Friday, February 11, 2011

Taking Care of Your Upholstery

Upholstery dirt is much different than carpet or rug dirt. Upholstery dirt is primarily made up of people and pet issues. People shed dead skin cells, hair and hair dander along with sweat and body oils through exposed skin. Cosmetics, hair sprays and other beauty items also get on upholstery. Plus, children and parties increase the likelihood of spills. If there are animals, their hair, body oils and dander are probably getting on the furniture. Over time, all these tend to accumulate into the fabric. Regular vacuuming and prompt attention to spills is the best method of home maintenance (see earlier blog for good tips on upholstery spills).

If you have furniture you are planning on keeping, periodic professional cleaning is recommended. However, be careful on who you hire. Furniture designs and styles have different degrees of difficulty in cleaning based on the types of corners, edges and firmness of the upholstery. Also, upholstery uses many different types of fabrics ranging from natural materials like silk to synthetics like nylon as well as the new micro-fiber materials. Hiring a cleaner with skill and experience who knows what they are doing is important. For example, if silk is not cleaned properly, you have the potential for splotching or streaking to occur. Also, if not cleaned properly, white furniture, especially cottons and wools, can turn brown.
While cleaning is typically for appearance, if done properly, it also gets imbedded dirt out of the fabric. It is like your clothes, even though they may not look dirty, you still wash them after use to remove the dirt and soil.