Heirloom Upholstery

Heirloom Upholstery


The term Heirloom, when applied to upholstery, suggests several things that are important to consider before accepting such a cleaning job.

  • VALUE – If the piece was not valuable, it would not have been kept enough to become an heirloom.
  • AGE – The item has been passed down or purchased though at least two generations. Age brings with it exposure to light, air pollution and usually wear. Such fabrics can be brittle and delicate.

There are several problems that are presented by heirloom fabrics, among them bleeding, browning and fading. We will concentrate on the brittleness and delicacy of the fabric and how to prevent damaging it.

Testing Procedure  

When a fabric is old and brittle it has tendency to tear as water and pressure is applied. Test to see if this is the case by finding an area that has been exposed to wear and sunlight. Take a fold of the fabric between the thumb and forefinger of each hand, close to each other, and twist the fabric by rotating your hands in opposite directions. This will apply mild pressure to the fabric. You will be able to feel if the fabric is beginning to tear under the pressure. If the fabric is wee, you should use one of the techniques below for cleaning delicate fabrics.

Cleaning Procedure –

Step 1 – Vacuum the fabric thoroughly. It is important to remove as much dry soil as possible.

Step 2 – Pre-spray with POWer “O”

Step 3 – Mist the fabric with POWer RINSE solution using your tool.

Step 4 – Agitate with a clean, white terry cloth towel.This will loosen the soil and absorb much of it into the towel.

Step 5 – Extract with POWer RINSE

Step 6 – Agitate fabric with clean dry towel to aid in drying and further soil removal

Step 7 – Dry with air movers

Wet Cleaning with a Screen –

Use an ordinary nylon screen to protect fabric that may be in danger of tearing during a wet-cleaning operation. These screens are the type used in windows and are available at home improvement stores. The idea is to clean through the screen, protecting the fabric from direct contact and pressure of the cleaning tool, while allowing the cleaning solution and soil to pass though.

Step 1 – Vacuum the fabric thoroughly. Avoid excess pressure on the fabric

Step 2 – Prespray with the appropriate prespray formula

Step 3 – Agitate gently with a horse hair brush

Step 4 – Place the screen over the fabric and extract through the screen with the appropriate extraction formula. Extra strokes are a good idea to remove as much moisture as possible.

Step 5 – Quickly dry with air movers




Description:  High volume air mover

Purpose: Dries carpet, upholstery & structures quickly



Type: Prespray

Highlights: Preconditions fine fabrics or upholstery



Type: Conditioner/ Neutralizer

Highlights: Prevents wicking, browning and yellowing. Removes alkaline residue.



Type: Protector

Highlights: Protector that repels all types of soils



  1. Delicate fabrics become even more delicate when wet. Be sure that your machine is capable of dry-solvent cleaning before this method.
  2. Heirloom upholstery often has carved wood accents on the arms, legs and sometimes back. Depending on the nature of the wood and finish, you should take care to blot the wood immediately after cleaning or mask it before cleaning if it is very delicate.

CAUTION  — Dry-Cleaning fluids may be considered toxic and flammable. Be sure to follow these procedures to protect you, your technicians, and your customers.

  1. Turn off pilot lights and all other sources of flame or spark.
  2. Provide adequate ventilation and be sure that your machine is outside or that the fumes are ventilated to the outdoors.
  3. Wear personal, protective equipment such as a respirator, gloves, and safety glasses
  4. Pets and people should not be exposed to dry-cleaning fumes




  1. Test the fabric to determine potential for damage
  2. Check the soil level to determine whether you will use dry-cleaning or wet-cleaning through a screen
  3. Vacuum fabric
  4. Prespray and agitate gently with a horsehair brush
  5. Extract using dry-solvents or wet solution through a screen
  6. Quickly dry with air movers


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