Cleaning Upholstery Without an Upholstery Cleaning Machine or Tool

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Can You Clean Upholstery Without a Machine?
by Jim Pemberton - Fabric Pro Specialist
ANSWER:
Absolutely Yes! . . . in some cases, the best technique for cleaning a delicate upholstery fabric can actually be no upholstery machine or specialty tool at all!

Cleaning professionals invest tens of thousands of dollars in the ideal carpet cleaning equipment. Along with that purchase, they may spend additional hundreds of dollars for the ideal upholstery cleaning tool.

However, in some cases, the best technique for cleaning a delicate upholstery fabric can actually be no upholstery machine or specialty
tool at all!


Why?

Understanding 'Very Low Moisture Cleaning' techniques will help you to rapidly clean synthetic fiber fabrics, such as office chairs, as well as safely clean the most delicate natural fiber fabrics that you might otherwise hesitate to clean with your standard extraction cleaning equipment and tools.

First, lets consider how upholstery is made, and how it soils.

**************************
FACTS -
#1. Upholstery fabrics have thicknesses of only the smallest of fractions of an inch.

#2. On synthetic fiber fabrics, the soil will usually only be on the surface of this thin fabric.

#3. On highly absorbent natural fiber fabrics, moisture should always be limited to prevent browning, bleeding, and the water marks.

Because of these three factors, the best upholstery cleaning tools are designed to limit the amount of moisture delivered to the face of the fabric, so that with skill and proper cleaning agent choice, most upholstery fabrics can be restored to very acceptable conditions.

Second, also consider what can be done if such a tool isn't available?

**************************
FACTS -
Upholstery fabrics can be professionally cleaned by hand safely and effectively by using 'Very Low Moisture Cleaning Techniques'.
**********
First, the most important step in all professional cleaning procedures is the 'Communication Step'! That consists of a careful preinspection and preunderstanding With The Consumer regarding the existing condition of the item or items to be cleaned as well as the results promised -- In Writing!
**************************
Following are the three 'Key Ingredients' that must be a part of your 'Very Low Moisture Cleaning System':

1. The Correct Products: Products used for encapsulation cleaning of carpet are ideal for low moisture cleaning of all synthetic fiber fabrics. Some such products may contain peroxide, which makes them especially good when cleaning older fabrics, or those with tannin stains, such as coffee.

Acid based upholstery shampoos can be used for delicate white and multicolored natural fiber fabrics.


2. The Correct Tools:
While you may be eliminating the need for expensive machinery, you will need the following items:

a. Vacuum with hand attachments.
(dry soil must be removed first).

b. Sprayer:
You must use a sprayer that can apply your solution in a very fine mist consistently.

c. Sponge:
For extremely delicate natural fiber fabrics, you should use a sponge to apply the foam of your upholstery shampoo.




: For extremely delicate natural fiber fabrics, you should use a natural sponge to apply of foam of your upholstery shampoo-


d. Agitation devices:
An orbital buffer (such as is used to detail cars) is a great time and labor saver for synthetics and durable natural fibers and blends. Use only hand agitation for very delicate natural fiber fabrics, especially those with non durable finishes and textures.


3. The Correct Procedure:
(Remember these tips when using Very Low Moisture Cleaning)

a. Test and Inspect:
Synthetic fiber fabrics can be agitated more aggressively than delicate natural fiber fabrics and blends. You must know what you are cleaning!

b. Brush and Vacuum thoroughly:
Removal of particulate soil first is critical.

c. Apply Detergent Carefully:
A consistent, even mist is essential for encapsulants on synthetics as well as dry foam on delicate absorbent natural fiber fabric.

d. Agitation: Orbital buffer for synthetics and durable natural fibers and blends. Gentle hand agitation with soft brushes or cleaning mitts for delicate natural fiber fabrics.

e. Extraction:
Use clean white towels or microfiber cloths to absorb moisture and suspended soil. Wet vacuuming can be used as well, but it will not remove suspended soil as well as will the use of absorbent towels.

If you understand this cleaning method, it will give you a fast, effective method for cleaning large amounts of synthetic fiber fabric furnishings, such as in offices, theaters, and churches. It will also provide you with a very safe cleaning method that outperforms dry solvent cleaning on delicate textures that you might otherwise choose not to clean. *****************************************

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

The "Fabric Pro Upholstery Specialist" Workshop

2 Day "Hands-on" Course

INSTRUCTOR: Jim Pemberton
TIME: 8:00 - 5:00 Thursday & Friday
COST: $795.
{Includes Comprehensive Pre-Study}
Lunch & Refreshments provided
For Additional Information & Topics:
//www.ecleanadvisor.com/public/1015.cfm?sd=2
To register for this class, click here:
//www.ecleanadvisor.com/public/343.cfm
or call 800-342-2297
 
#2
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Messages
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Florida
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Can You Clean Upholstery Without a Machine?
by Jim Pemberton - Fabric Pro Specialist
ANSWER:
Absolutely Yes! . . . in some cases, the best technique for cleaning a delicate upholstery fabric can actually be no upholstery machine or specialty tool at all!

Cleaning professionals invest tens of thousands of dollars in the ideal carpet cleaning equipment. Along with that purchase, they may spend additional hundreds of dollars for the ideal upholstery cleaning tool.

However, in some cases, the best technique for cleaning a delicate upholstery fabric can actually be no upholstery machine or specialty
tool at all!


Why?

Understanding 'Very Low Moisture Cleaning' techniques will help you to rapidly clean synthetic fiber fabrics, such as office chairs, as well as safely clean the most delicate natural fiber fabrics that you might otherwise hesitate to clean with your standard extraction cleaning equipment and tools.

First, lets consider how upholstery is made, and how it soils.

**************************
FACTS -
#1. Upholstery fabrics have thicknesses of only the smallest of fractions of an inch.

#2. On synthetic fiber fabrics, the soil will usually only be on the surface of this thin fabric.

#3. On highly absorbent natural fiber fabrics, moisture should always be limited to prevent browning, bleeding, and the water marks.

Because of these three factors, the best upholstery cleaning tools are designed to limit the amount of moisture delivered to the face of the fabric, so that with skill and proper cleaning agent choice, most upholstery fabrics can be restored to very acceptable conditions.

Second, also consider what can be done if such a tool isn't available?

**************************
FACTS -
Upholstery fabrics can be professionally cleaned by hand safely and effectively by using 'Very Low Moisture Cleaning Techniques'.
**********
First, the most important step in all professional cleaning procedures is the 'Communication Step'! That consists of a careful preinspection and preunderstanding With The Consumer regarding the existing condition of the item or items to be cleaned as well as the results promised -- In Writing!
**************************
Following are the three 'Key Ingredients' that must be a part of your 'Very Low Moisture Cleaning System':

1. The Correct Products: Products used for encapsulation cleaning of carpet are ideal for low moisture cleaning of all synthetic fiber fabrics. Some such products may contain peroxide, which makes them especially good when cleaning older fabrics, or those with tannin stains, such as coffee.

Acid based upholstery shampoos can be used for delicate white and multicolored natural fiber fabrics.


2. The Correct Tools:
While you may be eliminating the need for expensive machinery, you will need the following items:

a. Vacuum with hand attachments.
(dry soil must be removed first).

b. Sprayer:
You must use a sprayer that can apply your solution in a very fine mist consistently.

c. Sponge:
For extremely delicate natural fiber fabrics, you should use a sponge to apply the foam of your upholstery shampoo.




: For extremely delicate natural fiber fabrics, you should use a natural sponge to apply of foam of your upholstery shampoo-


d. Agitation devices:
An orbital buffer (such as is used to detail cars) is a great time and labor saver for synthetics and durable natural fibers and blends. Use only hand agitation for very delicate natural fiber fabrics, especially those with non durable finishes and textures.


3. The Correct Procedure:
(Remember these tips when using Very Low Moisture Cleaning)

a. Test and Inspect:
Synthetic fiber fabrics can be agitated more aggressively than delicate natural fiber fabrics and blends. You must know what you are cleaning!

b. Brush and Vacuum thoroughly:
Removal of particulate soil first is critical.

c. Apply Detergent Carefully:
A consistent, even mist is essential for encapsulants on synthetics as well as dry foam on delicate absorbent natural fiber fabric.

d. Agitation: Orbital buffer for synthetics and durable natural fibers and blends. Gentle hand agitation with soft brushes or cleaning mitts for delicate natural fiber fabrics.

e. Extraction:
Use clean white towels or microfiber cloths to absorb moisture and suspended soil. Wet vacuuming can be used as well, but it will not remove suspended soil as well as will the use of absorbent towels.

If you understand this cleaning method, it will give you a fast, effective method for cleaning large amounts of synthetic fiber fabric furnishings, such as in offices, theaters, and churches. It will also provide you with a very safe cleaning method that outperforms dry solvent cleaning on delicate textures that you might otherwise choose not to clean. *****************************************

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

The "Fabric Pro Upholstery Specialist" Workshop

2 Day "Hands-on" Course

INSTRUCTOR: Jim Pemberton
TIME: 8:00 - 5:00 Thursday & Friday
COST: $795.
{Includes Comprehensive Pre-Study}
Lunch & Refreshments provided
For Additional Information & Topics:
//www.ecleanadvisor.com/public/1015.cfm?sd=2
To register for this class, click here:
//www.ecleanadvisor.com/public/343.cfm
or call 800-342-2297
What city is the course located in?
 
#3
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Back in the day, I cleaned a lot of special care fabric and drapes with a tank vacuum, terry towels and oms...111 before than. :shifty:

It did a nice job of freshening up lightly soiled upholstery. It wasn't very effective on over all soiling conditions and needed corrective cleaning.
 
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Im sure Im dating myself but I have used the Von Schrader Dry Foam system for furniture for over 4 decades, own 3 machines plus 3 for parts, lol, and will probably use it in my company long after I am gone. It's just a fast, safe way of dealing with fabrics that cannot withstand steam cleaning but really require some moisture to deal with minor water-based soil build-up. Not a popular method but it has worked well for us.

It's kind of a hand-foam-wash-system but applied by a machine for more consistent results. The machines are pretty cool but require some maintenance, omg!
 
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Im sure Im dating myself but I have used the Von Schrader Dry Foam system for furniture for over 4 decades, own 3 machines plus 3 for parts, lol, and will probably use it in my company long after I am gone. It's just a fast, safe way of dealing with fabrics that cannot withstand steam cleaning but really require some moisture to deal with minor water-based soil build-up. Not a popular method but it has worked well for us.

It's kind of a hand-foam-wash-system but applied by a machine for more consistent results. The machines are pretty cool but require some maintenance, omg!
I use to have an old one. Shorted out one day and that was that. I always think of getting one of their new ones. Hey, they even have grounded plugs on them now.
 
#13
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I have variable OP with 8 inch pads of cotton, and microfiber. On lowest setting is really gentle. Can it still be used on this?
20180309_110754.jpg
20180309_091111.jpg


The stains seem drink spill but maybe browned because cliemc attempted cleaning. Its not bad over all.
20180309_091158.jpg


I thought use a little bit bone dry and agitate evenly with OP, force dry.
 
Last edited:
#14
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We’ve all dated ourself once or twice
I am an oldster here but it feels good to be surrounded by so many enthusiastic youngsters bent on making this thing work. I admire you all. I don't think I could start a cleaning business today and make it with all the disadvantages out there. But, my son probably could. And he will get his chance. Very soon!
 
#15
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Thank you Jim - some very sage advice there. I've used some of the mentioned methods, towel and foam, but especially the orbital polisher. I had the pleasure of having Gary Heacock come out and clean with me for a day and one of his methods for certain types of upholstery and get the job done efficiently involved the orbital. It cleans up a headliner in a vehicle in a snap.
 
#16
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Thank you Jim - some very sage advice there. I've used some of the mentioned methods, towel and foam, but especially the orbital polisher. I had the pleasure of having Gary Heacock come out and clean with me for a day and one of his methods for certain types of upholstery and get the job done efficiently involved the orbital. It cleans up a headliner in a vehicle in a snap.
Gary also helped me immensely.

GaryHeacock.jpg


:yoda:
 

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