There’s nothing quite like having a well-appointed living room or lounge. It is something you can show off to friends, relatives and neighbours alike, as well as providing a sense of self-satisfaction. However, with good upholstery comes a good lot of cleaning and maintenance. After all, it only takes one unsightly stain left from spilt pasta or coffee to ruin the rest of the room. Unfortunately, stains are a matter of when, not if.
So to help you with your domestic aesthetics, here are a number of tips for getting your upholstery as good as new again.
The Fabric of the Matter
In general, the sooner you clean the stain, the better, ideally doing it within the hour the mess has been made. However, this is not always possible. If it occurs during a party or social gathering, for example, it may be several hours before you can see to the mess. Unfortunately, the longer you leave a stain, the more time it has to soak into the fabric of your upholstery to become a permanent stain.
Liquid spills can be cleaned up very quickly with paper or fabric towels, and you want to soak up as much of the liquid as possible with these. Cleaning will take a while and probably use up many towels, but believe us when we say it is worth it. However, further cleaning with warm water will be needed if you want to remove the stain completely.
The idea is to dilute the liquids within the fabric of your upholstery as much as possible, so that any colorings within them are less concentrated. Thus, when the liquids dry up, any stains present will be nigh-on unnoticeable, assuming there’s any at all.
When dealing with solid messes, such as spilled pasta boxes or melting chocolate, it is important to remove the bulk of the solid portions of the mess as quickly as possible. Then get some hot water and start mopping up the mess as soon as you can. A crucial thing to remember is not to rub when cleaning is not to rub – use short dabbing motions instead.
If you rub, then you’ll mash the mess further into the fabric, making it harder to remove and more likely to stain. It will also damage the fibres of the upholstery, making it look furry and worn.
With all messes, hot water is best. Don’t worry: your fabrics can handle it, they have been designed to be washed by machines using water that’s nearly boiling after all.
On Furry Companions
In particular, if you are transporting pets, be prepared for little “accidents”. Not every animal is blessed with humanity’s self-control of their bladder. Crucially, you need to make sure that the accident is seen to asap.
Animals tend to pass ammonia through their urine, and ammonia happens to be a particularly effective bleaching agent. Needless to say, this means that little puddles forming around a puppy’s paws is very likely to remain there long after the puppy is gone.
When cleaning animal spills, it is especially important that you do not use bleaches. Ammonia mixed with bleach is a very good way to create mustard gas, an especially toxic fume that you do not want floating around your vehicle. Further, ammonia is already bleaching your upholstery anyway, so why make it worse with yet more bleach?
Prevention is Better Than Cure
In most cases, it is far better to prevent messes from happening at all if you can avoid it, or else have it so that stains are highly unlikely to touch the upholstery in the first place. To keep your upholstery looking as good as new, the easiest way is simply to prevent bringing in anything that may cause a mess.
If you have kids, enforce a no candy and drinks rule. Enforce that on yourself if you have to. If ever you want to eat anything that may cause a mess, always eat in the kitchen or dining room.
If you have any pets in the house, meanwhile, or you can anticipate having dirty guests (say from picking up kids from soccer practise), then you can better protect your furniture. The easiest and cheapest way is simply to lay down a protective sheet of plastic or fabric over the seats and floor. Doing so will mean that muck is more likely to get onto the sheet, and not your upholstery, with the sheet being easily removed and washed.
Declaring the lounge or living room off-limits to children or pets is also an acceptable solution, especially if you have another area you do not mind getting as messy because it is more easily cleaned.
This does not mean you will never experience stains on your upholstery, but it is a good way to make it less likely.
Get a Professional
If you find yourself faced with a stain that is simply beyond your powers to clean, there is no shame in getting professional help. In extreme circumstances, this is the safest and more convenient solution to any major messes. A professional cleaning service is more likely to have the proper skills for the job, and will probably have seen any messes you may face dozens of times before.
There are many cleaning services available to you online, one of particular note if you live in North Carolina would be ProGreenCarpetNC.com.
The writer, Christian Mills, has had to deal with many messes on his furniture and has learned over time hat to do to make sure everything comes away looking as good as new again. When he can, he shares his wisdom and experiences through his writing. If you wish to learn more you can visit on Google+.