Explaining Fabric Cleaning Codes

Purchasing upholstered furniture is a significant investment, one that promises comfort, aesthetic appeal, and longevity. However, the inevitable spills, dust, and daily wear mean that at some point, your cherished furniture piece will require cleaning. But how do you know the right way to clean your upholstered piece without causing damage? Enter: fabric cleaning codes. For the uninitiated, these codes may appear cryptic, but with our guide, you'll be a pro in no time.

What Are Fabric Cleaning Codes?

Each upholstered item comes with a label, often hidden under cushions or at the base, which carries a specific code. This code is the manufacturer's recommendation for cleaning the fabric without harming its texture, color, or longevity. The primary purpose is to prevent inadvertent damage that can occur when using the wrong cleaning method.

Breaking Down the Codes

There are typically four main cleaning codes you'll encounter:

W – Water-based cleaning agents

This code indicates that it's safe to use water-based cleaning solutions or mild detergents. Items with this label can generally handle gentle scrubbing, making them relatively straightforward to clean at home. To clean, use a soft cloth or sponge dampened with a mild soap solution, then blot gently and let air dry.

S – Solvent-based cleaning agents

For fabrics marked with 'S', only water-free, solvent-based cleaners should be used. These fabrics should never be cleaned with water as it can cause damage or leave unsightly rings. Given the potentially toxic nature of solvents, ensure the room is well-ventilated during cleaning, and consider wearing gloves. Dry cleaning services often align with this code.

SW or WS – Water or Solvent

This versatile code implies that both water-based and solvent-based cleaners are safe to use. It offers flexibility in choosing cleaning methods. However, always test any cleaner on an inconspicuous spot first.

X – Professional cleaning only

If your upholstered piece carries this code, it's a clear sign not to attempt cleaning it yourself. These fabrics can be sensitive and may be easily damaged by home-based cleaning methods. It's best to hire professional upholstery cleaners or consult the retailer for specific care recommendations.

Tips for Protecting Your Upholstered Furniture

Act Fast: When spills occur, act quickly! Gently blot (don’t rub) the spill with a clean, dry cloth to prevent it from setting.

Rotate Cushions: If possible, regularly rotate and flip cushions to ensure even wear and reduce the impact of sun fading.

Vacuum: Regularly vacuum your upholstered furniture to prevent dust and dirt from embedding into the fabric.

Avoid Direct Sunlight: Continuous exposure to direct sunlight can fade even the most resilient fabrics. If possible, position your furniture away from direct sunlight or use drapes.

In conclusion, understanding fabric cleaning codes is crucial in maintaining the beauty and longevity of your upholstered furniture. As you shop, consider both the aesthetics and the practicality of your chosen fabric, ensuring it aligns with your living habits and cleaning preferences. After all, the best furniture pieces are those that blend seamlessly with both your style and lifestyle.