Yes it’s true, water – plain old drinking water could ruin your upholstered chairs, sofas, armchairs and settee’s – permanently. Not only water but steam from very hot water too.
So lets look at them independently and explain why it could cost you thousands of pounds by making such a common mistake.
Well there is a fabric at the moment - that from my own personal experience, is one of the most common and popular materials currently on the market because of various factors, but I’ll leave that for another article. Anyway, this fabric is called Viscose (otherwise known as Rayon). It is a manmade fibre – but using natural materials i.e. wood pulp which is structurally similar to cotton, and almost pure cellulose. It’s been around for many many years.
But just by looking round the furniture shops, you will see viscose sofas absolutely everywhere, it is usually a high sheen pile fabric that looks gorgeous and feels beautiful. You can see why people love the fabric, in particular females!
Anyway, here is the danger: When water (or anything water based like drinks, wet hands etc) come into contact with it – the fibres swell fat and then stay that way when dry. Because these fibres stay fat they reflect light MASSIVELY compared to the unaffected fibres. So you can see the wet patch from a fair distance and you cannot do anything about it (it is always going to be lighter and often looks like a different colour!). You now have a permanent patch that cannot be cleaned away and will look this way until such time the rest of the fabric has been marked in the same way, or heavily soiled to disguise it.
Viscose fibres (in pile form) can weaken by 40% when wet so you cannot routinely clean it with water – and so it is also vital that no-one eats or drinks anywhere near this fabric. Please note, that this is no fault of the fabric – there is no fabric that says you can routinely spill anything on it (eating and drinking in particular) and clean it without causing damage. Sofas and chairs etc should just be sat on only (like all items)! The retailers or manufacturers are not responsible for anyone’s eating and drinking habits unfortunately! We have seen viscose items still looking beautiful after many years, and by having them regularly dry cleaned can keep them looking good. [dry cleaning will not remove water based stains i.e. from drinks/foods etc].
So, do you have a viscose piece of furniture?
Plain Water (via steam cleaner):
Have you seen those adverts for steam cleaners lately? They can be good items to clean with (not professionally of course!) to lightly maintain a floor etc, but some of these machines have upholstery attachments to ‘clean upholstery’. Well unfortunately steam on it’s own will not clean upholstery – all you will be doing is making it very hot or removing slight amounts of soil if using an absorbant pad that is attached.
So where is the danger in this you say? Well there is no danger on some fabrics – but on others there definitely are! If you have a synthetic fabric then the chances are that you will completely ruin your sofas etc by this method. You see synthetic yarns have a melting point – which actually isn’t that high. By going over your suite with a steamer could actually melt the fibre tips and distort them permanently! We have seen this on 4 occasions recently where people have attempted to ‘clean’ their suite ‘the cheap way’ by using one of these steam cleaners, and then proceeding to ruin it forever - with the imprints of the steamer attachment all over it! This melting cannot be reversed or cleaned away!
So, do you have a synthetic sofa or chair?
So is there a moral to this story? Well yes there is – by trying to save money by attempting to do these things yourself, will probably cost you much much more instead.
Author: Kevin Loomes