Time to CleanWhat’s better than a late afternoon nap on your favorite sofa? What’s more enjoyable than reading a great book while snuggled in an overstuffed chair? Whether you are spending some quiet time alone or watching the big game with the whole gang, soft, comfortable upholstered furniture is usually the seating of choice.

Look under the cushions of a typical piece of upholstered furniture and you will usually find one or more tags. You probably don’t give them much thought, but understanding one of them may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

There is one tag that tells you the contents of the furniture. This tag is required by law. You may see “spun polyester” or “polyurethane foam” on that tag. It is important to note that the contents tag only tells you what is inside the furniture, not the fabric covering it.

As with everything else in your home, upholstered furniture requires proper care and cleaning. Pollution, allergens, dander, sweat and body oils stick to fabric and spots and spills do happen. It’s best to clean these fabrics before the soil builds up and spots become permanent stains.

Fortunately, most upholstered furniture will have a tag containing cleaning recommendations. As part of this tag you will find a cleaning code. Please note that these tags and codes are a guide to assist you in spot cleaning only. Overall cleaning should be left to the professionals at Bluegreen. According to the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), professional cleaning should be done every 12 to 24 months.

Many types of fabric are used to upholster furniture. Rarely will you find a tag that reveals the fiber content of the fabric covering the piece. This can create problems for consumers who want to know how best to care for the fabrics.

Fabrics are made from a variety of fibers including cotton, polyester, silk, rayon, nylon, polypropylene, acetate, acrylic, wool and blends. Each fiber is different and has its own unique characteristics, including how they can be safely cleaned. There are unlimited combinations of dye methods, colors and patterns as well.

A cleaning agent that works great on one fabric may produce disastrous damage to another. Shrinkage, browning, dye bleed, color loss and even fiber deterioration can occur if improper cleaning agents or methods are used. This kind of damage is usually not correctable.

The cleaning recommendations tag is designed to help choose the right cleaning and spotting methods to avoid bleeding, color loss, shrinkage and browning. Regardless of what the cleaning label states, test all cleaners in an inconspicuous area first.

Here are the cleaning codes and their meanings:

W – Spot clean only with water-based shampoo or foam upholstery cleaner. Do not over wet. Do not use solvents.

S – Spot clean only with a water-free dry cleaning solvent. Pretest a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding. Do not saturate. DO NOT USE WATER.

WS or SW – Spot clean with upholstery shampoo, foam from a mild detergent, or dry cleaning solvent.

X – Clean only by vacuuming or light brushing with a non-metallic, bristle brush. DO NOT USE ANY WATER- OR SOLVENT-BASED CLEANER.

When cleaning a spill, blot immediately to remove spilled material. Apply spotters sparingly so as not to over wet the spot. When cleaning spots or stains, work from the outside edge of the spot toward the middle. This helps prevent spreading the spot.

When your upholstered furniture requires a full cleaning, call Bluegreen. We will take the time to identify the safest and most effective method to clean your furnishings without risk of changing the color, texture or finish. As a final step, we also recommend that we refresh the fabric protector to help maintain the beauty of your upholstery for many years.