In addition to being eco-friendly, buying second hand furniture allows you to stay on a budget. Although many thrifters engage in the activity frequently, most don’t properly clean their second hand finds. This is especially important if they are upholstered as they can be a source of health hazards, such as germs, pests, and unpleasant odours. The sanitisation process of a second hand sofa requires a systematic approach to avoid damaging the upholstery. Listed below is a step-by-step guide about how to do it correctly:
Determine the sofa’s condition before cleaning it. Make sure you follow any manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Check the tags or labels to see if cleaning codes or guidelines are attached to the couch. You can use the information here to determine which products are safest and which cleaning methods are best.
Vacuum it. The sofa should be vacuumed to remove loose dirt, dust, and debris. The soft brush attachment of your vacuum should be used to gently clean all sofa surfaces, including the cushions, crevices, and underneath. You can then deep clean the sofa after removing the surface grime.
Test any cleaning solution or product on an inconspicuous area before using it on the entire sofa. You should do this, especially if no cleaning instructions were attached to the furniture piece. Wipe the selected spot with a clean cloth after applying a small cleaning solution or product. Once you’ve waited a few minutes, look for any adverse reactions, such as discolouration or damage. Cleaning the entire sofa is fine if there are no issues.
Take into account the fabric-specific cleaning procedures. Depending on the fabric type of your sofa, you will need to use a different cleaning method. The following are some of the most common types of fabric and their cleaning methods:
Synthetic Fabrics (Polyester, Nylon, etc.).
These fabrics can generally be cleaned with various methods and are durable. Cleaning solutions can be made by mixing mild detergent with water. Blot the sofa surface gently with a clean cloth or sponge. Be careful not to rub vigorously; it can cause damage or leave behind residue. Once the fabric or sponge has been cleaned, rinse it with clean water and blot it again with clean water. Once the sofa is completely dry, let it air dry.
Natural Fabrics (Cotton, Linen, etc.).
A greater degree of delicateness and sensitivity to natural fabrics requires more careful cleaning methods. You should use an upholstery cleaner designed to clean natural fibres on these fabrics. Apply the product using gentle blotting motions, following the directions on the packaging. You should rinse the sofa thoroughly with clean water and let it air dry completely.
You should clean leather with a leather-specific cleaner or mild soap and water. Clean leather surfaces gently with a soft cloth dipped in the solution. To remove excess solution residue, use a clean cloth to remove excess moisture. Furthermore, we recommend conditioning the leather after cleaning it to keep it soft and supple.
Deodorise the sofa. Natural methods can deodorise your second hand sofa if it has any unpleasant odours. Add a thin layer of baking soda to the upholstery and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. You should then thoroughly vacuum it.
Several maintenance tips should also be kept in mind. Maintaining the sofa’s cleanliness is essential after cleaning. To prevent dirt buildup on the furniture, it must be vacuumed regularly, and spills or stains should be addressed immediately. To prevent fading or damage to the fabric, consider using removable and washable sofa covers to cover the upholstery and keep it away from direct sunlight or heat sources. This is especially important for leather sofas.
Some tips on self-cleaning a second hand sofa at home
You can usually self-clean a second hand sofa at home with the right approach and helpful tips. While undertaking this task, keep the following in mind:
Make sure any cleaning instructions are present. The sofa manufacturer may provide cleaning instructions or recommendations, if they’re available, that should be read carefully before you begin cleaning. Depending on the materials of the sofa, they may provide specific instructions on how to clean it or take precautions.
It is essential to vacuum the sofa regularly. Keeping your sofa clean requires regular vacuuming.
When spills occur, attempt to wipe them up as soon as possible. Cleaning up an accident spill on any sort of upholstery as quickly as possible is critical. Using a clean cloth or paper towel, remove as much liquid as possible from the afflicted region. If you rub the stain, it will spread and may penetrate further into the cloth. Once you’ve absorbed as much liquid as possible, apply a mild detergent or stain remover formulated particularly for upholstery, according to the product’s recommendations.
Upholstery cleaning chemicals are the most effective way to clean upholstery. Choose a product that is appropriate for the fabric of your couch and follow the manufacturer’s directions. There are various upholstery cleaning products available on the market.
Always blot, never rub. Remember to blot rather than rub the sofa when cleaning it with a cleaning solution or addressing a stain. While rubbing vigorously can damage the fabric and possibly spread the colour, blotting uses gentle pressure to lift stains and remove dirt.
The process of steam cleaning. Steam cleaning can be an effective method to clean a second hand sofa deep. Steam cleaning is unsuitable for some fabrics and finishes, so be aware before choosing this method. Following the steam cleaner’s instructions and thoroughly drying your sofa afterwards will prevent mould or mildew growth. If your sofa is compatible with steam cleaning, follow the instructions provided with your steam cleaner. A professional upholstery cleaner or Internet research can help you determine whether your sofa’s fabric is suitable for steam cleaning if it doesn’t have a label attached.
Clean with mild soaps and detergents. Whenever you create your cleaning solutions, use mild and gentle ingredients. The fabric can be damaged or discoloured by harsh chemicals and bleach. Most upholstery fabrics can be cleaned with mild liquid dish soap or laundry detergent diluted in water.
It is essential to allow the sofa to dry properly after cleaning it. As a result, mould and mildew will be prevented from growing, and any remaining moisture or cleaning solution will also be removed. You can help the drying process by opening the windows, turning on fans or using a dehumidifier.
When should you opt for professional cleaning services?
You may find hiring professional cleaners for your sofa more prudent in certain circumstances. Among them are:
Stains and dirt that are deeply seated
Professional cleaning services can be very effective if you have deeply embedded stains, such as ink, red wine, or pet stains, that are difficult to remove with regular home cleaning methods. They’ll have access to commercial-grade equipment and specialised cleaning techniques to remove stains and dirt from your sofa.
Upholstery with delicate or antique details
You must take extra care and expertise when cleaning a second hand sofa with soft or antique upholstery. Cleaning such delicate fabrics, intricate designs, and antique furniture requires the knowledge and experience of professionals. The upholstery can be assessed, the appropriate cleaning methods determined, and the needed techniques applied to prevent damage.
Fabric requirements should be specific
There are different cleaning approaches for other sofa fabrics. Specialised cleaning techniques might be required to maintain the integrity of some materials, such as silk or velvet. It is best to consult professionals with experience working with various upholstery materials if you are unsure about the appropriate cleaning methods for your fabric type.
Pollen, dust mites, pet dander, dust mites, and mould spores can accumulate on upholstered furniture. Professional cleaning services can help remove allergies or respiratory sensitivities effectively and protect your health if you or someone in your household suffers. Cleaning techniques such as hot water extraction and steam cleaning are used to deep clean and sanitise upholstery, which reduces allergen levels and improves indoor air quality.
Extermination of foul odours
Removing persistent foul odours from home, such as those caused by cigarette smoke or strong pet odours, can be difficult. Cleaners specialising in deodorising are equipped with specialised equipment to eliminate these odours effectively.
It is convenient and time-efficient. Cleaning a sofa can take a long time, particularly with more extensive or heavily soiled pieces. When you hire a professional cleaner, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort.
Signs when a second hand sofa might be too far gone to restore.
Even with careful cleaning and upkeep, some used couches may be too far gone to be returned to their previous state. Here are a few warning indications that this is the case:
The building’s structural stability has been compromised. Repairing a couch with major structural damage, such as a broken frame, drooping springs, or badly torn cushions, can be difficult or expensive.
A permanent stain or discolouration cannot be reversed. The presence of deep-set stains or discolouration that cannot be removed or improved by professional cleaning indicates that the fabric has suffered permanent damage. A sofa can become permanently discoloured if its stains have been set for a long time or if bleach or vital dyes have been used.
The presence of mould or mildew in large quantities. It may have developed mould or mildew if the sofa was exposed to excessive moisture or stored in a damp environment. A couch with extensive or deeply ingrained mould or mildew may be challenging to remove and threaten your health and the sofa’s integrity.
It has an unpleasant odour. For example, pet urine and smoke odours can sometimes be challenging to eliminate. Restoring a sofa’s freshness is virtually impossible if these smells persist after professional cleaning treatments.
A high degree of wear and tear. The sofa’s fabric can fray over time, the cushions can wear out, or the cushions can pill significantly. The condition of second hand furniture is expected to wear over time, but excessive or irreparable damage can make restoration difficult, impractical, and expensive.
A restoration’s cost exceeds its value. Think about what it would cost you to clean, repair, and replace the sofa in light of the price you paid for it. Restoring a disproportionately expensive couch compared to its original value is more practical than buying a new sofa.