Benefits of using a professional upholstery cleaner
Benefits of using a professional upholstery cleaner
Throughout the UK DIY (Do It Yourself) upholstery cleaning machines are readily available in most supermarkets, hire shops and other commercial establishments. These come with little or no instructions on best practice, the correct cleaning techniques or whether certain fabrics are wet cleanable.
Pre-clean inspection survey
The first thing that a professional upholstery cleaner will do is a pre-clean inspection and survey. The pre-clean inspection survey is to check the age and if the piece of furniture has previously been cleaned, the level of soiling, any stains and any possible hidden stains. Whether the fabric could shrink, any watermarks or swelling, loose wood stains, wear and fading, loose braids, fringes and ruches.
From this information, the cleaning technician can adequately set the customers expectations and provide real results pricing the job appropriately.
Next, the cleaning technician will conduct a fibre type dye stability test, this is to ensure that no colours run into each other and this is completed by testing two different cleaning products and blotting to see if the colours are loose or set. Next, we’ll test for any possible shrinkage and distortion (on velvet) to ensure that the fabric can be safely wet cleaned. The reason for the distortion test is to ensure that velvet is wetly cleanable as some are dry cleanable only and we’d like to find this information out before booking the job so that we can clean this with the correct method.
All the above steps are completed before cleaning the upholstery. This is what makes up the pre-clean inspection survey for upholstery cleaning. If you have ever booked an upholstery clean previously and they have turned up with their machine and got stuck in consider whether they cleaned your upholstery correctly or is a “splash, cash and dash” operator.
The first step of the cleaning operation is to dry vacuum with our professional SEBO BS36 (the same vacuum cleaner that is used in Buckingham Palace) to vacuum all dry soil, dust and other pollutants to prevent this from turning into a muddy residue. We will power vacuum to extract all dry soil from the upholstery including edges, corners, folds and crevices.
Next, we’ll commence the cleaning process which is subject to the pre-clean inspection survey which would have guided us to the correct cleaning method. There are four types that can be used, we don’t just rock up with our machine and switch it on as there’s
- low moisture cleaning
- hot water extraction
- dry solvent cleaning.
Each cleaning method is specific to different types of fabric/soiling.
Next, we will treat spots and stains using the correct stain remover to lessen the risk of spreading during cleaning e.g. ball-point ink.
We carry 15 popular stain removers on our vehicles to treat a range of water-based and solvent stains including chewing gum, gloss and oil to name a few.
After treating the spots and stains, we’ll then restore the finish to the fabric by rinse neutralising and brushing and grooming the fabric (this restores the nap to its natural resting position).
Depending upon circumstances, it may be necessary after cleaning for you to ventilate the area with a window or we’ll use a mechanical air mover to allow ventilation throughout your home. This aids the drying process by changing the air within the room, speeding up the drying process.
Our final task is to deodourise the upholstery once the clean has taken place. We use a scent called fresh breeze and it’s gorgeous. Imagine you’ve just opened the washing machine and can smell fresh linen, it’s that exact scent, just 10 times stronger!
The above should take two visits. One visit to carry out a pre-clean inspection survey to set client expectations, followed by the cleaning visit. Sometimes it’s not possible to complete a pre-clean survey. So we still carry out the above, before cleaning, combined into the one visit.
Whilst cleaning upholstery there’s a lot of chemistry behind the operation and whilst carrying out a clean, there’s a lot more than just shampooing the fabric. To effectively clean the upholstery the operator must change the pH of the fabric to release dirt and return it to its resting position.
The operator should be aware of dangers associated with the pH scale to avoid using water-based cleaning detergents of mixes that are too strong and would damage upholstery fabrics. If the fabric is left at the wrong pH after cleaning this can cause grease and dirt to attract and attach to the fibres faster so your furniture will look dirty quicker because it attracts dirt, dust and grease on the body contact areas.
All of the above steps are what a professional upholstery cleaning technician should be following when cleaning upholstery, however, I know far too well that operators buy DIY machines and advertise on social media “PROFESSIONAL UPHOLSTERY CLEANS – FREE QUOTES!” and this strikes me because anyone on social media can give themselves any name without any proof of institutional training. Without training, business insurance is void. If the operator hasn’t bothered to pay £140 for a days training, or two days to become an advanced upholstery cleaner, with further training available for stain removal and carpet cleaning. What are the chances of the uninsured operator replacing your furniture once they’ve made an irreversible mistake? Slim to none. Because by this point they’ve taken your cash and are onto the next job.
So, before you book your next upholstery clean – check the operators’ credentials. Although not yet the law, upholstery cleaners should be part of a trade association. We are members of the NCCA (National Carpet Cleaners Association) established in 1968, the NCCA is the only nationally recognised trade association dedicated to the cleaning, restoration and protection of carpets, hard flooring and upholstery.
The NCCA believes it can uphold its promise to potential customers, that every one of its members holds a recognised qualification, is fully insured for their work and can provide the highest standards of service and professionalism within the industry.
Read or leave a review on our Trusted Local Cleaner members portal if you have received a carpet or upholstery clean from us by clicking here.
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