There once was a woman who had a great couch .
The fabric was tidy; the back didn’t slouch.
When kids came to play she shewed them away,
Friends with red wine –not allowed any time.
The couch was a beauty, no one argued that,
But Little Miss Perfect was just a big grouch!
Scared of being a grouch? Well don’t be.
Those once perfect seats in that prized automobile, can be used, enjoyed AND kept clean. Keeping upholstery clean is actually simple. Here are some very simple steps to remember:
- Step 1 is… Don’t Panic! (EASIEST step to remember!)
- Step 2 is even simpler: Read the directions. Upholstered items come in all kinds of fabrics with all kinds of contents. Each one has directions, specific to care and handling. Directions are often found inside a zippered seam or underneath, on a tag. Other upholstered items may come with owner’s manuals, such as a car. However, sometimes the tags, owner’s manuals or cleaning instructions are either absent, removed or missing. If this is the case, don’t worry. Just using common sense and following procedures will still ensure you get the job done right.
Use a vacuum with attachment and remove any remaining food, dirt or other debris that could spread or smear. This is especially important when cleaning car upholstery. Now let’s move on to the ACTUAL cleaning!
If instructions for an upholstered piece have been provided they will often include a W or an S. The W means Water. The S means Solvent. Some pieces may include both an S and a W. This means both may be used. If there is only a W-use water based cleaners – a great choice here is the old standby, soap and water! If there is only an S, water may harm the fabric and a solvent cleaner will be needed. If both are allowed, start with simple soap and water. If no label or instructions are available always begin with soap and water! If water isn’t effective, move on to a solvent cleaner.
- Step 3 is standard: Test a small area in a low visibility spot. If you’re cleaning car upholstery, try under the edge of a seat before you proceed with the cleaning.
Tip: Use a small amount of all cleaners. It takes very little soap, water or solvent to work on fabric. Start with a very small amount, only increasing as you may need it.
Another tip: If you are using soap and water get a measuring cup and add a half a cup of water with a spoonful of liquid detergent. Get your whisk out and whip the mixture until it is suds. Now apply the suds directly to your upholstery.
Now if this doesn’t remove a spot or clean an area, don’t panic. It’s relatively easy to wet vacuum a couch, car or other item. Wet vacuums are sold to consumers today and the directions are very simple. Don’t want to buy one- no problem. You may also rent wet vacuums or pay for services to come into your home. If you do find that it is necessary to wash an upholstered piece, wash the entire item, as slight color changes may be visible.
- Step 4 (finally) is a step backwards: Use upholstery protector from the start. Today’s fabric protectors are very different from the simple Scotchguard™ used years ago. Some fabric protectors cause liquid to literally bead up and run right off the fabric. Beginning with a good coat of protector will help prevent panic over little tumbles and spills.
So don’t be a grouch! Protect your upholstery upfront, gently clean your fabric and save your reputation!
Kellie Horne is a local writer here in Charlotte whose contributions have appeared in various publications. Her wide range topics include family, lifestyles and most recently she can be found writing for Liberty Buick GMC.