Carpet cleaning machines come with many attachments that make cleaning upholstery and curtains a lot easier. You can even find smaller machines that are designed only for the purpose of cleaning upholstery. Before you head out the buy the next great thing at some big box store, you may want to try some home remedies for general cleaning and spot cleaning that will save you time and money.
Elbow grease gets the job done on the cheap
Word to the wise: before applying any water based cleaners to your furniture upholstery make sure it is rated either W, S or WS ( W means clean with water based detergent and WS means; S means use waterless cleaning method similar to dry cleaning; WS means you can use either type of cleaner depending on the type of stain.) Once you know which kind to use, you can prepare for the job.
You can either buy a cleaner designed to clean upholstery or you can make it yourself. The homemade version is right there in your laundry room. Measure out ¼ cup of the detergent and had 1 cup of water to it. Mix this into foam with either electric hand mixer or with a whisk. Test the mixture on an inconspicuous spot on the furniture and allow it to dry to make sure it won’t damage the material. If all goes well then use this inexpensive cleaner on the rest of your furniture.
Preparation is important, so you should vacuum the furniture to get rid of lose dirt or animal fur. If there is any crusty stuff on the furniture you can use a thin edge tool like a spatula or butter knife to remove it. And then you can just brush or vacuum later.
After preparing the area, dip a clean white towel (a colored towel may “bleed” its color) into your home made solvent and gently apply it to your furniture. You shouldn’t scrub hard or you may damage the material. Instead, use a wiping motion while lifting up and away from the material to prevent rubbing the stains in deeper.
After the foam becomes dark apply a clean while towel to remove the foam. Once the furniture is washed and the foam has been removed apply a fresh wet clean towel to rinse off the furniture completely. Allow the furniture to dry before using it.
Smaller spot cleaning jobs
Let’s face it, accidents happen. Quick action will make those times easier to deal with if you plan ahead. You probably already have the ingredients you need for a quick clean up right there in your kitchen. Different stains require different cleaners:
- For a sudden soda spill you can add a squirt of dish soap to 2 cups of warm water and apply it to the spill with a smooth wiping action, lifting the stain away from the surface as you work. This can’t be stored for later use, but it is so quick and easy to make you really don’t need to store it.
- Berry stains are tough stains that can be cleaned with 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2/3 cups rubbing alcohol. Use a blotting action rather than rubbing to remove the stain. After the stain is completely removed apply a small amount of cold water to clean the solvent off the upholstery.
- A paste made with baking soda will help clean a small stain with little water if you do not want to use water and wait for it to dry. Once the paste dries, brush or vacuum the paste away.
Cleaning household upholstery isn’t hard and a little preparation comes in handy for sudden cleaning jobs. A little elbow grease goes a long, long way.
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