermarket wonder cleaners'. Generally the best advice is to blot spills as soon as possible and apply a clean white towel or similar, folded into a pad and placed in close contact with the spot to draw the spillage from the fabric and padding. other than that I recommend seeking the advice of a trusted professional. I often give free advice over the telephone - and win a new friend in the process!

*** Fabric protectors will help hold liquid spills on the surface for a while, giving you more time to react, but do not think of them as armour-plating - they are too often over-sold, but nevertheless worthwhile.

Finally, care of your furniture should be an on-going process - not just something tha happens for the first month or so. And do not wait till a clean becomes a full restoration process before calling in a professional - not unless you are the sort of person who waits for bed-linen to look visibly dirty before it is changed!"

(No, of course no-one does............. but you should see some of the upholstery I clean!)

Safe but effective cleaning products can be found at World of Clean (UK)