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Cleaning upholstery with a steam cleaner

A steam cleaner is an ideal tool for cleaning upholstery.  Not only does it get rid of stains, grime and dirt, which you probably expect; but as an added bonus, it also kills bacteria, mould and mites. 

The starting point with cleaning upholstery with a steam cleaner is to remove any surface dirt with a vacuum cleaner and to spot treat any stains.  This is the time to get rid of crumbs and other detritus that can find its way into crevices and corners.  Don’t forget the back of any furniture, and always remove the cushions.

Now pre-treat any stains with an upholstery cleaner, allowing about five minutes for the chemical to have an effect before dabbing it with a damp cloth.  The steam element of the steam cleaning process will be sufficient to get rid of most stains such as food.  But for an oil-based stain, a commercial cleaner or mixing vinegar and baking soda may be needed.

One of the main reasons for steam cleaning upholstery is to remove ground-in stains.  For this, you will need something called a soil emulsifier.  This is effective in getting the stubborn stains out.  Spray it over the surface and leave it for a few minutes to soak in and have an effect.  Then add a shampoo and work this into the fabric.  At this stage, you may be wondering what is happening, and how the shampoo will be removed.  This is where the steam cleaning comes in, but correct preparation is vital.

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Before you start with the water part of the process, using the steam cleaner, check that the fabric is suited to a water-based treatment.  If the label has ‘X’, then you can’t proceed, because water would damage the fabric.

You will need to make sure you are using the right steam cleaner, as there are a number of different types, mainly designed for the range of materials which they can deal with.  Damage can be done easily using the wrong tool! Upholstery cleaners, unsurprisingly, work best on upholstery, with fabric cleaners and hand-held steam cleaners also being effective, the latter being especially suited for small spaces.  You either need to have a hand-held machine or one with a detachable hose.

This is not the place to use a carpet steam cleaner, as a note of caution.  These are bulky and do not usually have the fabric cleaning attachment you will need here.

Now prepare the cleaner, adding warm water and the chemical, being careful not to over-fill, otherwise there is a risk of getting the furniture too wet, and avoid putting too much chemical into the mixture.  It is easier to add more chemical, or to apply the treatment a second time, than to remove any excess soap. 

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You should have a brush with the cleaner, and this can be used for the application and to massage any areas needing it.  Your cleaner may even have a specific brush for upholstery, so be sure to check.

Start with cleaning any cushions and only wash one side at a time and let it dry, as you will want to avoid over-wetting the fabric.

Apply the cleaner steadily and systematically, not applying more heavily over the more soiled areas, but instead applying a repeated application where required.  Remember, you can reapply when the fabric is wet; it doesn’t need to dry between applications.

You Can Also Clean Sofas with a Steam Cleaner

Once the cleaner has been applied and removed, the upholstery can be left to dry.  This can be a time-consuming process, and is speeded up in dry, sunny weather, or in a steady breeze.

You may have to wait a while, but the furniture will dry and you will have a refreshed, clean item.

If there is some discolouration, this may be because of heavy soiling of the fabric.  This may be a sign that further cleaning is needed. 

Hortech Karcher Vacuum cleaner

For more informations call us on : 01406 426513

or write to: paul.seaman@hortechsystems.co.uk