Hiring an upholstery cleaner; what you need to know.
When your couch, loveseat or sectional is looking dingy, you may consider having them professionally cleaned. Before hiring a professional to clean your upholstery, a few questions should be considered.
First consider what type of soil is on your furniture. Food, grease, dirt and pet stains are treated differently. Identifying the source of the spotting and staining will help your upholstery cleaner use the correct treatment for the best possible outcome.
Next identify the fabric your furniture is covered with. Fabrics include, polyester, polypropylene, chenille, tapestry fabric, cotton, micro-suede, micro-fiber, rayon, olefin, velvet, nylon and linen. There are many types of upholstery fabric and knowing which ones you own can mean the difference between success and disaster. Under your couch cushions there is usually a manufacturers tag with care instructions.
It is the sign of a good cleaning technician if they first inspect the tag instructions before applying any type of cleaning solution to the upholstery. The most important thing to check for is the fabric content. The tag should identify the type and percentage of each fabric used in the construction of the item. A cleaner should be especially concerned if the tag states the item is made with cotton or linen.
Haitian and Egyptian cotton are very fragile and can easily be destroyed by an untrained or un-attentive technician. Cotton and in particular white cotton should never be cleaned with a wet cleaning method. The moment, water or any water based cleaner touches that fabric, it will turn brown. Additionally small black specks will appear. Those specks are tiny bits of chopped up cotton seeds that are otherwise not visible. The upholstered item is basically ruined and the chance of restoring the item to its previous condition is virtually impossible.
Synthetic fabrics are more resilient and much easier and safer to clean than natural fiber like cotton, wool and silk. Micro-fiber and micro suede are very comfortable, but will tend to show water marks when wet cleaned. To avoid water marks your cleaning technician should buff the freshly cleaned fabric with a white towel and then brush the couch with a soft horse hair brush before it dries.
Water pressure is also a concern when cleaning upholstery. If the pressure is too high, the cushions will become soaked and take longer to dry. The idea is to clean the fabric on top of the cushions without water-logging the foam cushions. At Hydro Clean Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning in Colorado Springs, we use the Sapphire Scientific upholstery cleaning tool. It has a pressure adjustment valve right at the tool. Cheaper tools used by some cleaners have no pressure adjustment valve and changing the pressure requires that the technician run all the way out to the van to adjust the pressure. This is time consuming, inefficient and may be overlooked.
To keep drying time to a minimum, we also use air moving fans to speed the drying process. On a nice warm day, opening the windows and turning on ceiling fans is also very effective.
So when you start calling around for upholstery cleaning estimates, be prepared with information about the type of soil and the type of fabric. Ask about estimated drying time and what pressure or PSI the upholstery will be cleaned at. Also you should expect that a seven foot couch with cushions should take at least thirty minutes to clean properly. A sectional could take forty-five minutes to one hour. If the cleaning is done too quickly, it is because the technician is not taking the time to do it right.