Simplify Your Upholstery Cleaning System - II
Once testing, inspection, and qualification have told you "What It Is", "How it is Made", "What Happened To It", and "Why Does Your Customer Want it Cleaned", now you need to determine the products you will need to use.
The wide variety of products available and/or casually labeled for upholstery cleaning can create confusion that not only makes your cleaning product choice difficult, but could also result in bad decisions that may result in poor results at best, or cause damage claims as a worst case scenario!
Use the answers to the above questions to determine which products to use in the following way:
"What is it Made Of"
Synthetics (and durable, colorfast natural fibers and blends that are not susceptible to browning): Use a mildly alkaline, low wetting preconditioning detergent that has been especially formulated as an excellent upholstery pre spray. Rinse with a neutral detergent or acidic rinse.
Natural Fibers (those that might be susceptible to color bleeding, fading, or cellulose browning). Use a neutral or acidic low wetting detergent to precondition, and rinse with an acidic rinse. The choice in pH range should be dictated by dye sensitivity.
"How it's Made"
Weaves, surface designs, and finishes usually dictate which tools and processes to use, not the products. However, brightly colored jacquard weaves and prints do tend to be sensitive to high pH detergents and aggressive solvent spotters and should be tested carefully.
"What Happened to It"
Heavily soiled synthetics, especially oil loving polyester Microfibers, may require stronger detergents that use ammonia or "odorless ammonia" in their formulation, as well as solvent boosters, and/or color safe bleach additives.
Natural fibers that are stained and abused may respond to color safe bleach additives, but be sure to note that even "color safe bleaches" can fade sensitive dyes on some natural fiber fabrics as well as over whiten some "off white" fabrics.
"Why Does Your Customer Want it to be Cleaned?"
If your customer is most interested in stain removal, you'll need to test and strongly warn your customer about the risks of color and perhaps texture damage before you use aggressive pre conditioners and additives on natural fiber fabrics.
If your customer is more interested in preserving textures and color, then you need to make it clear to the customer that some soils and stains may remain or that you'll need to clean the product in a controlled plant environment to remove soils and stains more safely, and to have the time for extensive texture restoration processing.