Cleaning 101

The Objective of Soft Surface Cleaning

To remove the foreign substances from the fabric being cleaned, without damaging the fabric, without reducing to any degree the serviceability or aesthetic value of the object (chair, carpet, etc.). 

Basic instructions...

Soft Surface Cleaning: Spray, Wipe, Rinse, Repeat. Mix 1 oz. of Super Concentrate to 1 qt. water in spray bottle. Pre-spray affected area. Do not over wet, fabric should feel damp. Allow 3-5 minutes for pre-spray to dwell. While waiting, wet Green Mitt in hot water. Wring out thoroughly, leaving Green Mitt damp. Massage into fabric with a back and forth motion. Frequently rinse and wring out Green Mitt in hot water to release stain materials. Repeat as needed.

Detailed instructions...

Step 1. Honest Evaluation 

Before you jump into cleaning your soft surfaces you need to set the right expectations. Here are some things to consider...

  • How old is the fabric
  • Has this piece ever been professionally cleaned?
  • What color is it?
  • How much use does it get?
  • How much use has it had (pets, kids, daily, special occasions, etc.)?
  • What type of fabric is it?
  • How soiled is it? - You can check this with a dust test.
  • How stained is it?
  • Does it have sun exposure?
  • What type of care does it get from you? 

All of these factors should help set your expectations. The type of fabric, use, soiling, color, and care all have an affect on your ultimate results. Keep in mind that fabric staining happens when color is added or taken away. Bleach takes color away. Dyes add (popsicles, mustard, Pedialyte). These are permanent stains.   

Step 2. Dry Soil Removal - Vacuuming 

This is both the most important cleaning step and the most neglected. Skip at your own risk. This pertains to all soft surfaces. Below is an upholstery example. 

Loosen dry soil by pounding on cushions. Use a vacuum, ideally with good suction and an upholstery tool attachment. Go over each section of fabric slowly and methodically. A good vacuuming for a standard size arm chair should take approximately 3-5 minutes. A full size sofa should take 10-15 minutes. 

Depending on the level of soiling, some more soiled pieces will benefit from a pre-conditioning. 

Step 3. Pre-Conditioning - Dwell Time

Spray your fabric with the diluted Clean Safe Products Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner. A spray applied to the more soiled areas will loosen ground in soils. Apply to fabric so it's damp but not overly wet. Let dwell for 5 minutes. Do not let fabric dry.

Step 4. Green Mitt It!

Wet your Green Mitt in hot water and wring out thoroughly, leaving Green Mitt damp. Massage into fabric with a back and forth motion. Frequently rinse and wring out Green Mitt in hot water to release stain materials. Repeat as needed.

The 2 Bucket Method...

The "2 Bucket Method" refers to a cleaning strategy that uses one bucket for the Super Concentrate mix, and one bucket for rinsing. The idea is to not soil the cleaning solution with the dirty Green Mitt after use. The Green Mitt should be put in a separate bucket of fresh hot water and wrung out, leaving the soils behind. Then re-submerge the Green Mitt back into the bucket with the Super Concentrate and continue cleaning.

One benefit to this method is you'll visibly see the discoloration of the water in the rinse bucket. That's the Green Mitt doing it's job!