Cotton upholstery, dry clean only?

Sapphire Steamer

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Hey folks,

Wanted to bounce this tag off your heads to see if you've been in this situation before. Ran into this huge, custom made sectional couch that was designed for the room it was in in a high end home. I'd guess easy $10,000+ item. Tag shows it's 60% cotton and that's a red flag for me, Google search said wet cleaning can damage it. No cleaning codes were included. I told her it's likely dry clean only and would do some research. I steam clean and typically run Prochem all fiber rinse in the solution line. Did I dodge a bullet?

Any advice or knowledge will help me out now and in the future!

Thanks guys!

- Bret

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Mama Fen

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Most "dry clean only" tags are meant for the buyer, not for the professional cleaner. Many, if not most, "dry clean only" upholstery pieces can indeed be cleaned with HWE.

Also, please note that the 60% cotton you reference is fill content, not fiber content (the terms batting and foam tell you this). Nothing on those tags tells you ANYTHING about what the actual fabric is - everything listed is filler for the cushioning.
This is still of concern, since wet cotton batting can brown up and wet duck-down can smell terrible, but don't mis-read the label - very few of them actually tell you what the fabric is.
 
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OxiFreshGuy

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I just tell all customers there is a risk to cleaning if it is a natural fiber. The mistake most rookies make is to over-saturate when cleaning upholstery, turn your PSI down to 100 or better yet get a sapphire upholstery waterfall tool. I barely mist a pre-spray when I clean upholstery and when I am done cleaning its damn near dry already.

Never had a browning issue in my career so far of 7+ years. If it's a natural fiber use an acidic pre-spray.
 

sbsscn

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Ive said it before and ill say it again

Identify the fiber 1st. do burn test

Cottons can be cleaned with water but
some cellulose or regenerated fibers are a pain in the neck.

depending on fiber the method will vary
 
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sbsscn

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Hey folks,

Wanted to bounce this tag off your heads to see if you've been in this situation before. Ran into this huge, custom made sectional couch that was designed for the room it was in in a high end home. I'd guess easy $10,000+ item. Tag shows it's 60% cotton and that's a red flag for me, Google search said wet cleaning can damage it. No cleaning codes were included. I told her it's likely dry clean only and would do some research. I steam clean and typically run Prochem all fiber rinse in the solution line. Did I dodge a bullet?

Any advice or knowledge will help me out now and in the future!

Thanks guys!

- Bret

View attachment 98787
it is not a good practice for a "professional"/ "cleaner" to "google"

I recommend taking a IICRC class and may as well get certified, you wont regret it, plus its deductible and youll have a reason to increase/raise your price
 

wandwizard

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Hey folks,

Wanted to bounce this tag off your heads to see if you've been in this situation before. Ran into this huge, custom made sectional couch that was designed for the room it was in in a high end home. I'd guess easy $10,000+ item. Tag shows it's 60% cotton and that's a red flag for me, Google search said wet cleaning can damage it. No cleaning codes were included. I told her it's likely dry clean only and would do some research. I steam clean and typically run Prochem all fiber rinse in the solution line. Did I dodge a bullet?

Any advice or knowledge will help me out now and in the future!

Thanks guys!

- Bret

View attachment 98787
I think this may help you and no doubt some others. If anything is going to come out of the blue and bite you really, really hard in your rear end, it will be cleaning upholstery and area rugs if you don't have a clear understanding of what you're doing and what you're dealing with. This kind of stuff for many years was never available, even on the net so count yourself lucky that some are freely giving advise away that used to cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Here is a VERY good start to learning the proper way to clean upholstery for FREE. I wished this stuff was available when I started out in 1987 and didn't even know the IICRC or upholstery cleaning classes existed.

This is a 12 video series.

This is a good, but fairly long single class for a good overview.
 
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sbsscn

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I think this may help you and no doubt some others. If anything is going to come out of the blue and bite you really, really hard in your rear end, it will be cleaning upholstery and area rugs if you don't have a clear understanding of what you're doing and what you're dealing with. This kind of stuff for many years was never available, even on the net so count yourself lucky that some are freely giving advise away that used to cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Here is a VERY good start to learning the proper way to clean upholstery for FREE. I wished this stuff was available when I started out in 1987 and didn't even know the IICRC or upholstery cleaning classes existed.

This is a 12 video series.

This is a good, but fairly long single class for a good overview.
Pat is awesome!

I learned from him and got my certification because of his passion to teach and experience
 

lostov

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Hi guys! Rookie here...
Unfortunately did some damage to a natural fiber chairs which caused a lot of browning...basically from almost white become ...different color.....
Learning the hard way it is entirely my fault....
I am hoping to be able to revert the color/damage...because otherwise got to sale my business to be able to pay thay expensive Italian chairs....
My mistakes were a lot water with HWE..slow drying..and using 8-10 pH chemistry....
And I got the right chemicals for such a delicate stuff and my stupidity is the only reason here.....
Beside asking for HOW ,can someone tell me IF that can be corrected please??
I am going to approach the job in few hours..and was thinking to rinse them with acidic rinse, got 2 kinds, one is 3,5 and the other around 6 pH..First will measure the pH on the chair,but surely is positive pH...
I will add some photos below...first being the original creamy,almost white color and the rest..is the damaged ones...
Thank you in advance!
I will appreciate any input!
God bless !
 

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Sapphire Steamer

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Hi guys! Rookie here...
Unfortunately did some damage to a natural fiber chairs which caused a lot of browning...basically from almost white become ...different color.....
Learning the hard way it is entirely my fault....
Hey bro! Sorry to hear this happened to you. It happened to me too about six months ago, I got some great advice from the folks on this forum. I will link the thread here.

I wouldn't put more moisture on it, the materials on the tag show the contents of the stuffing, not the fiber. But the cotton stuffing could have browned through, which is what happened to me. I now turn down high end natural fiber pieces until I learn how to do solvent cleaning (shampooing).

I hope the information in this thread helps. I ended up not cleaning it again, I used Prochem Yellow RX diluted the in the correct ratio in a hand spray bottle with a light mist, then quick dried with a fan. I repeated this process many times, I would pick up the chairs and do this in your garage to allow plenty of time to experiment and do repeated applications. I didn't have as much browning as some of those chairs, but I was able to correct it. Hope it works for you too. You can always do a dry vacuum on it after the repair process is complete and it's fully dry to get out any lingering product.

Don't sell your business over it, find the solution. Most people are reasonable and will accept your attempt to fix the problem. File a claim on your insurance as a last resort before you consider selling your truck! You got a lot more jobs to go bro, this is how we learn!

At the end of the day, they are just chairs.

SENDING POSITIVE VIBES AND GOOD LUCK! Please let us know how it goes!

Thread here:
 
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lostov

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Hey bro! Sorry to hear this happened to you. It happened to me too about six months ago, I got some great advice from the folks on this forum. I will link the thread here.

I wouldn't put more moisture on it, the materials on the tag show the contents of the stuffing, not the fiber. But the cotton stuffing could have browned through, which is what happened to me. I now turn down high end natural fiber pieces until I learn how to do solvent cleaning (shampooing).

I hope the information in this thread helps. I ended up not cleaning it again, I used Prochem Yellow RX diluted the in the correct ratio in a hand spray bottle with a light mist, then quick dried with a fan. I repeated this process many times, I would pick up the chairs and do this in your garage to allow plenty of time to experiment and do repeated applications. I didn't have as much browning as some of those chairs, but I was able to correct it. Hope it works for you too. You can always do a dry vacuum on it after the repair process is complete and it's fully dry to get out any lingering product.

Don't sell your business over it, find the solution. Most people are reasonable and will accept your attempt to fix the problem. File a claim on your insurance as a last resort before you consider selling your truck! You got a lot more jobs to go bro, this is how we learn!

At the end of the day, they are just chairs.

SENDING POSITIVE VIBES AND GOOD LUCK! Please let us know how it goes!
Thank you very much for the kind word!
Yes, we live and learn,although sometimes the hard way.
Did try second time to clean them, this time with proper chems and acid rinse,but since angain was HWE although dried pretty quickly, couple of hrs, still same color as result appeared..
As last resort with what I had, rub some 6% oxygen peroxide on the back of one of them...looked very promising after drying to 95% was still whity...will go back today after 24 hrs to check if it remained white or again unpleasant surprise will I have...
The bottom part/panel ot the right chair below for reference...
 

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wandwizard

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Well, if nothing else you've provided a real life example of what fabric browning really is and what it is not. This was caused not just by over wetting which may have been a factor, but by the ph of the product you used. It sounds like you know what you did wrong and all of us have made mistakes. I've seen fabrics so sensitive to ph that they literally turned dark brown on contact with my cleaning agent. I've also seen really bad browning situations totally reversed like it never happened that I did not cause. I would have hand shampooed those chairs with a fine fabric shampoo or a Haitian cotton shampoo with an upholstery bonnet or sea sponge if you have it. Then either dry extract or extract with either just soft water or an acid rinse. You want to leave that fabric in a near neutral or slightly acid side ph to dry. I'd definitely follow this with terry cloth towels to remove as much moisture as possible. This likely is reversible, but you will likely need to rewet the entire piece so as not to leave behind another problem which would be water marks. All natural fibers are prone to browning. I believe many old timers would have done those with Haitian cotton shampoo, but I find a good fine fabric shampoo is usually all I need and never a problem. Haitian cotton shampoo and some labelled for fine fabrics have sodium meta-bisulfite in them which essentially is coffee stain remover (same chemical). This chemical smells bad, but helps prevent browning on sensitive fabrics. I've totally reversed serious browning before with just a good acid rinse and I would go with the lower ph of maybe 3 or 4 and see if that gives you good results if you go that route. I would also put fans on them immediately following cleaning. Almost all the really bad problems with upholstery happen WHILE THE FABRIC IS DRYING OUT!!!!!! Using proper chems for the fabric you're cleaning and getting it dry quick is about as close to a guarantee you won't have a problem as you can get.

You make this sound like it is a serious thing for you and I know how expensive some chairs can be. If you can find a way to get into a good hands on upholstery class it would be good. If necessary you might want to contact a more experienced cleaner in your area for help. Btw, always be extra careful with any cushion with down feathers.
 
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Joe cool

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Fast dry foam shampoo or Haitian cotton shampoo with a new yellow car sponge . Use only the foam head . Rinse with water or prochem deep fiber rinse. Last I use a cotton Terry bath towel to remove and moisture and cleaning lines top to bottom . This is how I clean 95% of all upholstery for 30 years and no complaints .