Upholstery Cleaning

August 6, 2011

25 years ago when I purchased my first brand new carpet cleaning machine I had a minimal amount of experience in the industry, so understandably I had a lot of questions. I fired off my seemingly endless list, listened carefully to the answers, and then had the salesman take me through a hands- on demonstration of how to clean carpet. Once all my concerns were addressed I started loading all my new equipment into my van and just as I was about to close the door the guy said “don’t forget this”. He held up another tool and said “it’s your upholstery tool. It hooks up to your machine so you can clean sofas.” Cool I thought; now not only can I clean carpet but I’m also a professional upholstery cleaner.

I’d like to say that because of that afterthought I went on to a successful upholstery cleaning business. NOT HARDLY!!!! After one ruined sofa (cost me $700), some almost ruined chairs, and a whole bunch of things that didn’t come clean, I figured it was time for another list of endless questions.

Unfortunately, most other cleaners out there have about that same amount of experience and knowledge when it comes to upholstery.

When it comes to fine fabric cleaning, thorough knowledge of fibers, fabrics, and everything related is not only helpful, but also crucial. This knowledge allows the true pro to qualify the work, and choose the safest, most effective cleaning method.

Fabrics are produced using many types of fiber and construction with different dyes, finishes, and coatings. For these reasons you cannot expect to safely clean every fiber type using only one specific cleaning technique. Today’s professionals must look well beyond the “wet cleaning” or dry cleaning” methods stamped on the furniture’s sewn on labels.

Today’s furniture comes in many different materials and styles and each one has definite do’s and don’ts when it comes to cleaning. Although microfiber and rayon velvet look similar, the difference in cleaning is huge. A properly trained professional needs to know how to identify the fiber, the weave (velvet, chenille, jacquard, etc.).  There are many published standards on how to effectively clean the plethora of textiles out there, and each of them has its own nuisances, but the basics to them all are all the same. The keys are:

  1. Fiber Characteristics: A pro better know how to identify what he’s cleaning.
  2. Yarn Construction: Know what causes problems.
  3. Fabric Construction: Understand different weaves (velvet, satin, jacquard, etc).
  4. Designs: Are they surface designs or woven in?
  5. Finishes and Coatings: Often on the back of the material as well and can easily be damaged.
  6. Dyes: Some are stable, some will easily bleed together.
  7. Trim: Arm covers, wood trim, welting, cushion foam, etc.

So, as you can see there is much more to cleaning your upholstery than just buying a tool and a machine. When considering a professional make sure to ask questions and check his credentials. If the answers you get are not satisfactory or sound at all made up, call somebody else.

Thanks for reading, next time we’ll talk stain protectors.


Vacuum Review: Simplicity Symmetry Classic

May 29, 2011








Symmetry Classic






16 lbs.

Cord length:


Available At:

Danny’s Vacuum Shop

1 Padre Pkwy # C
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(707) 584-0225


Residential: yes       Commercial yes        Heavy Duty no


Before I used this vacuum I was not sure that I was going to like it, but wow, was I pleasantly surprised. This is a very basic machine (I used the one with no tools), but with its quiet motor, ergonomic handle, and ease of use, I give it high marks. From pet hair to sand and everything in between this machine performed far better than many more expensive ones (even an occasional paper clip doesn’t slow it down). The front of the machine gets about as close to the wall as possible and the right side has an edge brush that also performed very well. It will lay flat to go under most furniture, but like most uprights the head is fairly tall so it probably won’t go under your bed.

The brush bar /beater bar is driven by a non ribbed rubber belt which means it has to be changed every few months. At about $1.50, and no tools required this is a small price to pay for a quality machine. It only has a foam filter filtration system so I recommend using genuine Simplicity HiFlow Hepa vacuum bags. They will give you all the filtration you need in most cases. The 24’ cord is also pretty short, but that can easily be replaced with a longer one.

The Symmetry Classic is primarily designed with residential vaccuming in mind. After using this vacuum though, I was so impressed that I bought one and put it in my carpet cleaning van. As a professional who’s always concerned with image I really like the looks of the machine. I use it multiple times every day and it always works perfectly. I keep waiting for it to break, but it’s just not happening. I did put a longer commercial cord on it, and I go through bands every few weeks, but without a doubt, this has been one of my favorite vacuums ever. I use a damp towel on it at the end of the day and it always looks great.

As with all vacuums, I use a 10’-12’ hose for the attachment tools (bought separately) because I find on-board tools with those 2’-3’ attached hoses to be useless. With the long hose you can leave the vacuum in the middle of the room, and out of the way when using the upholstery or edge tools.

With a price tag of about $300 this is not only a good machine but also a very good value. Five out of five stars here!!!





Golden Gate Carpet Cleaning

 643 Martin Ave. #3Rohnert Park, Ca. 94928 – 707-588-8879