How often are you running to the kitchen, looking for anything and everything that will get that wine stain out of your beautiful white sofa? Or the paw prints out of your favorite recliner? As you probably already know, not all fabric and cleaners are made the same way.
If you find yourself needing to know how to clean up a big mess, you'll have to start with your fabric's cleaning codes, and move on to really good cleaning tools. Scroll through for those cleaning codes, and our best tips for keeping your upholstery looking fresh for years to come!
Picking the Right Fabric For You
The decision we find our clients having to make the most frequently is whether they'll go with a slipcovered sofa or a fully upholstered sofa. Slipcovers mean that they can be removed and washed, and in that case, we suggest a natural linen fabric that drapes well over the frame, and can be washed pretty easily. Slipcovered sofas typically look a bit more transitional or traditional, so that's also another factor to keep in mind when you're deciding between the two options.
Fully upholstered sofas are the most safeguarded from stains when you go with a performance fabric, whether it's a solution dyed acrylic or something that's been treated so that it repels dirt and moisture. These fabrics shouldn't be washed as you would wash a slipcover because they tend to lose any type of coating they have that protects the fabric. But spot cleaning is very effective for these types of fabrics!
And now that you've chosen your fabric, you'll need to know which cleaning code applies!
The first thing to do is lift up the chair or sofa cushions and look for the deck tag, which will state what type of fabric you have on your piece. Look for the following codes to know how to treat stains:
"W" is the code for using a water-based cleaner, and these are typically the easiest fabrics to clean. This does not mean that a fabric is machine washable, however, so be careful! This code means that you are able to spot clean your fabric with a water-based shampoo or foam upholstery cleaner. You can use a brush to agitate the stain and activate the cleaner as well.
"S" is the code for using solvents for cleaning, or dry clean only. You can spot treat stains with a water-free solvent or dry-cleaning product, but be sure use these in a well ventilated area.
"WS" or "SW" is, unsurprisingly, the code for cleaning with both dry cleaning solvents or water-based cleaners. This is especially where a cleaning pre-test in an area you can't see would be appropriate.
"X" is the code for cleaning with only a vacuum or light brushing. No water or solvent cleaners can be used on these fabrics.
Fabric And Leather Care Tips
I would love dispel the rumor that you can find a fabric that will never pill. You know those little balls of fibers that form after wearing a sweater? It's the same thing with fabric seating - the friction between the fibers and your own clothing or skin will cause smaller fibers to come out of the weave. Using a fabric shaver for those instances should become a regular part of your cleaning routine - I find myself reach for my shaver at least once a week, especially with the dogs jumping on and off the sofas.
Regular vacuuming will keep your pieces much cleaner over time too, because you won't be getting a build up of hand oils, skin cells, or dust. Better to chip away at it a little bit at a time, rather than trying to tackle a sofa that has seen better days all at once.
Crypton fabric cleaners are our favorites - rug clean ups, dog messes, and the occasional spot stain on the sofas have all come out with this cleaner. Highly recommend! If you're tackling big time stains, the Bissell Little Green Cleaner is absolutely worth it to have for little kid or dog spills too. We just use water because soapy cleansers can leave a residue that never fully cleans out, and that has worked out well for us so far!
You may not think leather would dry out here in California, where we have a decent amount of moisture in the air, but it absolutely can happen. Chamberlain's Leather Milk is a fantastic resource to keep your leather pieces properly moisturized, and this can be used for furniture, as well as anything from purses to baseball mitts. There are formulas that actually clean the leather and some that just moisturize and leave a shiny or waxy finish behind, so be sure you are getting the right product for your desired result.
Is there anything that you use that has worked wonders for you? Share your tips in the comments!