Quality Assurance Carpet Care
I receive several phone calls each month by customers inquiring about what is actually involved with cleaning upholstery fabrics and which types of fabrics should be steam cleaned? First, I would like to say that with the exception of antique furniture, leather, and suede, most fabrics such as micro-fiber, weaves, chenille, cotton, silks, or multi-fiber blends (polyester, rayon & cotton combinations) made today can be cleaned using the “steam cleaning” method.
This method involves 5 steps:
Inspecting Furniture- I usually cover this step with the customer when giving an estimate of the cost of cleaning the piece of furniture. I look for any fabric defects, damages, cuts, tears, or other problems that may have previously occurred. These areas are then brought to the customer’s attention before the cleaning begins, so they can be aware that repairs are needed. Some tears and defects, if left unrepaired, can lead to bigger problems later on that will require more money to fix. By the way, I do not do furniture repairs. It is best to contact the manufacturer for a list of places that repair furniture.
Pre Spray- The next step in cleaning furniture fabrics is to thoroughly spray down the soiled areas with a pre spray made especially for upholstery fabrics. I use high quality chemicals that have a blend
of detergents, degreasing agents, deodorizer, and other soil loosening agents to get the dirt loosened up on the fabric. I use a hand pump garden type sprayer for this process to thoroughly coat the fabric with the pre spray.
Steam Cleaning- Steam cleaning is actually not an accurate way of describing this cleaning process, but this phrase has stuck for decades. Actually, this cleaning process uses a high powered truck mount engine with a solution pump attached to it, which pumps a very hot solution mix (water, detergents, and deodorant) through the solution line, which is eventually controlled by a upholstery wand. The hot solution is sprayed onto the furniture and then quickly pulled up through the vacuum tubing back to the truck mount waist water extraction tank. Because the hot fluid is sprayed onto the fabric, sometimes steam is caused as a result, hence the phrase “steam cleaning.” Steam is just a visual effect of this process and has nothing to do with the cleaning itself. The second part of this cleaning process is using a high powered blower, which is also attached to the truck mount engine and it pulls a very strong vacuum through the wide blue vacuum tubing and the upholstery wand itself.
(as seen in the photo below)
Upholstery Wand. The solution line is the narrow tubing.
So, in effect, what is happening is that the hot solution mix is sprayed down on the fabric and pulled up along with the pre spray and the loosened up dirt & oils that were residing on the fabric. The suction is
strong enough to leave the fabric evenly moist, but not wet. Thus, the fabric should dry in a matter of hours, esp. if there is central A/C or heat on during the drying process. This process is effective with
removing most odor causing problems from the fabric too, leaving it with a clean, fresh fragrance. When I clean furniture, I do the front, back, and sides of the furniture as well as all sides of the cushions,
leaving furniture thoroughly cleaned.
Fabric Protection- Fabric protection should always be strongly considered after a piece of furniture has been professionally cleaned. It is really worth the investment. The last thing you need is for someone to drop something with food coloring onto the furniture you just had cleaned and leave a big fat stain on the upholstery. Fabric protection will prevent the food dyes from blending into the fabrics with what is called Dye Guard or dye blocking. This fabric protection, which is sometimes known by a brand name “Scotch Guard,” basically coats your furniture fabric with a polymer substance that causes spills to beed up on the surface of the fabric instead of absorbing into it. This also helps protect upholstery fabrics against body oils and other substances. Thus, you can you can get a paper towel and soak the spill up as soon as possible with minimum damage to the fabric. Fabric protection will help your upholstery get cleaner the next time it is professionally cleaned because the dirt will not bond to the fibers with time as without the protection.
Grooming- This is done using a horse hair brush to groom fabrics such as micro fiber after the cleaning has been completed. It is also used to evenly brush the protection into the fabric, thus making it more effective. Then the cushions, if any are stacked in an optimal way to enhance the drying process.
After Love Seat Was Cleaned Before Couch Was Cleaned
After Couch was Cleaned
This client was amazed & ecstatic that her furniture looked like new again.