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Using a Steam Machine

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Most Upholstery fabrics recommend only professional cleaning, regardless of the cleaning code. The following information assumes you are willing to take responsibility for the results. Even though an upholstery fabric is coded as W, most labels still will not recommend home steam cleaning. Instead, the label will read professional cleaning or spot cleaning using the foam only.

There are many advantages to using a steam cleaner to clean your furniture. For one, it is relatively easy to do and steam cleaners can be rented at your local grocery store. Steam cleaning is the easiest way to deep clean furniture because it uses vacuum like suction to remove extra water and reduce drying time. In addition, the steam and hot water kills dust mites and many common allergens that may be trapped in your furniture.

It is best to vacuum the furniture before steam cleaning to remove surface dust. Use the steam cleaner according to the directions on the machine. Use a VERY diluted cleaner mixture. Professional quality cleaners (available at KJ’s)  are ph balanced and will gently clean with no undesirable residue if done correctly.  The idea of steam cleaning (which is actually hot water at a high pressure) is to break up and extract dirt, so the added cleaner only plays a small role. Go over your entire sofa with the steamer. Apply even moisture and have plenty of dry passes to suck up as much water as possible. Store bought cleaning solutions are also available; just make sure you are using one specifically for steam cleaning.

Also, if you are cleaning an area that has been steam cleaned before, you might want to spend a few more dollars to get some anti-foaming solution. This basically prevents extra sudsing that might occur from cleaning solution dried in the furniture from the last time it was cleaned. When cleaning, do not remove cushion  or arm covers for separate cleaning because this may ruin the backing or cause shrinkage. It is a good idea to set up fans to dry your furniture once you have finished steam cleaning; this allows them to dry quickly and thoroughly, thus reducing the chances of mildewing.

Remember that steam cleaners do an overall and general cleaning job. If your furniture is stained, you should pre-treat the areas and try to remove the stains before steam cleaning. As a home spotter, white vinegar and water is safe, but your best success in stain removal is to use a stain remover specific to the type of stain. Professional products are available from KJ’s. As always, do a test spot to ensure your fabric can tolerate the cleaning.
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