What do you use to clean upholstery?
Most upholstery fabrics can be cleaned with water based cleaning. Some are only able to be cleaned with a volatile solvent cleaning; some should only be dry vacuumed. Water based cleaning is a more thorough cleaning because most soils are water-soluble. Solvents only work on certain types of soils and can't really remove the majority of soils on furniture such as common dust and body oils. Dry vacuuming is an important maintenance step, but can only remove what it loose and dry.
When purchasing upholstered furniture try to think about how the furniture is going to be used. For heavy use, with pets and children, in an active home, purchase practical, clean-able upholstery. Save your desires for the delicate fabrics for rooms that get little and cleaner use.
Furniture manufacturers will often put labels on pieces with cleaning recommendations. These are generally unreliable. For example one set of three pieces with identical fabric were marked with two different cleaning recommendations. One to water clean and two to dry clean only. The pieces were water cleaned to a like-new condition without any difficulty.
Testing before cleaning
Again, most fabrics can be cleaned with water and are more thoroughly cleaned that way. We always test fabrics before cleaning to reduce chances of unwanted side effects from the cleaning.
Because upholstered furniture is made and covered with more of an eye towards appearance and comfort than cleaning, there is always a chance that cleaning will have some unwanted side effects. These can be: bleeding, shrinking, change in texture or nap, and/or fading. The chances of these occurring are slim, most fabrics are clean-able, but it is best to realize ahead of time that sometimes things happen and it's not always possible to know ahead of time when they will.
Reducing those risks
One way to reduce the chances of negative side effects and keep your furniture looking its best is to clean it before it gets heavily soiled. A heavy buildup of layers of body oils and household dust, pet hair and whatever else is floating around and settling on your furniture can be very difficult to remove. Being more aggressive to remove soils is hard on the fabric and runs the highest risk of secondary damage. Also, the soils that build up can exacerbate and hide fabric wear, so when it does get cleaned you can uncover damaged fabric.
Caution must be used
Caution must be used when cleaning your upholstered furniture. The variables can be so many. There are so many different fabrics, that it is very difficult to go into an upholstery cleaning situation giving you the assurance that we normally do with a carpet cleaning situation.
Success is most common
95% of all the upholstery fabrics are ones that we have seen before. Usually they clean up just fine. Since you would most likely prefer to make an informed decision on your upholstery cleaning, we will always test an unknown fabric first. We try to eliminate as much of your risk as possible.