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What Not to Do When Treating Upholstered Furniture Stains

Posted by Josh Kennedy

Jan 17, 2014 11:52:00 AM

upholstery_cleaningLast night’s dinner party was a great success, but now it’s time for upholstery cleaning in Jacksonville, FL. The superb spaghetti sauce has stained the upholstery, along with the vintage burgundy wine on the carpet. Many stain removers use a combination of chemical strategies to either remove the stains entirely or camouflage them. There isn’t one single method to remove stains, but they can be made worse. Much worse. The following are eleven stain removal blunders to avoid when it comes to upholstered furniture cleaning in Jacksonville, FL unless you plan on replacing your upholstery entirely.

1.  Postponing                         

Acting quickly to remove a stain can prevent it from being absorbed by the upholstery fibers or seeping through to the underlying padding. Stains are more difficult to remove if they are allowed to dry and set. If possible, act quickly when there is a spill; the quicker the reaction time, the greater the chance of removing the stain completely. 

2.  Starting at the Center

Many people start at the center of the stain where it is most concentrated, resulting in a stain that spreads outward. When attacking a stain, wipe or blot from the outer stain edges and work toward the center. 

3.  Rubbing and Scrubbing

Rubbing or vigorous scrubbing forces the stain into the upholstery further and can even result in wearing away the material. If an individual rubs hard enough, it can create heat which will result in the stain chemically bonding to the material. Scrubbing will untwist the upholstery fibers, causing the pile to become distorted and leaving you with permanent damage even if you do successfully remove the stain. Instead of rubbing or scrubbing when cleaning upholstery in Jacksonville, FL, scrape up what you can with a spoon and then blot the stain with a clean white towel to absorb any moisture. 

4.  Using Bleach

Think twice before using bleach or bleach products on the stain. Bleach will often make the stain worse and the affected area larger. For example, using bleach on a rust stain will intensify the color and make the stain more obvious than before. Using bleach on upholstery can be a huge mistake that will require you to either patch it up with upholstery remnants or replace the material entirely. 

5.  Using Heat

Hot water can literally change the stain’s chemical structure causing it to bond to the upholstery surface. Food, blood, and protein stains are particularly susceptible to heat. Vinegar and other acids will also act as heating agents, promoting chemical alterations. When upholstery cleaning in Jacksonville, FL, use water that is cool or lukewarm.   

6.  Using Harsh Cleaners

Harsh cleaners may damage upholstery. The ideal stain remover removes the stain without injuring the stained material. Mild detergents combined with water will often remove a stain, especially when used immediately. 

7.  Not Testing a Stain Remover

Stain removers may result in making the stain worse and causing many other undesirable effects, such as fading the material. Take the time to test the stain remover in an inconspicuous area in a corner or under the a couch. 

8.  Skipping Directions

Stain removers may require special treatments, drying time, or have cautions for use. Don’t make the mistake of just assuming that spraying on a remover and washing it off will result in the desired outcome. Cleaning products have specific purposes and many are too harsh for certain material. Read the labels carefully. 

9.  Using the Wrong Cleaner

Stain removers commonly fall into three categories; solvents, enzymes, and surfactants. Solvents dissolve stains, such as salt and sugar, but are not effective for oil or butter stains. Using a solvent is most effective when the solvent is chemically-like the stain. Surfactants emulsify stains, which helps them be lifted off the surface. Dishwashing detergents and soap are examples of surfactants. Enzyme cleaners digest or break apart the chemical bonds of stain molecules. Blood and chocolate are best removed with enzyme-based cleaners. If you know the source of the stain, choose the cleaner that is most suitable for that stain. If you don’t know what the stain is, begin with the least damaging treatment and work your way up toward the more powerful chemicals.

10.  Using Deodorizing Powder

Deodorizing powders do not clean stains, and when stains still have moisture, the stain adheres to the powder, making the stain worse. Most vacuums aren’t strong enough to pull the moist powder out of upholstery fibers. Deodorizing powder can be used lightly on clean, dry areas. 

11.  Not Calling for Professional Help

Professional cleaners will often be able to safely remove stains while protecting the beauty of your upholstery and making it look like new. When upholstery cleaning in Jacksonville FL, stains that have dried and set in may require the experience of professional upholstery cleaners. Don’t replace the upholstery without checking with a professional. You’ll be happy you did. 

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Topics: Upholstery Cleaning, cleaning tips

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