One of the greatest drawbacks to having vintage or other high value pieces in your home is that improper cleaning can often ruin your furniture’s value. Some high end upholstery jobs – especially those that are very old – use delicate fabrics that can become easily damaged by standard household fabric cleaners.
If you’ve ever made this mistake, then you know the anguish that comes with decreasing the worth of something that is both extremely unique and often irreplaceable. In order to avoid this traumatic experience, heed the following advice for cleaning delicate upholstery.
1. Whether you’re simply tidying up around the home or cleaning due to a specific stain or spill, try to vacuum the piece first. This will remove any dust and dirt on the top layer of the upholstery.
Failing to do so could cause further problems when cleaning. Not to mention, in many cases this will remove at least half of the discoloration of your upholstery.
2. Invest in a foam extraction product, which can generally be found at many supermarkets or home improvement stores. This is one of the best methods for cleaning vintage or fragile textiles. However, like any other chemical, always test it on a hidden spot before using it on the entire piece. Rub the foam extraction liquid into the fabric and lightly dab with a towel to remove as much of the dust or dirt as possible, then press the towel firmly against the fabric to draw out the rest of the stain.
3. If no discoloration or shrinking occurs on the test spot, proceed to using the foam extraction product on the rest of the piece. Instead of foam extraction, you can also invest in an upholstery cleaner solvent. Always be sure to check the label to make sure the product you buy will work with the type of fabric you need to clean.
Some fabrics are more durable and resilient than others, but when working with delicate upholstery it’s important to always handle with care.