Upholstery Cleaning: Tips From the Pros

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When to Clean Your Upholstery

Upholstery, especially couches, are magnets for dirt, allergens, bacteria, stains, and germs. Fabric traps all these unwanted problems on your furniture, and you should have it cleaned at least once or twice a year, depending on usage and if you have pets.

And if you do happen to have a dog or cat, this adds a whole new level of dirtiness to your upholstery. Hair, drool, urine, feces, and the smell of dog can wreak havoc on your favorite sofa. 

So what is the best, most efficient way to clean your upholstery of all these problems without wrecking the fabric by shrinking, wrinkling, or making the colours run? Petsafe Vancouver Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning is the answer!

Petsafe professional carpet and upholstery cleaning Vancouver use high-powered truck-mounted steam cleaning units that reach temperatures of up to two hundred degrees Fahrenheit that eliminate dirt and bacteria. Our carpet and upholstery cleaning units also provide the strongest vacuum suction available. 

But what do you do if you spill a little wine on your sectional sofa or your pet has an accident on your favorite white loveseat? And you’re not ready for a professional upholstery cleaning quite yet?

Don’t worry! Here are a few tips and tricks to give your furniture a good touch-up in between a Petsafe Vancouver professional carpet and upholstery cleaning

Know Your Upholstery Cleaning Code

Starting in 1969, furniture makers began adding tags to help you determine the safest and best upholstery cleaning method. Take the time to find the label and follow the cleaning instructions. If there is no label, you will need to test a hidden area to see how the material will react if treated. One thing to keep in mind is that you NEVER want to over-wet the material. Too much moisture can cause mold and mildew to grow inside the cushions that can be a potential health risk near impossible to fix.

Code W

These fabrics can be cleaned with water-based cleaning solutions.

Code S

Use ONLY a water-free method or dry cleaning to remove dirt and stains. Also note, these solvents are often toxic or flammable, so be careful when upholstery cleaning using this method.

Code W / S

The upholstery can be cleaned using either the water-based or solvent-based method.

Code X

When you see Code X, avoid cleaning agents or chemicals, these fabrics should ONLY be cleaned by vacuuming or by a professional carpet and upholstery cleaner. If you try cleaning any upholstery with an X label, you run a severe risk of staining, shrinking, or permanently damaging your furniture.

What You Will Need

  1. Vacuum 
  2. Dishwashing Soap
  3. Warm Water
  4. Sponge or Microfibre Towel (2)
  5. Whisk
  6. Dry Cleaning Agent ( Only if the upholstery tag is labeled “S” )

Vacuum the Upholstery

The best thing you can do regularly to keep your upholstery looking clean and fresh is vacuuming. No matter what type of fabric your furniture is made of, doing this weekly will help remove dust, allergens, and dirt and keep your sofas looking fresh.

Choose the Right Vacuum 

When possible, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to capture as many allergens, pet dander, and dust as possible. Also, make sure your vacuum has a handheld attachment.

Vacuum the Sides

Start with taking the handheld attachment of the vacuum and slowly go over every inch of the upholstery. Don’t forget the lower parts and the backside, even if it’s against a wall.

Vacuum the Cushions

Use the crevice tool to clean in between the cushion and the frame. And if your furniture has removable cushions, make sure you thoroughly vacuum all sides.

Vacuum Underneath 

Don’t forget to tilt the couch over and vacuum under the furniture. This is also the perfect time to clean the flooring beneath.

Spot Clean Stains

Now is the time to give your upholstery a good look over and target any specific stains you see.

Blot away moisture and remove solids

When stains are liquid and wet, use a paper towel and blot away as much wetness as possible. Never rub in stains, as this will only push the problem deeper into the fibers and set it in. When a more solid mess such as ketchup or mayo falls on your upholstery, use a dull knife or card to lift away as much of the spill as possible. Then after it dries, you can use a soft-bristled brush to loosen any dried-up debris.

Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

By now, you should know your upholstery cleaning code. If the furniture can be cleaned with a water-based solution, mix a couple of teaspoons of dishwashing liquid into a cup of warm water in a bowl. Then use your whisk to create a few suds.

Treat Stain

Now that your water-based solution is ready, now is the time to take your sponge or microfibre cloth and dip it into your cleaning solution and rub away the stain. Keep changing to a clean area of the sponge or rag as the stain is transferred. You don’t want to spread the problem worse than it is.

Rinse and Dry

After treating the stain as best you can, now remove as much of the soap as possible. Rinsing is a crucial step, as any soap or solution left in your upholstery can leave it sticky and prime to attract even more soil than initially. Dip your sponge or towel in clean, clear water and blot away any cleaning solution. This step will need to be repeated a few times to remove all the solution, and also be sure to dry it thoroughly in-between to avoid overwetting your cushions causing possible mold.

Note – If your furniture has a tag marked “S” and requires a dry cleaning solvent, carefully follow the directions on the label.


Your furniture is where you and your family spend most of your time. As such, these pieces of upholstery need regular cleaning, or they can become quite dingy and beat-up over time. Keeping on top of the vacuuming and spot cleaning yourself in-between professional upholstery cleanings is a great way to keep your couches looking great for years.

But remember, nothing at home can replace the suction, power, and steam of a Petsafe Vancouver professional carpet cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning.

PetSafe Services in the Lower Mainland

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*up to 200ft² and 14 stairs, rooms can’t be combined

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frequently Asked Questions

Of course not!  We are happy to clean any carpet. In fact homes with pets are sometimes in the worst condition, which makes us better suited for any job you can throw at us.

We ask that you remove as much small furniture and clutter off the floor before our arrival.  Remove any breakables off shelves that may be in the technicians way. It may also be a good idea also to give it a quick vacuum if there is a lot of debris. Don’t worry about moving your sofas, we will be happy to do that for you.

All carpet takes different amounts of time to dry depending on type and fabric and type of cleaning required but generally between 3-10 hours. 

A single area in the home includes a bedroom, hallway, sitting room, dining room or up to 14 steps. Living room / Dining room combos, rec rooms or great rooms are considered as 2 areas. 

Sorry rooms cannot be combined. Rooms with furniture and hallways can actually be more time consuming than larger areas because the dirt and soil tend to build up a lot heavier over the high traffic areas. Plus with furniture in the room we have a lot more edging to do and moving and putting furniture on protective padding.

Yes and no. We are happy to move things like sofas, coffee tables, and small furniture. Plus anything we move is placed under protective  blocks or pads. Items we do not move under any circumstances are beds, dressers, electronics, china cabinets or any other large heavy items.

PetSafe or no other carpet cleaner can ethically guarantee 100% stain or smell removal. We are trained in a variety of methods and solutions and will try to do our best, but factors such as how long the stain has been there?, is problem in the underlay?, type of carpet?, age? Also if the carpet has been protected in the past can play a huge role if a stain is removable or not. But we do have a policy that if you pay for a specialty spot removal and we cannot remove the stain you will not be charged for that service.

PetSafe stands behind our work and offers a 30 day satisfaction guarantee. If there is a concern with any part of your cleaning we will be happy to come back and reattempt any areas free of charge.

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