There are two basic methods for Manchester cleaning upholstery : wet or dry. Within these two main categories there are four primary techniques. The type of cleaning your upholstery needs will be determined by the kind material you have. For example, there are certain fabrics, such as velvet, cotton, and silk that are not compatible with wet cleaning techniques. Using the wrong cleaning techniques can result in color bleeding or even fabric damage. It is very important to know what type of upholstery you own and to always test any cleaning method on a small, out of site area first.
Before you get into any particular cleaning technique you need to complete a two-step process to remove any loose particles from your upholstery. Remove any cushions and begin by first using a soft brush to gently brush all of the upholstery. This will help to loosen any materials such as lint or hair. Next, use a vacuum to thoroughly extract all the loose particles. From here you should be ready to begin the actual cleaning process.
Steam cleaning, or hot water extraction, involves using hot water, detergents, and rinsing products to clean the fabric. These items are then extracted from the upholstery for a very thorough soil and stain removal.
Low moisture cleaning, shampooing, and dry foam are all similar techniques that fall into the same subsection of upholstery cleaning methods. This type of cleaning is good for delicate fabrics because it isn’t at aggressive as steam cleaning. With low moisture cleaning a shampoo is applied and then agitated with a soft brush or sponge. This works the product into the fabric to loosen soils and oils. The upholstery is then extracted with a dry foam extraction machine. This process can also be done using a low moisture, dry foam cleaning machine.
Very low moisture cleaning is used on a select group of very fine/delicate fabrics. This process is carried out by hand, without the use of any machines. Because of the extremely delicate nature of the upholstery this cleaning process should only be carried out by an I.I.C.R.C. certified professional. This type of cleaning involves applying the driest part of the foam cleaner to the upholstery, by hand and with a natural sponge. It is then dried with a white cotton towel, also by hand. Most importantly, the fabric must be dry upon completion of the cleaning procedure. Leaving the fabric wet can cause serious damage. As you might have guessed, this can be a very costly cleaning method.
Solvent dry cleaning uses odorless mineral spirits to clean the upholstery. The spirits can be applied with a solvent extraction machine or by hand. With the machine technique the solvent is mixed with different additives and detergents and sprayed onto the fabric and then extracted. Applying by hand is used when the upholstery is too delicate for the suction during the extraction process.
The key thing to remember before cleaning any upholstery is to know what type of material you are working with. This will determine the type of cleaning you will be performing. And always test a small area first. If you are ever unsure or just not feeling comfortable with trying any of these methods yourself, call a professional. It is better to err on the side of caution. It will almost always be more expensive to buy new furniture than to pay for a professional Manchester cleaning.