Just like the myth that you can get warts from toads or that brown-colored eggs are somehow healthier for you than white ones, some myths need to be debunked. The same is true when it comes to cleaning upholstery! Common upholstery problems include textile distortion, cellulose browning, and color bleeding or fading, and when it comes to these common issues there are also some common solutions that aren’t necessarily good for your fabric. But fear not! We’re here to help shed some light on the truth. Here are four common myths about cleaning upholstery, and tips on what to do instead.
Myth: Your safest bet is Dry Cleaning.
People often assume that using water-based cleaners are what cause the previously mentioned upholstery problems, so many people believe that dry cleaning is the method least likely to cause or further cause damage. While this can sometimes be the case, it’s not always true, especially because there’s no definitive proof that dry-cleaning solvents won’t cause discoloration. Your best bet is to test any product on the fabric before you begin the full clean to determine how the chemicals will affect it.
Myth: Always clean with the hottest water possible.
While it’s understandable to think that hot or warm water is the best way to clean fabric since it’s also associated with killing germs, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Heat acts as a binding agent and can permanently cause stains and smells to stick! Heat is also a major culprit of color-bleeding on synthetic fabrics. Cool or even cold water is your best bet with most fabrics.
Myth: The information on the tags is all you need.
Not true! Whether the tag refers to the fiber content or the cleaning regimen, both can be misleading. Most fiber content tags are actually referring to the filling of the furniture, not the outer fabric itself – the fabric you’ll actually be cleaning. Cleaning tags on the other hand are actually colorfastness tags and are there to help the someone determine which cleaning products are best for their piece. However, this does not mean you shouldn’t test the cleaner on the fabric first, just in case. These are guidelines, not hard and fast rules, so do your research ahead of time just to be safe.
Myth: Synthetics are simple and trouble-free.
Synthetic fabrics include or contain nylon, olefin, polyester, and acrylic. While these fabrics are typically easier to clean and rarely have discoloration issues, they’re not immune from being damaged. As mentioned earlier, heat can be very damaging to fabrics, including synthetic ones. For example, synthetic velvet – which is growing in popularity – is very susceptible to heat damage. Synthetics such as acrylic or nylon are often susceptible to color bleeding, even with dry-cleaning solvents. If your upholstery is synthetic, be cautious before cleaning them. Test the cleaning products ahead of time, and determine the best route to take.
As previously mentioned, it’s best to test the fabric and do your research. Never hesitate to call a professional and ask them questions. If you’re unaware of what kind of fabric your upholstery is, they can always run a fiber ID test. This will help determine the type of fabric and your best bet for cleaning your furniture and getting it back to its beautiful self again!