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How To Clean Upholstery With A Carpet Cleaner


So you've Decided to clean your upholstery yourself. Hopefully you have done so as a business and not a way of saving money.


With a rented carpet cleaner, you won't have actually saved much money and the job that you can do with these types of cleaners are not the best.


There is a slight learning curve when learning how to clean your upholstery with a carpet cleaner. You can't just switch your carpet cleaner on, spray and pray that your upholstery comes out sparking clean.


This is something that the professionals would highly recommend that you don't do and would give you horror stories of customers who have tried it and ended up making their carpets smell like damp while not even cleaning the upholstery properly.


You should not attempt to clean your upholstery without understanding a bit about how to use your carpet cleaner. For example, it's important not to over wet the upholstery making it damp and potentially causing damage.


What is upholstery


What you need to clean upholstery like a professional

  • A good carpet cleaner (like the ones we hire here)

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • Carpet cleaning solution

  • Spot stain removal products

  • Chemical resistant pump sprayer

  • Upholstery brush (or drill brush)

  • Warm water is highly recommended

*this list is for general dirt and stain removal in carpets and is applicable 90% of the time. Sometimes, you may need water claw technology for stained seats which has gone deep into the fabric (for example a urine stain or milk spillage).


How to clean upholstery with a carpet cleaner


Vacuum the area first


The first step before cleaning upholstery should always be to vacuum the area first.

This will ensure that no debris gets stuck in the carpet cleaner causing blockages, but it also makes the cleaning process more successful.


By removing all of the loose bits, your carpet cleaning solution has more space to soak into deep inside the pores of the carpet cleaner. It also means you won’t need to do as many passes with the carpet cleaner.


Finally, if you get certain pieces of debris wet (woodchips, hard mud, dog hairs for example) then it can be a lot more difficult to remove them when wet. This is the main reason why a good vacuum of the area is essential before starting.


Spray the diluted solution onto the areas being treated


Once you have vacuumed the area being treated, the next step is to cover the area in carpet cleaning solution.


Be careful not to over wet the area as this can work against you and can take a lot longer to dry. Making the carpets too wet can cause damping as well, especially if you haven’t put enough solution in.


For best results, we recommend using a chemical resistant pump sprayer for even application across the area. You can also set the pump sprayer to a certain level of liquid being sprayed onto the carpets.


Follow the dilution ratios on your selected solution. This is another reason that pump sprayers are so useful as they come in litre measure just like your solution.

The carpet cleaner, on the other hand has no such markings so it can be harder to get the rations right.


Leave the solution to do it’s work for at least 20 minutes before starting to extract.


For stains and heavily soiled areas use the brush


If you have particularly bad staining in parts of your carpet, a scrub brush is usually required to break down the dirt a little bit. This will make your job a lot easier when it comes to the extraction process.


To tackle heavily soiled areas. spray more solution onto that part of the carpet. Grab your scrub brush and scrub in all directions to loosen the stains contents.

Once you’ve done this, it would be worth grabbing a microfiber cloth just to remove what dirt came to the surface before extracting.


This prevents that dirt from drying up again before extraction. You can either do this, or add more solution to ensure that it doesn’t dry up.

Time to use the carpet cleaner


Now that you have done all of the correct preparation steps, it’s time to use the carpet cleaner. Let the carpet cleaner do the work. If you have followed all of the steps correctly, there will be no need to apply much pressure.


Having said that, you may find that added solution and pressure will need to be used on some harder to remove stains. Use the carpet cleaner trigger slowly but frequently as you clean the area.


This is the best way to use the carpet cleaner so as not to over wet the carpets. You can also use too much solution which disrupts the cleaning process, making it harder to clean the carpets successfully.


Make sure when using the carpet cleaner that you are not spraying the solution near any electrical items.


Check your work


You should always double check your work in case of any missed spots that need going over. Check for any missed stain spots.


You may need to use some spot stain removal products on specific areas if the carpet cleaner couldn’t get it out in the cleaning process. We supply the right products for any staining you may have.


Make sure that the carpets aren’t too wet as well and if they are, go over them a few times with the carpet cleaner to suck up the excess water. This damp water likely has dirt inside of it and if left, can start to smell badly.


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