UPHOLSTERY CLEANING - COMMON QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
This is the second in a 2 part blog series dealing with curtain cleaning and upholstery cleaning. With the help of information provide by Prochem Europe I have attempted to highlight some of the upholstery and curtain cleaning problems you are likely to come across. Click Here to read Part 1
Q. I’ve cleaned a sofa in the usual way and now there are pink patches in various places. What can I do?
A. The dyes in the fabric have reacted to the cleaning chemicals. Were these tested before use?
It’s worth trying an acidic rinse FIBRE & FABRIC RINSE if an alkaline product was used, or extract with an alkaline detergent if Fibre & Fabric Rinse was used. This remedy however is best done as soon as the colour change appears.
Q. Some of the colours have run on a patterned fabric. Can I bleach them out?
A. No, dye bleed is irreversible and permanent. Every colour should be tested with the products
you are going to use for the cleaning process. Plain colours should also be tested for colour
loss. Consider going on a Prochem Upholstery Course.
Q. I have a sofa to clean which has particularly greasy arms and headrests. What do you
A. If FABRIC RESTORER is not effective enough then add CITRA-BOOST to your usual pre-spray. This is a solvent additive to help remove grease. It can also be added to the extraction detergent.
HEAVILY SOILED UPHOLSTERY
Q. How do I clean a sofa which is very soiled and not get it too wet?
A. Subject to the dye bleed test, use FABRIC RESTORER as a pre-spray and extract out with
FAB CLEAN. CITRA-BOOST can be used as an additive for greasiness. It is better to give the upholstery two light cleans than to over-wet. Carry out stain removal after cleaning.
Hasten drying with air movers and towelling.
HOW DO YOU CLEAN UPHOLSTERY?
Q. I usually only clean carpets but my customer has asked me to clean her sofa and armchairs. Can you give me any advice?
A. If you have never cleaned upholstery before, consider taking an Upholstery Cleaning Course at Prochem. Depending on the type of fabric there are risks of dye bleed, texture change, ring- marking, shrinkage etc. All products should be pre-tested and tests for the above risks should be carried out. If the fabric is a hard-wearing synthetic, FABRIC RESTORER as a pre-spray and rinse-extraction with FIBRE & FABRIC RINSE are a good combination. Make sure the fabric is wet evenly and hasten drying with air movers and good ventilation. See Cleaning the Prochem web site: www.prochem-uk.com. If in doubt wait until you have been on a course.
Q. How do you clean silk upholstery / curtains / headboards?
A. Silk cannot be wet-cleaned. Hand cleaning with Dri Pro can be carried out by spraying on the Dri Pro then towelling off with a clean white terry towel. This method will not remove water-based stains.
DRY CLEANING DETERGENT ADDITIVE is a solvent soluble detergent which can be added to Dri Pro to help remove water-soluble soils. Always pre-test, as it can affect water-sensitive fabrics. Consult the Safety Data Sheet.
Q. How do I clean a leather sofa?
A. Smooth leather can be cleaned with LEATHER CLEANER. Rinse off with a cloth lightly dampened with FIBRE & FABRIC RINSE. Condition the leather sparingly with LEATHER CONDITIONER .Do not use on suede or aniline leather or leather which has become absorbent due to wear.
Q. How do I get felt pen / ink marks / spots of paint off leather?
A. If the leather is absorbent (or suede) it will be impossible to remove these stains. On smooth leather the marks may be improved by very carefully treating just the mark with SOLVEX, but solvents may damage the finish. It is possible for a leather repairer to re-dye and re-finish the leather. This is an expensive operation which needs an expert.
Q. White patches have appeared on a sofa after cleaning in the normal way. What can I do?
A. In all probability the customer has used a stain remover to treat spillages and cleaning has revealed the lighter areas. There is no remedy. The cleaner should always ask at the survey stage if any products have been used on the upholstery. He or she should warn the customer that cleaning may cause a reaction with previously used stain removal products which may work by bleaching a stain.
Q. How do I deal with a mattress / sofa which smells of urine even after cleaning?
A. The fabric and probably the filling still retain residues. Deep spray with undiluted URINE NEUTRALISER, feathering out over a wide area. Rinse extract with a hot solution of FIBRE & FABRIC RINSE. Hasten drying with plenty of vacuum only passes and use an air mover.
Apply CLENSAN by sprayer and leave for 15 minutes before repeating the extraction process as above. Always pre-test dyes.
Q. How do I get rid of the smell of smoke in a sofa?
A. If the smoke odour is mild and the fabric is wet cleanable, clean in the usual way but add ODOUR NEUTRALISER to the rinse solution. If the fabric is dry-clean only, add SOLVENT BASED ODOUR NEUTRALISER to DRI PRO. If the smoke contamination is severe, for example after a fire, then the ODOUR NEUTRALISER will also need to be misted into the room with a cold fogger as per label instructions.
Q. I cleaned a sofa last week and the customer says that it now smells of mildew or damp?
A. The sofa may have been over-wet and / or adequate drying conditions were not in place.Always use an air mover right from the beginning of the job. If it is not feasible to leave the air mover with the customer for later collection, the customer must ensure good ventilation. Remove all cushions and let them dry upright on plastic sheets on the floor. To remedy the odour problem try CLENSAN and extract-rinse with FIBRE & FABRIC RINSE after a 15 minute contact time. ODOUR FRESH can also be added to the extraction detergent for additional deodorising. As an alternative treatment for most odour problems in wet-cleanable upholstery, including all of the situations above, apply FIBREFRESH, leave to dwell then rinse-extract with FIBRE & FABRIC RINSE. This is a bio-enzymatic deodoriser which acts fast and has a long-lasting effect. It both neutralises and digests the source of the odour safely. A light application of FIBREFRESH can be re-applied and left on to dry in the case of very difficult odours.
Q. Can I use carpet cleaning products on upholstery?
A. Some of the “milder” carpet cleaning products may also suitable for cleaning upholstery. For example: PRE-SPRAY GOLD, FIBRE SHAMPOO and the carpet products in the NATURAL RANGE. Most stain removal products can also be used on upholstery. Always read the label instructions and pre-test the product. Labels can be consulted on the Prochem web site. Click on Safety Data Sheets.
Q. Which stain protector should I use on upholstery?
A. Use AQUA SEAL FABRIC PROTECTOR on wet cleanable fabric and FABRIC SEAL on dry-clean only fabrics. Pre-test for any colour or texture change. See product labels.
Q. Do I need any special equipment for applying protectors on upholstery?
A. A fabric protector applicator gun is recommended for an even application. Do not use a trigger sprayer. A pump up hand sprayer can be used for the application of the solvent-based FABRIC SEAL but it must be fitted with a fanjet nozzle and Viton® seals. Consult the SafetyData Sheet with regard to recommended personal protection (mask, eye protection gloves etc.). Do not use either of these products on carpets.
QUICK DRYING & LOW MOISTURE CLEANING
Q. Can I dry clean chairs?
A. Dry cleaning with solvent will be expensive and the result is not always as satisfactory as with wet cleaning. In many cases solvents take longer to evaporate and dry than low moisture wet cleaning with water-based solutions. Try a low moisture method using FIBRE SHAMPOO. Apply the foam only with a sponge to vacuumed upholstery according to label instructions. Towel off with clean dry terry towels to remove excess moisture and lay the nap. On more heavily soiled seats FABRIC RESTORER can be sprayed on first and towelled off before applying the foam shampoo. Always pre-test for dye stability.
Q. How do you get rid of ring marks on a white cotton sofa?
A. This is a common problem on light natural vegetable fibres such as cotton or linen usually due to uneven wetting or over-wetting. Try BROWNING PRESCRIPTION agitated into the marking with a terry towel. Severe ring marking on plain white or cream fabric may require treatment with OXIBRITE and FIBREBUFF carried in FIBRE SHAMPOO (see Oxibrite label for instructions. This can be found on the web site. Click on Safety Data Sheets).
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