Textile producers and furniture manufacturers recommend having upholstered furniture cleaned every 12 to 18 months under routine conditions. The best time to clean upholstery is before visible dirt appears on the surface, so if your household includes pets and kids or you entertain on a regular basis, more frequent cleanings will help keep stains and signs of wear at bay.
It’s time to hire a professional when routine vacuuming no longer removes embedded odors or recent spot-cleaning forays have left telltale rings. Still mentally debating the pros and cons? Here are five savvy reasons to hire a pro:
Reason 1: Upholstery fabric is challenging to clean.
Upholstery fabric is made from a range of natural and manmade fibers, all of which have very specific cleaning requirements. Silk, for example, is extremely touchy. High alkaline cleaning agents damage the material, bleach can dissolve the fibers, water may cause stretching, and even low levels of salt (such as those found in perspiration) can cause discoloration and splitting.
Most (but not all) upholstery fabrics fall into one of eight different categories called cleaning codes. It’s important to adhere to these criteria because improper methods can cause browning, stretching, shrinking, fading, bleaching, yellowing and/or texture distortion. Over-wetting can cause visible harm, encourage mold and mildew, and cause metal zippers, buttons and studs to rust which can damage the surrounding fabric as well as the metal. Fabric cleaners can also mar wood or leather on pieces that feature a mix of materials.
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