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Furniture > Do It Yourself Upholstery Cleaning 101.

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By: Bobby Walker
Cleaning your own upholstery can be very rewarding if done properly. I will give you the knowledge and steps to take for good results on any type of fabric that you are cleaning.

If you have cotton upholstery or a cotton blend, I would strongly suggest to let a professional clean it. Cotton fabric is not easy to clean, especially for a beginner.

Here are some supplies you will need to clean your upholstery. Most of these supplies can be purchased at Home Depot, but some you will have to buy at your local "Carpet Supply Store."

1. Wet/Dry Vacuum
2. (Very Soft) Nylon Bristle Hand Brush
3. Foaming Upholstery Shampoo
4. Haitian Cotton Shampoo (for cotton only)
5. Vinegar & Water Mix (50/50)
6. Terry Cloth Towels (white)

If you are not sure if your fabric is cotton, cut a small sample of the fabric from the bottom of the skirting and light it with a match or cigarette lighter. Once the fabric is on fire, immediately put it out with your fingers. If you notice some black soot on your fingers, you have some cotton in the fabric. If there is no soot, then it is polyester or other synthetic fibers.

For cotton, read the directions on the back of the cotton shampoo for mixing instructions. You want to put the shampoo mix in a squirt bottle and set the nozzle to a fine mist.

You will also want to do a small test area with your solution to see if the fabric is going to bleed or brown out. Spray the fabric, take your nylon brush and stroke the fabric in the same direction as the weave. Do not go against the weave, this will possibly undo the weave and make the fabric look fuzzy. Then vacuum the section you sprayed. Take your vinegar/water solution and spray the same area and vacuum again.

If you see that the fabric is not bleeding or browning after an hour or so, then you will probably be ok and can continue with your cleaning. Make sure to vacuum the fabric several times to remove as much moisture as possible. If you can clean the furniture outside in the sun, that would be best case scenario.

Use these steps to clean: Spray small area, scrub with brush, extract with vacuum, spray with vinegar and extract with vacuum. Repeat these steps until you are completely finished with the furniture.

If you are cleaning polyester or other synthetic fabrics, you will follow the same cleaning procedure, only you will use the foaming shampoo instead of the Haitian Cotton detergent.

About the author:
Bobby Walker
13 Year Carpet Cleaning Veteran
Owner/Carpet Cleaning of Dallas

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