Upholstery Care and Cleaning: How To Extend The Life of Upholstered Furniture

Upholstery Care and Cleaning: How To Extend The Life of Upholstered Furniture

UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE like all things require some care and maintenance, however, not knowing how to properly take care of your salon’s upholstered furniture will result in preventable damage.

Today, we explore methods that will help you keep your salon furniture in top-notch condition for many years to come! We want to help you eliminate the need for professional cleaners both in the long and short run. to that end, we will start by asking four basic questions:

  • How do you care for upholstered furniture?
  • How do you clean a fabric sofa?
  • What is a good cleaner for upholstered furniture?
  • How much does it cost to clean upholstered furniture professionally in Australia?

How do you care for upholstered furniture?

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In many salons, there are usually three types of upholstered furniture, namely:

One, faux leather and vinyl which are the easiest to clean, two, genuine leather that requires a little care, and three, fabric upholstery.

How to clean fabric upholstery

Common in waiting areas or under drying units, fabric upholstery depending on material share one main problem. That is, fabrics such as cotton, wool, etc. stain easily. But don’t forget, your waiting lounge or sofa is often the first thing customers see when they enter your establishment.

That means… you should always put your best “foot forward” and protect yourself from preventable issues.

To that end.

Before you start cleaning any type of upholstered fabric furniture, it is important to review the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, why?

If the item is on warranty, cleaning it using unrecommended methods may void the protection provided. Thus, if you discover a flaw before the warranty period expires, you may be stuck with faulty furniture. Remember, if the product didn’t come with a manual, there must be or rather should be a tag containing important facts such as how to clean the cushions or covers.

How do you clean a fabric sofa?

Cleaning equipment list:

  • Vacuum (with upholstery attachment)
  • Gentle clear dish soap
  • Horsehair Upholstery brush
  • Cleaning cloths
  • vinegar

Salon fabric upholstery cleaning method

When dealing with sensitive fabrics such as silk or linen, set suction to low, then vacuum right to left and vice versa (overlapping strokes). Also, to prevent large debris such as coins from being sucked in, cover the end of your vacuum with an old pantyhose or any other porous fabric.

Attack the stains

Stains on fabric furniture should be ‘attacked’ using water, combined with dishwashing soap and vinegar. The idea is to dampen a clean cleaning cloth in the solution then gently scrub, not rub!

How do I tell if the solution will work?

One mistake you might make when cleaning upholstery with homemade solutions such as the one above is cleaning without testing. See, there is no telling what type of soap or vinegar you’ll use and how it will interact with your fabric.

Consequently, we advise that you spot test your solutions on a small inconspicuous area such as the back of your sofa before cleaning.

Over-sudsing is a bad idea

Sudsing is simply lathering your couch in soapy water.

The issue here is some fabrics absorb water and that can cause a bad odour if the item doesn’t dry properly or if your cleaning supplies have strong fragrances.

So, we advise that you dip your horse hairbrush in the solution then gently “sweep” the fabric.

salon cleaning

How to clean vinyl fabric

Vinyl is a fabric made from petroleum, it is very common in salon upholstery because, one, it doesn’t absorb water and two, it is very easy to clean and doesn’t stain easily. You’ll also find vinyl on your car seats, clothing, and plenty of other items.

Just like cleaning fabric sofas, the first step when cleaning vinyl items is to vacuum. Vacuuming is important in that it removes debris that might cause staining during cleaning.

Use a sponge or clean cloth to clean vinyl

Horsehair brushes are not at all suitable for cleaning vinyl, so instead, use a sponge and soapy water.

Warning: never use harsh brushes, cleansers or solvents that contain abrasives on vinyl upholstery.

How to clean leather upholstery

The cleaning process for leather is pretty much the same as cleaning vinyl, but there are some exceptions such as:

  • you should never over wet leather.
  • leather should only be cleaned using a moisturizing soap.
  • equal parts of water and white vinegar removes road salt.
  • hydrogen peroxide and warm water prevent mould and mildew growth.
  • Non-gel toothpaste can get rid of stains on leather.
  • Baking soda removes oil and grease stains.

Part 2: Is professional upholstered furniture cleaning worth it?

rich snippets when searching for upholstered furniture

Knowing when to call a professional and when to do it yourself is a vital skill for any business owner. See the thing is, sometimes your actions serve to cause more damage, meaning, when you finally decide to get a professional. Your cleaning bill won’t be palatable. Consequently, this all boils down to one question:

How often should I have upholstered furniture professionally cleaned?

Overall, your upholstered furniture should be cleaned once every year, this is to ensure that your furniture looks its best for longer. This raises another question:

How much does it cost to clean upholstered furniture professionally in Australia?

According to home and personal experience, I can tell you that professional upholstery cleaning in Australia costs anywhere from $20 to $300 or more depending on the number of items, labour required, and cleaning supplies.

Some fabrics require extra attention; thus, prices will vary depending on your contractor.

Is professional furniture cleaning worth it?

The distinction between a pro cleaner and a DIY cleaner is, the former does it commercially, whereas the latter does it out of necessity. Meaning, with the right knowledge and tools, anyone can clean upholstery on a professional level.

If you think that’s impossible then try this, hire a professional cleaner, look at the equipment and detergents he or she uses plus the method, then replicate. I guarantee you will get the same results, 90% of the time.

The main challenge you might face is, you might not have enough money to get your hands-on professional cleaning equipment, but that is why the equipment renting industry exists. Furthermore, renting cleaning equipment is beneficial in that it cuts labour cost, thus, instead of looking at a $200 bill, you might only spend $50 renting cleaning equipment.

professional cleaners

This raises another question:

What equipment do I need to clean upholstery like a professional?

Generally speaking, the equipment you might need to clean upholstery, carpets, floors, and everything else in your salon include:

  • Spot cleaners/spotting extractor.
  • Vacuum cleaners plus upholstery attachments.
  • Steam vapour machines.
  • Floor scrubbers.

Having these items and knowing how to use them is a whole other topic, so take some time to learn how to use your cleaning equipment.

Things to consider before cleaning upholstered furniture

I won’t lie to you, cleaning upholstery is back-breaking work, especially for large salons or barbershops. Consequently, if you can’t muster a decent ‘volunteer’ force, then it is better to hire professionals, why?

You’ll get tired and that may push you to take shortcuts. But remember, you don’t have to clean everything in a single day.

To ensure successful cleaning, you should:

1.      Get the right detergents and cleaning equipment for your upholstery

Professional grade cleaning solutions often clean deeper and dry quicker, however, some detergents and cleaning equipment are not encouraged for regular use. Therefore, know what to use and how often to use it.’ We recommend cleaning upholstery on two levels:

  • Surface cleaning: should be done regularly or even daily to remove allergens, dust, and dirt. A good vacuum cleaner should get the job done.
  • Deep cleaning: the more customers you get/ the more abuse your upholstery gets the more often you should deep clean. Experts recommend deep/professional cleaning once or twice every year.

cleaning supplies

2.      Practice ‘safe cleaning’

A single stain or a bleached spot on your furniture can ruin the overall aesthetic of your salon, consequently, it is very important to test your cleaners before use. For example, undiluted hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, meaning, if some of it spills on your vinyl, fabric, or sofa. That item may require repair.

So, again, we advise that you test your cleaning solutions both homemade and commercial ones before use.

The point is, read the label on your furniture, if it says don’t do something, then avoid doing that thing!

3.      Consider the materials in your upholstered furniture

While cleaning the surface of your sofa or lounge chair, also consider what lies underneath. For example, cushion stuffing should be removed from the cover then soaked in soapy water for some hours to remove bad odours.

Furthermore, before you re-stuff upholstery make sure that the stuffing is completely dry to prevent mould and mildew. For feather stuffing, we advise against using regular detergents.

Remember, if your cushions, pillows or upholstery smells musty, it means that it is not completely dry. So, put it under the sun for some hours.

4.      Know the risks of DIY upholstery cleaning

DIY upholstery cleaning presents three main risks:

  • Chemical damage or fading caused by harsh detergents.
  • Wrong cleaning procedures damage fabric.
  • Too much water and lack of proper drying will cause mould and mildew growth.

If you know the risks, you will know how to counter them!

Why clean upholstered furniture regularly?

Your salon’s upholstery is exposed to a variety of chemicals, lots of visitors, dirt, coffee spills, water, and plenty of other things. In the long run, all these factors affect air quality, encourage the spread of germs and bacteria, affect appearance, and hinder comfort.

Have you noticed unexplained smells, allergic reactions, or staff getting sick too often?

The problem might be your upholstery, so, its best practice to keep your fixtures clean. Make sense?


In the end, upholstery care is about making your salon comfortable and saving you money in the long run. so, invest in the right kind of salon furniture, take proper care, and most importantly, clean your upholstery regularly using the right equipment, methods, and detergents.


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