Ron Lawrence

How to Clean Fabric & Upholstery?

fabric pillows

Our recent posts have explained the differences in types of fabrics. There are industrial, manmade and natural fabrics available for manufacturing and construction and all have their own unique traits.

But there is one common factor across all types of fabrics and that is that fabric and upholstery gets dirty over time or after enough use, wear and tear.

There are some types of fabrics that are easier to clean than others but there are some standard principles to apply when it comes time to clean fabric and upholstery.

DIY FABRIC & UPHOLSTERY CLEANING

Here is the correct approach to clean fabric and upholstery. You first want to find a clean, white cloth and dampen it with warm water. Then gently dab the stain or dirt on the upholstery in order to absorb as much of the contents of the dirt and stain as possible.

There are times when just some warm water will be able to eliminate a stain on furniture or clothing and other times will require more advanced methods of cleaning.

Difficult stains on fabric and clothing are a little easier than furniture. For clothing and fabrics, you can throw them into your washing machine and add some stain removal products. Just be sure to read the labels on the clothing in order to determine the proper methods for using the washing machine.

You can also remove difficult stains on fabric with club soda. The carbonation in club soda is often able to penetrate the surface of the fabric and lift the components of the stain from the fabric fibers and off onto the towel or cloth you use to dab the stain.

To deep clean upholstery and furniture is much more difficult. You cannot put furniture in a washing machine so you will need to manually attempt to clean the furniture.

You can attempt to use club soda on furniture. It can be successful for more recent stains on furniture. But for dirt and soil that have been in the furniture for a very long time, you will want to consider a more full-service approach to removing the dirt.

Because furniture is very expensive, especially if you choose a natural type of fabric or upholstery, you should be careful in attempting to clean it. This means you should consider hiring a professional service for the job.

You can often hire a professional carpet cleaner that includes upholstery cleaning in their service. We recommend Nature’s Care Chem-Dry in West Bend, WI. You can find a Chem-Dry near you too. Chem-Dry uses a powerful form of carbonated cleaning for carpet and upholstery. This method is safe for the furniture and able to remove very difficult upholstery stains.

Unfortunately, there is no type of fabric that won’t get dirty. You will need to consider how often you want to clean fabric before determining what type of clothing or furniture you want to buy.

When it comes time to clean the fabric or upholstery, our tips above should help you complete the job with ease.

Types of Industrial Fabrics

quilted fabric

We’ve written in length about both natural fabric fibers and manmade fabric fibers and now it is time to provide information on industrial fabric fibers.

Industrial fabric is used for more functional purposes rather than for fashion. You will find some industrial fabrics in interior design but often more as accents and accompaniments to synthetic and natural fibers.

INDUSTRIAL FABRICS

Here are common types of industrial fabrics:

FIBERGLASS

You won’t find fiberglass fabric on clothing or in bedding but the material is an excellent source of warmth and insulation and often found in walls and attics of homes.

CARBON

Carbon fabric is used for brake pad linings and other automotive and aircraft components. The material is flame-resistant and incredibly resilient to wear and tear but not common in home décor.

VINYL

You will find traces of vinyl in apparel or sometimes as an accent piece in a home. The material is elastic and durable and features a sheen that is appealing for some design.

CREWEL

This industrial fabric is common in interior design and home décor. Crewel is very beautiful and sought after. You will find it used in drapery, upholstery and bedding in a home as it features lustrous textures and colors.

REFLECTIVE

You will find reflective fabric on safety gear and similar apparel and items due to its ability to reflect light a great distance. However, reflective fabric is not a popular choice for interior design.

QUILTED

Quilted fabric is more of a style than a type of fabric but the end result is often a blend of cotton, silk or wool or synthetic fibers including polyester. You will see quilted fabric on bedding and blankets in a home and it offers a more traditional or classic design element to a room.

LAMINATED

Laminated fabric is essentially a protective layer over synthetic or natural fabrics. You will see laminated fabric on accessories and handbags as well as some outerwear but it is not often used in home décor or design.

NARROW

Narrow fabrics are the most common type of industrial fabric. You see narrow fabric on shoe laces and strings. These fabrics are extremely durable and versatile and used for upholstery, apparel and other décor.

You do not hear as much about industrial fabric in design circles but it does serve several purposes in daily life.

Types of Manmade Fabrics

manmade fabrics

Be sure to read our last blog covering the various types of natural fabric fibers. This post will offer details on manmade fabrics used for décor and clothing.

There are far more synthetic or manmade fabrics than natural fabrics as manufacturers continue to find ways to blend materials and fibers together for durable and beautiful textiles and apparel. This post will cover some of the more common and popular types of manmade fabric.

MANMADE FABRICS

Here are the manmade fabrics and fibers found in homes today:

ACETATE

Acetate is considered to be the manmade version of sik. The fabric is very soft and luxurious and is made from cotton remnants and wood pulp. Acetate is resistant to mold and mildew and used for various types of apparel and bedding.

CHIFFON

This is a woven sheer fabric with drape often seen on prom dresses, wedding dresses and evening gowns. You will sometimes see chiffon used as an accent on bedding or throw pillows and various décor in a home but most often it is seen on women’s apparel. Chiffon is a blend of various manmade and natural fibers including silk and cotton.

ACRYLIC

Acrylic fabric is the manmade version of wool. You will see it used for the same purposes as wool but the cost is less expensive. This manmade fabric is a very popular choice for furniture upholstery because of its comfort and durability and lower price point.

ORGANZA

Organza fabric has a thin, sheer weave and is often found on handbags and similar accessories. You will find traces of silk in some organza products otherwise it is a blend of synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester.

NYLON

Nylon is our favorite manmade fabric and it is widely seen in both the apparel and décor industry. Several clothing items are made with nylon and the material is also used for rugs, carpet and many domestic fabric items. Nylon fabric is durable, easy to clean and maintain and stretchy and resilient. It’s many properties make it a popular choice for designers.

POLYESTER

You will find polyester fabric in both apparel and décor. Polyester is used for curtains and window treatments, furniture upholstery, carpets and more. The fabric is also very popular as an affordable clothing fabric. Polyester is durable but not always easy to clean or maintain.

DENIM

Denim is a hybrid of twill and cotton that is both durable and comfortable. The most popular use of denim is for blue jeans but you will also find it used as an accent on home décor and various accessories.

RAYON

Rayon fabric is both woven and knit and used for several fashion and home décor items. You will find rayon rugs and flooring as well as window treatments. The fabric is very affordable and a popular choice for homeowners to design with.

Additional manmade fabrics include spandex, velvet and polypropylene. These fabrics have many used but are rarely found in interior design.

There are probably several items in your home manufactured or sewn with the manmade fabrics we listed above. Which is your favorite?

Typs of Natural Fabric Fibers

natural fabrics

To decorate with fabric, you must understand fabric. You should know all of the various types of fabric used for throw pillows, window treatments, furniture, rugs and textiles. There are three primary categories of fabric:

  • Natural Fabrics
  • Mandmade Fabrics
  • Industrial Fabrics

We will cover all three categories of fabrics throughout our blog but today’s post will provide some detail on various types of natural fabric fibers.

NATURAL FABRICS

Here are the most common natural fabric fibers:

COTTON

Cotton is one of the most popular natural fabrics and is often used for clothing and bedding. The fabric is comfortable on skin and adjusts to temperatures that make it suitable for all seasons and climates. Cotton will absorb sweat during hot weather and cool the body and retains heat during the winter. Your sure to have multiple items made with cotton in your closet and throughout your décor.

SILK

Silk is an elegant fiber and the most durable of all of the natural fabrics. The fabric has a rich history and is used for elegant dresses and fine clothing as well as for bedding. Silk is very comfortable on the skin and is very popular throughout the world.

LINEN

Linen is primarily used for home furnishings and décor. However, the fabric is comfortable on the skin and resistant to allergies so some clothing is made with linen. You will often find linen tablecloths and window treatments. Homeowners will decorate with drapes made of linen to allow more light into a room. The material is easy to clean and maintain and extremely durable too.

WOOL

Wool is extremely durable and resists wrinkles. The fabric is very popular for winter clothing, sweaters and outerwear and is seen in homes as rugs, carpet and blankets. Wool is flame-resistant and very comfortable. The most famous and luxurious type of wool fabric is cashmere which is often used for scarves and sweaters.

LEATHER

In terms of decorating and design, leather is often reserved for upholstery. A leather recliner or couch are sophisticated touches to add to any room. For the most part, leather is reserved for outerwear and pants and fashion accessories. Leather is very soft but it is also extremely firm and will last a lifetime if cared for properly.

HEMP

Hemp is a natural fabric seen in shoes, clothing and décor. The fabric is extremely water-resistant and able to withstand harsh conditions for extended periods of time. Around your home, you will find towels, drapery, table settings and bedspreads made of hemp.

JUTE

Jute is reserved for carpet, rugs and floors in a home. The woven natural fabric is extremely durable although it can be difficult to clean and maintain.

Look around your home and see if you can identify the items made from the natural fibers above. Decide which items you love the most and consider purchasing more décor and accessories made of that natural fabric.

How to Decorate With Drapes

Drapes are an underutilized element of interior design. Drapes are available in countless colors and bold patterns and can transform a neutral room into something stunning. You should invest time in choosing the perfect drapery when decorating your home.

Your drapes are more than décor too. Drapes double as both privacy and a means to let in or block out sunlight from a room. Continue reading for how to decorate with drapes:

GO BOLD

If you have painted your room in neutral tones and chosen neutral colors for your furniture, draps can be an opportunity to add a splash of color to a room. We recommend pairing bold color curtains with throw pillows that have a complementary pattern or vice versa. This creates minor details for a major difference in style.

You can remain subtle and choose a hue similar to the one already in the room. We prefer the bold approach but both are beautiful if done correct.

LIGHT OR DARK

You should consider both the color and the weight of the fabric as well. A lightweight fabric in a neutral hue or light tone will allow a good amount of sunlight to shine through into the room even if the curtains are closed. For a more open space in need of a lot of natural light, you might favor a lighter weight fabric for more sunlight.

The alternative is heavier or darker fabrics. A heavier fabric will limit the amount of sunlight able to enter a room and when the curtains are closed no sunlight might enter at all. Some homeowners prefer a very heavy fabric for the curtains in their bedroom in order to protect those last few precious minutes of sleep each morning.

LENGTH

Be sure the length of the drapes is from the curtain rod to the floor. Include a little extra length at the bottom for a more elegant ambiance. Curtains that do not extend the entire length of the wall send a poor impression to guests of your home.

You can see there are several ways to decorate with drapes and window treatments in your home. Don’t ignore drapes when it comes to additional décor and style for a home.