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Is there a fast way to clean Upholstery?

Wow, somebody turned my phone back on. Was it accidentally switched off for January, February and most of March?

Does anyone out there do upholstery?

I am using the Enviropro upholstery cleaner with a portable 3 gallon cold water extractor (janilink carpet spotter). I vacuum like crazy, pre-scrub the stains, often with a hydrogen peroxide cleaner (got to be careful of bleaching) and then I use the extractor. The process works fairly well, but it doesn't get the hard stains out.

Also it takes darn near FOREVER to clean furniture this way. Whenever upholstery is involved in a job, I run way over the budgeted time. Does anybody have suggestions to speed up upholstery cleaning? Keep in mind that I can't/won't use any VOCs except maybe ethyl alcohol. Upholstery is a real efficiency killer for me.

I just did two sofas labeled non-water washable with water today. I ignored the warning because it was a good sturdy looking polyester, and the test patch came out great. Non water washable? It came out fine. What gives?

Re: Is there a fast way to clean Upholstery?

for just that reason I sub out upholstery. the results are too dicey and I can spend 1 hour cleaning a couch when in that hour I could be making $240 or more on carpets.

Re: Is there a fast way to clean Upholstery?

Mike's approach is fine if have every available hour booked.
But if that's not the case, then - if you have the nerve - cleaning upholstery can be worth your time. You have to go into it realizing that not every stain is going to be removeable. As I've mentioned on this Forum before, I use my small 6" orbital stair tool as my primary upholstery cleaner, and it serves my purposes well. I also dry vac first with a Royal Dirt Devil - the so-called "Classic" model, which has a rotating brush driven by a rubber belt. The cheaper Dirt Devil which has a brush driven by air flow is useless. I also have an upholstery-only guy, who I refer a job to if for whatever reason I am uncomfortable with working on a particular piece.

There will always be spots you are unable to remove. I have found it useful to go "Googling" now and then, with keywords such as upholstery, fabric, stains, etc., and see what comes up. Customers also need to understand that not every stain can be removed. I believe strongly in empowering the customer. If I am experiencing difficulty of any sort, I remind the customer of my guarantee: if you (the customer) think that someone else might be more successful in whatever it is you are having some trouble with, then have someone else come in and give it a try. If they get better results, you will reimburse them IN FULL what they paid you. Of course, I also remind them that, if the results are no better, they do not get a reimbursement, and they will have paid twice. I think this approach covers the interests of both sides. It relieves you of having to be a practitioner of magic, and enables the customer to feel comfortable about using your service, referring you to others, writing nice comments about you on Angieslist, etc.

Re: Is there a fast way to clean Upholstery?

Thanks for the responses.

I've mostly been getting good results with upholstery using water extraction. I definitely don't have the luxury of turning the work away or subcontracting.

I will just have to struggle with my slow method for now or maybe buy a wider head for my little extractor.

Re: Is there a fast way to clean Upholstery?

I use the PB3 ultimate water extractor from US Products and it does a great job. Also, Von Shreider upholstery cleaning machine is a great tool for cleaning microfiber and leather furniture

Cleaning Upholstery is a lot of work but profit is good !

Re: Is there a fast way to clean Upholstery?

Hi John,
I found that folex spot remover works wonders on those grimy head and arm rests. Also a good stain remover. It's non toxic and can be found at home depot. A V.S dry foam machine is a good "dummy proof" way to clean. In fact I have one that I'm looking to get rid of for cheapo. It's not faster than Marks method but it works better. Free free to email me if you want for information on it.

Re: Is there a fast way to clean Upholstery?

Okay ... I'll eat some crow.

I did 3 upholstery jobs last week. This coming on the heels of my earlier post that I'd rather sub out the work. Truth of the matter if it's me I'll do the job.


Re: Is there a fast way to clean Upholstery?

I did a sectional sofa yesterday (composed of 2 sofas, one corner chair, and one "chaise"-type of seat.) It looked fearful at first, but once I started disassembling it, it turned out that mostly what it needed was a good dry vacuuming. Very few real spots, or areas with accumulated soil, at all. I billed it at $275 ($30 per seat, plus $65 for the chaise), and I was done in about 1.5 hours. This was on top of about $150 in carpet cleaning.

Re: Is there a fast way to clean Upholstery?

What tools did you use to clean it and with what chems?

Re: Is there a fast way to clean Upholstery?

The heavy duty dry vacuuming was done with my Royal Dirt Devil so-called "Classic" model. It has strong suction AND a rubber belt-driven roller brush. It sells for about $80 at vac stores that sell Dirt Devil products. There is a cheaper model that has an air-driven roller brush, but the airflow isn't strong enough to keep the brush spinning when any pressure is being applied to the fabric.
I used a thumbnail here & there while dry vacuuming when I came upon any dried food residue, to pry it off and/or break it up into small particles. I used my 6" orbital stair tool with 8" damp pads to work on the areas which take more use, such as the top of the seat cushions and the arms. I spray cleaning solution lightly onto these areas with a 2-quart mini pump sprayer. I use the small pads by hand to wipe down the sides and back, and any other areas where little or no soiling is evident.

Re: Is there a fast way to clean Upholstery?

What cleaner did you use on the furniture Mark?