sofa cleaning 45
sofa cleaning 78

Deep clean couch service. Deep clean normally is when a couch has not been cleaned for some time. Its recommended that upholstery is cleaned once a year. This yearly clean cover all soil level from really dirty to just dusty.

As a professional upholstery cleaner we have a way to explain when you should clean your sofa. Its called “wear age” Take one sofa in two completely different homes. one home is a professional couple that works long hours and maybe spends just a few hours each night on their sofa. Next, we have family with pets where the sofa is is use all the time. The wear age over a few years will be completely different. the first will have a below average wear and but the second will have above average.

Why is wear age so important? well is set expectations. Dirt hides wear and can cause fabric to wear faster if its not removed. so when we clean the second example sofa you will see all that wear. and that sofa looks very old even though its not that old.

Some fine fabrics will wear much faster than many off the modern man made ones.

upholstery cleaning
Wear Age

The Strengths and Weaknesses Of Your Type Fabric When Cleaned.

problems when cleaning sofas

Deep Clean Couch Service – What Sofa Cleaning Method Is Best?

When you speak to a professional couch cleaner each one will have their favourite cleaning method. but which one is the best? Well, there are three groups and ten methods.

  1. Preventive
  2. Corrective
  3. Salvage

You can read all about all these sofa cleaning methods here.

Deep Clean Couch Service

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Or Find National Carpet Cleaners Association Member In Your Area

color run sofa cleaning

The Dye Bleed Test For Acid Based Dyes

How do you stop fabric from bleeding colour? Most dyes that are used in sofas fabric manufacture are acid type so alkaline cleaning products can loosen these dyes. that does not mean that these dyes will bleed or migrate. I would not advise cleaning yourself if the dyes fail the test. call in the professionals.

The test should be carried out on the back edge of a loose cushion or in a inconspicuous place.

You Will Need

  • Your Cleaning Product Mixed Up To Working Strength.
  • Trigger Sprayer
  • White Tissue
  • Bulldog or Crocodile Clip

How You Stop Fabric From Bleeding Colour? By Testing First

  1. Wet a small area in an inconspicuous place that you have a mix of all colours in your sofa. or if not possible test each colour in turn.
  2. Now use the white tissue fold into a pad. and clip to fabric. check if you have an immediate transfer
  3. if you don’t have any colour transfer immediately leave the clip on for at least 5 minutes.

Results For Colour Run Test On Your Sofa

No Transfer Of Colour: You Are Safe To Clean Your Sofa. Always Mix Cleaning Products To Right Dilutions

Light Transfer: Your Sofa Can Be Wet Cleaned But Only By A Professional

Heavy Transfer Of Dyed: Call A Professional And Explain Your Situation.

The Dye Bleed Test For Alkaline Based Dyes

Its unlikely you will be able to find a acid based product to carry out this test as these are only available to trade and not sold in shops. one way around this is ask for a test from a professional for both alkaline and acid. They might charge you but its worth it considering how much a new sofa would cost if things went wrong for you.

Many mistakes made by cleaners when wet cleaning sofas are due to their lack of knowledge of the chemistry associated with cleaning detergents. Alkaline cleaning solutions usually have a greater ability to remove greasy soil than acids solutions. However, they are also inclined to loosen certain types of dyes so not only is it necessary to test for dye bleed on every fabrics sofa before cleaning.

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Home » Sofa Upholstery Cleaning

identifying sofa material for cleaning
Home » Sofa Upholstery Cleaning

The main fabrics you will need to identify

Identification of textile fibers. Like its name suggests, a protein fiber is a fiber that is made of protein or animal based, wool and silk. i important to identify these type of fabrics as they will need special approach when cleaning.

a. Wool

wool is a protein fiber from sheep. it’s easily dyed so staining can be a problem. also colour can be removed with strong alkaline and oxidizing bleaches. wool also degrades with long and repeated exposure to high alkalinity, it will completely dissolve in a mix of 6% soloution of chlorine bleach. always leave wool carpets in a neutral state by rinsing with acid solution of a pH 5.5 to 6.5

b. Silk

Silk is mostly found in rugs. when encountered it should be treated with the same precautions as wool, only wit more delicacy. i.e avoid bleach and take care with alkaline solutions and aggressive tamping action. exercise extreme caution when using volatile dry solvents ( alcohol perchloroethylene, trichlorethylene) it can cause colour migration.

Useful Resources For Cleaning Wool

Waterproof Exstick pH Meter.

The Woolsafe Organisation. product certification, training in safe cleaning of wool.

The Wool Cleaners Manual By Eric Brown published by The Woolsafe Organisation. This book is really very special for everyone and especially cleaners. here in the UK, we have lots of wool and of very high quality that last for many years. taking care of wool can extent its lifer and save the high cost of replacement. Many public houses use wool carpets that need maintaining both for wear and appearance. Having a high knowledge in wool will give you the edge over other cleaners as it will come across when you talk to prospects about it.

Prochem for safe training and products for cleaning wool

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Identification Of Textile fibers How to test and identify your fabric

identifying sofa material for cleaning
Home » Sofa Upholstery Cleaning

Identifying Synthetic Man Made Fibres For Cleaning. What are man made synthetic fibres? Today we have many man made fabrics used in sofas. We will just focus on the the four main ones. The definition of Synthetic fibres is fibres formed as a result of chemical (petrochemical) synthesis.

  • Acrylic. Acrylic fibre woven into flat face fabrics give the appearance and feel of wool. This has advantage that they “give up” water based staining more readily. Pile distortion is not normally a problem when cleaning Acrylic VELVET.
  • Nylon. Nylon can be made stronger when it is mixed it with other fibres.
  • Polyester. Stains can be removed easier when polyester is mixed with other fibres like cotton.  This fabric is also much stronger and better wearing. 
  • Polypropylene. Solvents can damage polypropylene when its mixed with other fibres and bonded to a backing, so test before using any solvents.

So how do you identify these man made fibres? well you need to carry out a burn test. we have a great video for you to watch. you can normally take some fibres from unzipping a cushion and removing some from there.

Here is the burn test chart to indefiy your fibres from.

the most important sofa cleaning test

One man made fibre that’s not synthetic is “Cellulose” you need to watch out for this one as its is made into a velvet finish that looks the same a nylon velvet but weakens when cleaned with water. please read our page on cleaning velvet upholstery.

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Upholstery Cleaning Wool
cleaning wool upholstery its strengths and weaknesses

Here we explain about the strengths and weaknesses of cleaning wool upholstery. wool belongs in the natural fibre group of the three main categories of fibres used in upholstery.

  1. Natural Protein fibres.
  2. Natural Cellulosic fibres.
  3. Synthetic fibres.

Natural protein fibres are animal fibres like wool, hair, silk. You must take care when cleaning wool, because will be damaged.

  • Reaction To Bleaches: Household bleaches that contain sodium hyochlorite or chhorine will damage wool. Bleaches containing hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate can be used safely.
  • Shrinkage: Wool is very subject to shrinkage when wet cleaned particularly at very high temperature. wool becomes harsh at 212 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Effect Of Light: weakened by prolonged exposure to light.
  • Fastness Of Colour: Because of wools high affinity for dyes. Wool dye well and evenly this means that stain very easily.
  • Resistance To Mildew: Wool is not normally susceptible to mildew, when its left damp mildew will develop.
  • Reaction To Alkalis: quickly damaged by strong alkalis. so Its important to use low pH detergents when cleaning. plus neutralise with an acid rinsing solution.
  • Reaction To Acids: Although it is damaged by hot sulphuric acid. Wool is usually not affected by other acids even when heated.

Discover the best way for cleaning wool upholstery, and the 10 ways to cleaning all types sofa upholstery fibres.

Upholstery Cleaning Velvet
upholstery cleaning velvet

Rayon Viscose Strengths And Weaknesses

(info on Viscose Rayon Velvet is at the bottom of this article. If you have Acrylic VELVET Pile fabrics click link please. Check out how to Identify Fabrics man made, or natural, and The Hypersensitivity Test.)

How Rayon Viscose Is Made

The Rayon fibre is composed of pure cellulose. The substance of which the cell walls of such woody plants as trees and cotton are largely comprised. We are already familiar with cellulose in the form of products like paper. Rayon fibres are made from cellulose that has been reformed or regenerated. Consequently these fibres are identified as regenerated cellulosic fibres. Viscose rayon, for example, is made from cotton or wood pulp usually obtained from spruce, hemlock and pine trees. The Production of rayons as a regenerated cellulosic fibre originated the synthetic fibres. The one great advantage of the introduction of this fibre was the continuous yarns which were produced. There are many different trade names used in the connection with rayons but some of the most important facts to know about rayons are as follows.

Facts About Rayon Viscose

  • Strength: About half as strong as silk. It is also weaker than cotton and linen but stronger than wool. yet although rayon is weaker than most natural fibres. it produces fairly durable, economical and serviceable fabrics whose smoothness of surface favourably withstands the friction of wear.
  • Elasticity: Greater elasticity than cotton or linen but less than wool or silk. therefore, while viscose rayon fabrics have some inherent extensibility. undue strain might cause them to sag and even burst.
  • Absorbency: It is one of the most absorbent of all textiles. It is more absorbent than cotton or linen and is exceeded only by wool and silk in absorbency. One limitation in this regard, however, is that rayon loses up to 70% of its strength while its wet and can not take much strain when wet. Also rayon absorbs moisture from the air. There is a tendency to sag. but as humidity reduces, the fabric shortens. This presents a disadvantage for its utilisation in curtains.
  • Cleanliness And Washability: The smoothness of its fibres helps to produce hygienic fabrics that shed dirt. Some viscose rayon wash easily and depending on the finish that may be given to them they will not become yellow when washed of dry cleaned. When in doubt about rayon fabrics washing it is safer to dry clean because viscose dry cleans very well.
  • Shrinkage: Tends to shrink more than cotton fabrics of similar construction.
  • Effect Of Light: Generally good resistance to sunlight. The dyes will however fade.
  • Decorative Effects: It is often combined with other textiles fibres to produce a decorative effect. Viscose rayon can be given a moire finish. But it is not permanent and will come out with washing or dry cleaning.

A Word Of Warning.

A velvet fabric constructed with viscose rayon fibres is highly sensitive to water. In most severe distortion will take place. Immediately upon wetting. The distortion effect may take one or several forms. You should only dry clean this fabric finish. its possible to have your sofa cleaned on site with a machine that’s not unlike a wet clean extraction but has been build for solvent use. It will be expensive because the cleaner is using solvents (this could be £100 just for the solvents) and they have to invest in equipment that does not get used much. I do know cleaners that will hand clean dry clean only fabrics, but this is dependant on how badly soiled they are.

how to clean upholstery Discover the 10 ways to cleaning sofa upholstery.

silk sofa cleaning
cleaning silk fabric upholstery

Facts About Silk

Because its expensive you will not find it much in carpets or upholstery. Rugs and fine high priced sofas are the most common places below is a list of it strengths and weakness when cleaning it. My advice is avoid cleaning upholstery because of the effect of wear age! This is basically when you don’t see wear because its hidden by the dirt. Silk Rugs on the other hand can be cleaned if you exercise extreme caution.

Silk is a protein fibre from silkworms. It becomes weaker when wet also be damaged by sunlight, alkalinity, oxidizing, bleaches, and perspiration.

Silk Strengths And Weaknesses When Cleaned.

  • Strength.

Silk is the strongest natural fibre. The smoothness of silk yarns reduces the problem of wear by abrasion. Weave can affect the finish fabrics strength.

  • Elasticity.

While silk is an elastic fibre, its elasticity varies as may be expected of a natural fibre. What is amazing about the silk fibre is that it can be stretched from a seventh to a fifth of its original length before breaking. but problem is that when it returns to its original size gradually and loses a little of its elasticity.

  • Resilience.

Silk fabrics retain their shape and resits wrinkling well,

  • Heat Conductivity.

Like wool, Silk is a protein fibre, therefore it is also a non conductor of heat.

  • Absorption.

The good absorptive property of silk also contributes to its comfort in a warm atmosphere. The reason and major factor in Silks ability to be printed and dyed easily is because Silk can generally absorb about 11% of its weight in moisture, but the range varies from 10% to as much as 30%.

  • Cleanliness & Washability.

It is a hygienic material because its smooth surface does not attract dirt and when dirt does gather it gives up readily by washing or dry cleaning. note silk is weak when wet. but will water spot easily,

Taffeta for example may be given a finish that could be permanently stained by water.

Reaction To Bleaches.

Mild bleach of hydrogen peroxide, or sodium perborate may be used with normal caution.

  • Shrinkage.

Because of the straightness of the filament, smooth surface silk fabrics have only a normal shrinkage.

  • Effect Of Light.

Continuous exposure to light weakens silk faster than cotton or wool. Drapery and upholstery made with silk should be protected from direct exposure to light by using black out curtains.

  • Reaction To Acids.

Concentration mineral acids will dissolve silk faster than wool. Organic acids do not harm silk

  • Reaction To Perspiration.

Perspiration can stain silk fabrics affecting the colour.

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how to clean upholstery Discover the 10 ways to cleaning sofa upholstery.

More FAQs about cleaning silk headboards

linen sofa cleaning

A natural fibre. obtained from the stems of flax plants. Its strong, light weight, absorbent. Is expensive to buy. It can be brittle and wrinkles easily. Easily damaged by strong acids, mildew, and dyes rub off.

  • Dyeing Linen is seldom yarn dyed. The surface of the natural flax fibre is hard and non porous which makes it impenetrable to dyes. Cells of the fibre are held together with tissue that can be broken down only is a severe bleaching process. Highly coloured linens, therefore will not last over time and you will find most are pastel shades.
  • Strength Linen is especially durable, Being 2 or 3 times as strong as cotton. among the natural fibres its only second to silk.
  • Elasticity Linen has no significant elasticity. it is in fact the least elastic of the natural fibres.
  • Absorbency Linen absorbs moisture and dries more quickly.
  • Cleanliness And Washability Cleaning linen works really well.
  • Reaction To Bleaches Linen Does nor stain readily as cotton but it is also more difficult to bleach. Like cotton its weakened by sodium hypochlorite bleaches.
  • Shrinkage Linen has more resistance to shrinkage than cotton.
  • Effect Of Light Linen is more resistant to light than cotton. but it will gradually deteriorate from protracted exposure.
  • Fastness Of Colour On All Linen Fabrics It is Advisable to check for colour fastness.
  • Reaction To Alkalis Cleaning linen, Like cotton is highly resistant to alkalis.
  • Reaction To Acids Linen is damaged by hot diluted and cold concentrated acids. cold diluted acids will not harm linen.
  • Resistant to Perspiration Acid perspiration will deteriorate linen.

How To Cleaning Upholstery

cotton sofa cleaning

How To Cleaning Cotton Upholstery Good And Bad When Cleaning Cotton.

How To Cleaning Cotton Upholstery Good And Bad When Cleaning Cotton.

Upholstery cleaning cotton can be challenging. Staining is the main reason. High alkalinity will turn it brown.

  • Strength. Cotton fibre is relatively strong.
  • Absorbency. Cotton fibre composed primarily of cellulose which is very absorbent.
  • Cleanliness And Washability. Cotton attracts dirt particles.
  • Reaction To Bleaches. Household bleaches diluted can be safety used by the manufacturers recommendations.
  • Shrinkage. If cotton fabric is loosely woven will shrink. Pre shrinking finishing processes minimise shrinkage in cotton fabrics.
  • Effect Of Light. Cotton fibres oxidise, turning yellow. Losing strength from exposure to sunlight over a period of time.
  • Reaction To Alkalis. alkalis don not harm cotton.
  • Reaction To Acids. Acids like, oxalic and citric. (found in drinks) will stain.
  • Affinity For Dyes. Dyes has a good affinity for cotton.
  • Resistance To Perspiration. Acid perspiration which has a slightly deteriorating effect on cotton.

So upholstery cleaning cotton has its challenges and risks so make sure you do all your preclean tests which can be found on the main sofa cleaning how to page. If you have not cleaned your cotton upholstery for some time you should know that you might be shocked after the clean as dirt left for long periods of time will cause wear which will be very visible after the clean.

More Helpful Articles.

Main Sofa Cleaning Guide Page

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Ian Harper Carpet Cleaner

sofa srinkage test

How To Clean Sofas – The Shrinkage Test

This shrinkage test is usually carried out on cotton and button backs, pleats, and sofas that have been reupholstered. This is test is part of a wider survey we should carry out before any cleaning is done. As a professional upholstery cleaner you should have this survey recorded for insurance reasons. Any issues found with shrinkage or any of the other areas within the survey should be signed off from the customer.

As well as all the risks involved with cleaning upholstery you should always set expectations for the results. Dirt can hide a lot of wear and this can be very shocking to people. Some of the other areas that we would want to talk to customers about is. Colours loss due to sunlight, or abrasions. weak areas around the seats and arms of the sofa. stains, any existing damage, issues with the stuffers and fillers.

What You Will Need

  • Four Straight Pins
  • A Tape Measure
  • Spray Bottle With Working Strength Cleaning Solution

How To Test Your Sofa For Shrinkage Before Cleaning On the back edge of a cushion insert the pins in a 60mm square Now wet the area with your cleaning solution in the spray bottle After 5 minutes re measure the square

Results For Shrinkage Before Sofa Cleaning Anything over 5% is not acceptable as shrinkage will cause the cushions and valances to curl up and even seams might come apart.

  • 5% is a loss of 3mm
  • 10% is a loss of 6mm

Main Sofa Cleaning Guide Page

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Ian Harper Carpet Cleaner