Textile producers and furniture manufacturers recommend having upholstered furniture cleaned every 12 to 18 months under routine conditions. The best time to clean upholstery is before visible dirt appears on the surface, so if your household includes pets and kids or you entertain on a regular basis, more frequent cleanings will help keep stains and signs of wear at bay.
It’s time to hire a professional when routine vacuuming no longer removes embedded odors or recent spot-cleaning forays have left telltale rings. Still mentally debating the pros and cons? Here are five savvy reasons to hire a pro:
Reason 1: Upholstery fabric is challenging to clean.
Upholstery fabric is made from a range of natural and manmade fibers, all of which have very specific cleaning requirements. Silk, for example, is extremely touchy. High alkaline cleaning agents damage the material, bleach can dissolve the fibers, water may cause stretching, and even low levels of salt (such as those found in perspiration) can cause discoloration and splitting.
Most (but not all) upholstery fabrics fall into one of eight different categories called cleaning codes. It’s important to adhere to these criteria because improper methods can cause browning, stretching, shrinking, fading, bleaching, yellowing and/or texture distortion. Over-wetting can cause visible harm, encourage mold and mildew, and cause metal zippers, buttons and studs to rust which can damage the surrounding fabric as well as the metal. Fabric cleaners can also mar wood or leather on pieces that feature a mix of materials.
Professionals are familiar with these challenges and have the experience, cleaning solutions and equipment to do the job right.
Reason 2: Stain removal is tricky.
Using the wrong cleaning solution can encourage spots and stains to settle more deeply into the fabric, making them more difficult to remove or in some cases permanent. Pro cleaners know how to avoid these problems and can sometimes remove stains that have resisted your best efforts.
Reason 3: Upholstered furniture is expensive.
It’s likely your furniture represents a fairly significant investment, one you want to protect. A well-built chair or couch can last a decade or more. Professional cleanings help make the most of this investment by removing unsightly stains and deeply embedded dirt that can and shorten the upholstery’s lifespan, so your furniture lasts longer and looks its best.
Reason 4: Manufacturers recommend pro cleaning.
Many furniture warranties feature an escape clause that protects the manufacturer if upholstered furniture is improperly cleaned. Having a pro clean the upholstery is the wisest choice, since a do-it-yourself cleaning session can invalidate that warranty.
Reason 5: Time is money.
Cleaning upholstery thoroughly and well takes time as well as energy and effort. Acquiring the right cleaning solutions and equipment can also be time consuming and expensive, particularly if you own multiple upholstered pieces with different types of fabric. If your time is valuable to you, investing in professional cleaning is often the most cost-effective strategy.