How to Clean Your House's Upholstery

If your home is feeling dingy lately, but you can’t quite pinpoint why, it might be time for you to clean your upholstery. Freshly cleaned upholstery may take tired-looking furniture, carpets and window treatments from drab to dazzling in virtually no time. Even though you might be scared to wash your upholstery from fear of damaging it, a couple of important approaches — using mild cleaning solutions and spot-testing first, paying attention to care levels, washing with cold water — can help you restore the attractiveness of your upholstery without causing injury.

Furniture Goes From Filthy to Fabulous

Thoroughness is the key to cleaning a chair, sofa or another sort of upholstered furniture. Begin by removing all the cushions and throw pillows and then use a vacuum cleaner with a crevice attachment tool to suction out any debris. Vacuum into all the creases and corners, where dirt, mud and other dirty particles hide, such as both sides of the cushions. Removable covers can merely go in the wash, but first assess the care conditions on the tags: Some fabrics only tolerate water, while others tolerate a solvent, water or a mix of both. Clean stains using a soft white fabric. In a pinch, you can even use a gentle baby wipe, just remember to spot-test any cleaning solution first in a hidden region of the upholstery in case it turns out to be damaging.

“Like New” Carpets and Rugs

Rugs add warmth and comfort to your living space, however, foot traffic, pet hair and spills can make them get dirty very fast. Accumulated dirt adds to irreversible wear and tear on the rug. Vacuum big carpets and carpets often — on either side — if they are reversible. It is possible to simply shake or beat your area rugs to eliminate dust, grit and dirt. Some rugs go straight into the washing machine to get laundering, while others should be spot or dry cleaned. Check the rug’s care label.

Winning Window Treatments

Your window treatments gather dirt and dust fast, along with irritants and allergens, so regular cleaning is a must. Every week, vacuum curtains using the upholstery brush attachment. For lightweight curtains, such as sheers, a very simple shake is enough to dislodge any dirt particles trapped in the stuff. Throughout spring cleaning, most curtains can go directly into the wash. Just like the other types of upholstery, check the care label before doing so, and always spot-test your cleaning formula in an unseen area of the fabric. Cold water and a small quantity of detergent get most curtains clean, but heavy, lined drapes generally must go to the dry cleaners.

Bringing in the Big Guns

Sometimes a cleaning job is just too big or time-consuming for you. Many grocery shops rent carpet cleaning machines, which you may use on all kinds of upholstery, even the very delicate fibers. These machines can wash everything from mattresses into curtains, while eliminating unsightly stains and unpleasant scents. Or, just leave the job at the capable, skilled hands of an expert.

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