Upholstery Stain Removal Tips

Discussion in 'the CleAn Room' started by Jim Pemberton, Nov 11, 2017.

By Jim Pemberton on Nov 11, 2017 at 10:34 AM
  1. Jim Pemberton
    Jim Pemberton

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    12 Steps That Will Remove Wine (and other Tannin Stains)
    Jim Pemberton - the Fine FabriCare Guy
    Today, 'Fine Fabric Specialists' often receive pictures via text with messages like this:

    "We have this cushion with a large wine stain. We put salt on the stain. Can you clean it, and how much will it cost?"




    [​IMG]
    "HAS A CUSTOMER EVER SENT YOU A PICTURE LIKE THIS?"




    This is what you need to know:

    A - Is the fabric made from a natural fiber? Natural fibers are susceptible to texture damage, water marks, and browning.

    B - Are the dyes color fast? Most anything that might be needed to remove the stain could cause color damage.

    C - Does the wine contain artificial dye? (some wine does, most doesn't).

    This is What You Should Do:

    #1. Tell the customer that wine stains are very difficult to remove from natural fibers, and the process of removing the stain may cause discoloration, texture changes, shrinkage, or browning. Be sure that they understand that you are not responsible for any of these potentially negative outcomes. (use a written pre-understanding)

    #2. Vacuum the fabric and get the salt out of it.

    #3. Mist the fabric with distilled water. Many natural fiber fabrics have sizing present, which can create water marks where spills occur. The use of distilled water will help to remove such stains, and also help to prevent them should your spotting process create an uneven drying scenario (something you should try to avoid, by the way).

    #4. Clean the fabric with an acidic detergent (no stain removers yet). Tannin stains (wine as well as coffee and tea) often come out when cleaned with an acidic detergent.

    Since the best cleaners for natural fibers are usually acidic, you might just get the stain out with cleaning. My favorite product for this application is Chemspec Natural Fiber Cleaner, which can be applied either as a prespray or foaming preconditioner.

    Apply the detergent evenly over the entire cushion (not just the stain), allow a few minutes of dwell time, agitate gently, then extract with clear, warm water.

    #5. If the fabric had a protective treatment applied before the spill, and if its not been allowed to stay in very long since the spill, you might remove most if not all of the wine with this step alone.

    #6. If a stain remains, the next product that I would try is an acidic tannin spotter. Mist the spotter over the entire cushion face again (this also prevents water marks), agitate gently, blot, then extract again with clear, warm water. If the towel you blot with shows a color transfer of the wine, and more comes out when you rinse, repeat this process.

    Be certain that you get the fabric "slightly damp dry" in between each step so that you don't cause browning or water stains from over wetting.

    Make sure your tannin spotter is just an acid product, not a reducing agent or bleach at this point!

    I am fairly confident you will have success by following these steps.

    If you don't, however, the next steps take some careful thought, and additional communication with your customer.

    #7. Wine that remains after cleaning and treating with spotters designed to remove tannins should be considered a stain. Tannin stains may come out with either reducing or oxidizing agents. Reducing agents are safer, but slower and possibly less effective. Oxidizing agents work more quickly, but they do act as true bleaches.

    If the fabric is dyed, the same stain removers that can decolorize the stain may decolorize the fabric! Even the milder reducing agents may cause this problem, and neither reducing nor oxidizing agents should be used on natural fiber fabrics such as cotton without a clear, written understanding with your customer.

    #8. If you apply a reducing agent, start with a mild browning treatment or coffee stain remover that contains sodium meta-bisulfite. This product should be applied, and then allowed to dry. DO NOT continue to apply it while its wet, as it will only create a residue that will make the fabric appear to be bleached, and will be time consuming to remove later. Instead just apply, then let dry.

    #9. Some red dye removers may work if the above product does not, but these should not be applied without rinsing all previous cleaning and stain removal products from the fabric. These also increase the chance of color damage or "over bleaching" of off white fabrics. Try the product without heat, and instead allow it to dry naturally.

    #10. If you choose to try an oxidizing agent, remember that such products are more aggressive and more likely to cause color loss. Also remember that you will need to remove all traces of reducing agents that have already been applied. This in itself is risky, as repeated rinsing of the fabric may cause browning.

    #11. Never apply strong peroxide based stain removers to natural fibers! Such products are made for synthetic fiber carpet, not upholstery. Strong (over 3%) peroxide can damage cellulose fibers, as well as discolor them. Use only fresh, 3% hydrogen peroxide that you can purchase in a grocery store or pharmacy. Apply the product, and do not blot or rinse, but simply allow to dry.

    #12. Once you've removed the stain, by whichever means needed, you still might have a remaining water stain. Apply distilled water to the entire cushion, then dry with fans, rotating the cushion during the drying time to allow for even drying.

    The most important step of these 12 steps is, of course, step #1!

    *********************************************************

    Special Comment From Jim Pemberton:



    There is no tool or cleaning product that can take the place of a well trained technician! Be sure to attend our next Fabric Pro “Hands-On Upholstery Cleaning Workshop”. Even if you've taken a class just a few years ago, much has changed, and for the better.

    If you'll combine the right tools, the right cleaning agents, and the right techniques, you will improve your cleaning results and greatly lessen the risks of upholstery damage claims.

    ************************

    Jim Pemberton presents . . .
    "21st Century"
    'Fabric Pro Upholstery Specialist' workshops!

    Next Available Date?

    Click Here For Pembertons Learning Center Calendar:

    This unique two day course is absolutely not a "Prep" course to prepare you for another longer certification course.

    In this two day course you'll receive all the essential information not contained in other courses, without the mind numbing additional information on
    fabric names, dyeing processes, and chemistry that is “nice to know”, but rarely “need to know” information for the ......

    Fabric Pro Upholstery Specialist

    Jim Pemberton explains why you need to attend . . . (click below)
    www.ecleanadvisor.com/public/1074.cfm

    Course contents and registration (click here)

Comments

Discussion in 'the CleAn Room' started by Jim Pemberton, Nov 11, 2017.

    1. Derrick T.
      Derrick T.

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      I already took notes. Good stuff
    2. Mark Saiger
      Mark Saiger

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      I took a screen shot of your article I received in your email to us....

      I am putting it in a file and sharing also with my guys....and others who could benefit...

      Great Article!
      Derrick T. likes this.
    3. Bob Pruitt
      Bob Pruitt

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      Thank you Jim!
    4. Matt Wood
      Matt Wood

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      Thank you Jim for the valuable information. I hope to make it to one of your classes soon
    5. Lyman
      Lyman

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      Jim after all the steps, what are the chances the arm and cushion will have any color left. 10-20% will look ok and 80-90 % will have a lot of color loss.
    6. Jim Pemberton
      Jim Pemberton

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      Much depends on the fiber content of the fabric, the dyes used, and whether or not oxidizing agents are needed.

      The mistake that most cleaners make is to use oxidizers or strong reducers immediately, instead of being patient and sticking with acidic tannin spotters as long as possible.

      If you can take the furniture off location, and also if you use absorbents, you can often restore the fabric without bleaching.
      SamIam and Cleanworks like this.
    7. Rob Grady
      Rob Grady

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      Great read Jim! Bottom line... what would a customer be looking at price-wise for those services suggested? Would those procedures take 3 or 4 trips to the job site?
      Or would you take the piece to your shop for cleaning ?
    8. Jim Pemberton
      Jim Pemberton

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      In the words of my friend Tony Wheelwright:

      "When you clean on location, time is your enemy; when you clean in plant, time is your friend"

      A stain of this sort can predictably take a few attempts, so it's more practical to do away from the owners home or building. If the stain is on a cushion, it's not too hard to do that. If it's on the body, the ability to transfer it to your place is surely more difficult.

      Since the costs of doing business nationwide vary considerably, I rarely suggest prices. Instead, look at the estimated time needed to perform the restoration of the fabric, and calculate the hourly value of your services. Your customer's assessment of the value of the furniture would also come me into play.
    9. Matt Wood
      Matt Wood

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      On the original picture above: The areas where there is color loss, is because of an attempt to remove a red40 dye several months prior to the red wine stain you see here.

      So, instead of the dangerous way of what was attempted...how would you attack an artificial red40 on natural fiber pictured above?
    10. Jim Pemberton
      Jim Pemberton

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      Red Dye 40 releases more readily from natural fiber fabrics than it does from nylon. I have had success with a red dye remover applied without heat, but given time to work instead. Try about an hour of dwell time while you do a few other things. Then if the stain remains, use a steamer instead of an iron. However, always have a clear understanding with your customer before you use any dye removers on upholstery fabric.
      Matt Wood likes this.
    11. Tom Forsythe
      Tom Forsythe

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      Great information. Would you consider using an peroxide (<1% properly diluted) fortified encapsulate or shampoo as your cleaning agent?
    12. Jim Pemberton
      Jim Pemberton

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      If the fabric is otherwise colorfast, yes. One of the advantages of protector on delicate natural fibers is that spotting with an acid tannin spotter or at worst cleaning with a peroxide fortified encapsulate (I like that term) would likely remove the stain without a lot of agitation and overwetting.

      If you are cleaning carpet or floors in a home and you see that they have natural fiber fabrics in them, explain how much more likely it will be that the wine could be completely removed if protector is present. Few cleaners approach their customers about protecting delicate fabrics before they get dirty, and that's an ideal time to do it.

      Protector bonds much better on fabrics that do not have soil and detergent residues remaining on them (because you never get "everything out"...no matter how well you rinse).
      Tom Forsythe likes this.
    13. Nomad74
      Nomad74

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      Wow, A ton of info here. I'm having to read this multiple times to get it all.
    14. SamIam
      SamIam

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      Guilty hit with 40 volume diluted and rinse with textile rinse mist again rinse again.

      Sunlight helps to.

      Once the stain is gone even if the fabric is
      Slightly lighter you still saved wine spillers arse!
    15. Matt Wood
      Matt Wood

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      On that chair above, I had it on her porch out in the sun and she treated it one more time with 3% after it dried, and it came out nice
      Jim Pemberton likes this.
    16. Lyman
      Lyman

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      lets see the after pics.
    17. Matt Wood
      Matt Wood

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      “Just 1 more time inside. I'm satisfied with it. It's a big improvement and will get me by until I make a decision about what to do next. Thanks, Matt. “

      That was her response to me

      I give all the credit to @Jim Pemberton on this job because I spoke to him for about an hour before I went there to do it 27A6718A-651C-4BDB-B142-717EBD8B1232.jpeg CF32BCEE-99E0-4013-9E59-5909A805E32C.jpeg 27A6718A-651C-4BDB-B142-717EBD8B1232.jpeg
    18. Jim Pemberton
      Jim Pemberton

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      Thank you Matt, and thanks for letting me use your pictures to educate others. In the end, you were the one who made it work. Procedures and products work "on paper", but the only way they work in real life is with someone who has skill, and that one thing no one can buy:

      A barrel of patience.
      Matt Wood likes this.

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