I don’t know what manufactures codes mean and is it important that I understand them?
YES, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT! In the early 70`s Congress enacted a law that all fabrics must have care instructions on them. In some cases the fabrics are incorrectly labeled, but for the most part they can be helpful to the consumer if they know what they mean. As part of the labeling the spotting instructions printed on it tell you what to do. At the end of the label they tell you that for overall cleaning, have the upholstery cleaned professionally. Using the cleaning or spotting method that does not match the code, can cause permanent damage to your furniture.
The manufacturers care label is usually placed under the center cushion.
This code tells you that the fabric you have chosen can be safely professionally cleaned with water base detergents and spotters. You can expect with this fabric, the best results because the bulk of the soils and spills that happen to upholstery are also water based.
This code tells you that this fabric can also be professionally cleaned with water base detergents and spotters. However, this fabric is probably a blend and cannot be cleaned as aggressively as a fabric with a W code. The S portion of this code means that perhaps a dry solvent should be used.
This code tells you that this fabric can only be safely professionally cleaned with dry solvent. This fabric is of a delicate nature and cannot tolerate any water based detergents or spotters. The cleaning results directly relate to this code. Solvent cleans but does not produce the dramatic visual effects of a fabric cleaned with a water based procedure. To use water base procedures on a fabric with this code could be the cause of permanent damage to the fabric. This is a code the consumer should pay special attention to. Where this upholstery is to be used in the home is very important. A bedroom or low use living room would be acceptable, but a family room would not be a good choice.
This code tells the consumer that this fabric can only be vacuumed.
THERE IS NO SAFE WAY TO CLEAN THIS FABRIC!
Though it is rare, it does exist and the consumer should be aware of this potential problem.
Are their questions should I ask myself before I buy furniture?
YES: Fabrics bring color, texture, pattern, and comfort to the interior furnishings and surfaces of your home. Consumers make their initial fabric selection on the basis of how they look and how the fabric feels. I need to know what I need matches with what I want on a variety of levels.
The first questions that come to mind are:
Do I like this fabric?
Can I live with it?
Will it be comfortable?
Will this fabric wear as I expect it to?
After asking yourself these basic questions, the smart consumer should ask himself or herself what are the features and benefits of each fiber, weave, and finish:
Will it resist soil, stains, abrasion, and dampness?
Will sunlight fade the colors and affect the fibers?
How will the fabric I choose look in low light and bright sunlight?
What is the best way for me to maintain and clean this fabric?
How long can I expect it to last?
What do I choose if I have pets?
These are all good questions that need to be answered.
Would an upholstery buyer’s checklist help me know what I need?
YES! When purchasing expensive upholstery, you should ask yourself these questions:
WILL IT STAND THE TEST OF TIME?
As you are shopping for your upholstery, have a seat. Sit on it, as this is the only way you will know if that chair or sofa is the one for you. If you are looking at a recliner, recline in it. If it looks comfortable, it may not be. Is the sofa or chair too soft or too hard?
The construction of the frame is as important as the fabric you choose. If the frame is of poor materials and construction, the piece will not live up to your expectations. Most frames are made of kiln-dried hardwood to resist warping. Today, quality frames can also be manufactured of other good materials. Sometimes steel, plastic, laminated boards, or a combination of materials are used. High quality inner springs and/or webbing are an important detail to check.
If you go shopping knowing the right questions to ask, you will come home with the furniture you want. Check it out. You will be glad for a long time to come.
As you make your purchase, ask yourself these questions:
Are the seats comfortable?
Are the backs free of hard spots and bumps?
Is the frame sturdy, no creaks or wobbles?
Does the frame sit flat on the floor?
Are the corners glued and well braced?
Are the seams and welts straight?
Do the stripes and patterns all match at the seams?
Are the patterns centered?
Do all the cushions fit snugly?
Are the cushions resilient and hold their shape?
Are all buttons sewn securely?
Are heavy pieces covered in a tightly woven durable fabric?
Do the mechanisms is recliners and sleep sofas work smoothly?
Do moving parts have fabric clearance?
Do all fabrics require stain repellents?
I break fabrics into 3 categories as to the need for a stain repellent. One very important fact to remember is that any stain repellant, regardless of brand, is a plastic protective sheet. Some spills will stain a fabric whether it is protected or not. Read your warranties. The most effective stain repellents for upholstery are solvent base. These don’t make the fabric wet like water base would. The 3 categories are as follows:
Synthetic Fabric: Nylon, Polyester, etc. is easy to maintain and really doesn’t require stain repellent. Olefin is a synthetic fabric. It is one of the few fabrics that is naturally stain repellant by its chemical make-up. Stain repellent, most times, won’t stick to olefin and is no value to the customer.
Natural Fabric: Cotton, Haitian Cotton, etc. are extremely important to apply a solvent base stain repellent. It will make it easier for you to maintain and if you can’t get the stain out, more likely to come out with a professional upholstery cleaner, Jolly Carpet & Upholstery Cleaners, comes to clean it for you.
Synthetic with natural fiber blends: These blends are usually about 80% synthetic and 20% natural fibers. It is the natural part of the fiber blend you have to be careful. Depending on the blend determines how important a stain repellent treatment is. Usually it is nice, but not critical to treat.
Are all fabrics good in any area of use?
No. Synthetic fabrics are good for heavy use areas. They are easy to maintain and can effectively be steam cleaned for heavy soil removal. Typical areas of use would be playroom, family room, some living rooms, and similar areas. Natural fabrics are really only good in low use areas as they are more delicate and harder to maintain. In many cases they cannot be steam cleaned and if heavily soiled, cleaning results can be less than satisfactory.
Are Microfibers Fabrics?
No. Microfibers are a relatively new, rapidly growing category of fibers. The term: “Microfiber” is short for “Microdenier”, that is the woven fibers are less than 1 denier in size. Microfibers are approximately 100 times finer than a human hair. These weaves make up what the consumer has come to know as Microfiber Fabrics.
Microfiber Fabrics can be made from several different fibers, polyester, cotton, and nylon. Cotton and polyester are most common. They can be made to resemble many traditional fabrics including silk, suede, and many more. It all depends on how the fibers are combined to create the finished product.
The type of cleaning that can be performed depends on which Microfiber you chose, cotton, polyester, or nylon. Polyester and nylon can be very effectively steam cleaned with excellent results. Cotton has to be cleaned by a low moisture method because of the softer, more absorbent nap of the fabric. The nap of all 3 fibers should be properly set as it dries, by a professional cleaner at the completion of the process to ensure the new like look of the fabric.