Cleaning Cloth Upholstery

Cloth upholstery

The number one method to keep cloth furniture clean is prevention.  Avoid having dirty or potentially have leather couches in the family room and the nicer cloth furniture in the living room.  That being said here are a few things to do the keep and clean cloth upholstery.

Vacuum regularly using a dusting attachment (the attachment with brushes) this helps loosen dust and dirt making the cleaning and any future spills much easier.  Be sure the vacuum under the cushions as well (you will find loose change), but crumbs always work their way under the cushions.

Uphostery Cleaning
Uphostery Cleaning


If you have a stain which needs removing use a general purpose spot cleaner and clean by following the package instructions, it is always better to tamp or blot stains, rubbing damages fibres and sets stains.  Here is a recipe for a good home made spotter for cloth upholstery.

Mix ¼ cup of laundry soap with warm water if you use a mixer or a whisk you can mix to a froth and use the foam as your spotter.  Apply with a clean cloth or sponge, tamp or blot the stain as the stain breaks down into the foam remove with a kitchen scraper. Rinse by using cool water and blotting with a dry white towel.  Always test a small area on and unseen spot on the upholstery first to be sure there are no adverse affects.

If you have a fresh stain always blot with a clean white towel first to absorb as much of the spill before having to put out the cleaning supplies.  Often immediate blotting with remove much if not all of the spill.

Carpet Cleaning

New carpet can improve the appearance of any room, but how can carpet that is walked on every day continue looking new? To keep your carpet clean, it’s necessary to vacuum regularly with a strong, well-functioning and properly-filtered vacuum cleaner. Unfortunately, due to traffic, children, pets and normal wear, carpet fibers inevitably become soiled, and a dull appearance results. And no matter how much you vacuum, eventually you will need to call a professional carpet cleaner for a professional carpet cleaning.

Regular professional cleaning using a Certified Firm is as important to your carpet as having a trained mechanic perform routine tune-ups on your car. While your carpet may appear clean on the surface, periodic cleaning by a certified technician can remove what you can’t see and help your carpet retain its fresh, beautiful appearance.

Carpet Cleaning
Carpet Cleaning

The largest association which certifies and trains carpet cleaners is the www.iicrc.org unfortunately anyone can by carpet cleaning equipment, but all too often they have no training which can lead to poor carpet cleaning or outright damage to your carpet or upholstery.

Sharpie marker out of Ethan Allen upholstered couch…

Here is the answer to a  question I received recently…
Step one…no sharpies near the fancy couch!
Sharpie marks on the Ethan Allen ouch that’s not good, sharpie and markers are rarely cleaned using a water based cleaner like spot cleaners etc.  They are normally cleaned using some kind of solvent, however solvents are harsh and will remove all colors including the stain and or damage many fabrics.
The best solvent for this application (for cleaning fabrics etc) is likely a  dry cleaning solvent (which can be purchased at any janitorial supply store).  Even so you will want to test an inconspicuous spot first and always tamp or blot the stains with a white cleaning towel no scrubbing allowed. the idea is you want to transfer the stain onto the absorbent cleaning towel with the help of your cleaning agent.
However if the couch is expensive you are likely better off getting a professional carpet/upholstery cleaner.  Be sure that they are iicrc certified (www.iicrc.org)  they will have a multiple options and lots experience with spot cleaning all types of couches etc.

Ceiling Fans

General Information :
Ceiling fans tend to get quite dusty, especially along the leading edge of the blades. They can also accumulate smoke, soot and pollution residue.

Tools & Technique :
Dust the blades regularly. Clean them with mild detergent 2-3 times a year. Always unplug before cleaning and dry afterwards. This prevents re-soiling as quickly.

Special Tools :
There are some specially designed dusters available that are custom made for ceiling fans. These are oval shaped with brushes all around, plus they will have an extendable handle. You pass the fan blade through the opening, dusting all sides and edges.

Chandelier Cleaning

There are a wide variety of chandeliers out there from glass to plastic.
In most cases you are able to remove the individual pieces, clean by using a good terry cloth and water or window cleaner.
You can make your own mild window or glass cleaner by mixing 1 gallon of distilled water and a cup of rubbing alcohol and a tablespoon of dish soap. Mix in a gallon jug and pour into a clean spray bottle.

Polish dry the pieces with a terry towel as you clean to prevent residue Using distilled water will also reduce and residue). And work in small sections so you remember where all the pieces go.

In a Hurry
Use cotton gloves and just run your hands over the pieces for a quick cleaning (you can lightly spray your gloves with a cleaner.)
You can also use a feather duster (osterage feather dusters are best, or a can of compressed air for a quick dusting.

If your chandelier is glass then place a comforter or quilt under the chandelier as you are cleaning to catch any flying pieces and prevent or lessen the chance of breakage it also will act as a drop cloth when you are cleaning. Be sure you are working on a stable surface a ladder is best as you can move it as you move around the chandelier, in some cases where the chandelier is above stairs etc. proper scaffolds should be used.


General Information:
To clean chandeliers, there is an easy way and a not so easy way. The not so easy way may be necessary if there is a heavy accumulation of grime, or if the chandelier is located near a kitchen where grease might soil the surface. Both methods require you safely be able to access the fixture. Many newer chandeliers, and commercial units are installed on a winch that can raise or lower the unit with the turn of a switch.

Tools & Technique:
The easy way requires the power to the unit to be off. It is a good idea to turn off the breaker to be certain.
Using small plastic bags, cover each light fixture and secure with elastic bands.
Mix a spray of warm water and rubbing alcohol in a 10-1 ratio.
Place a heavy towel under the chandelier, and spray the mixture onto every crystal.
Allow the fixture to drip dry, there shouldn’t be any streaks and the crystals should sparkle like new.
Allow the whole unit to dry for 24 hours before restoring power.

The hard way is similar, only harder. Much harder.
Remove 10 or 12 crystals at a time, any more than this and you run the real risk of having a much different looking chandelier by the time you are finished.
Dip each crystal individually into a bucket of the same mixture. For greasy films, add a few drops of dish washing soap.
Rinse each crystal individually. Then lay out each on a terry towel.
Polish each crystal and return it to its place on the chandelier.
These crystals will break, and chip each other so dip and rinse only one at a time, and try using a clear bucket so you can see what you are doing.
This is very labor intensive, and once you start you are committed to finish because the dirty crystals look like hazy chunks of plastic next to the clean and polished ones.


General Information :
Regular chinaware that is used everyday is treated like any dishware.

Fine china, on the other hand, must be treated delicately. To protect the glaze and patterns never put fine china in the dishwasher. Always wash fine china first when the dish soap is most effective. This lessens the need for scrubbing and also can prevent chipping from contact with heavier items such a pots.

Compact Discs

General Information :
Regular chinaware that is used everyday is treated like any dishware.

Fine china, on the other hand, must be treated delicately. To protect the glaze and patterns never put fine china in the dishwasher. Always wash fine china first when the dish soap is most effective. This lessens the need for scrubbing and also can prevent chipping from contact with heavier items such a pots.


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