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Differences In Cleaning Upholstery And Carpet

What is the difference between cleaning carpet and upholstery?

Many people, even some professionals, don’t realize that there are significant differences in how these materials are treated. The top priority, when treating any kind of fabric is to avoid using too much water. Soaking the fabric will increase the chances of resoiling, foster mold or bacterial growth, release odors, or make the fabric unusable.

What kind of fabric is an important consideration when trying to avoid soaking the material? Carpet is thick and contains deeper pile depths, usually between 1/4 inch and a full inch in size.  More water may need to be used to treat carpeting, and this requires a certain type of applicator. Hot water extractors used on carpet are larger and deal in greater volumes of water and solution. Upholstery, though, is thinner and can quickly become too wet if special care is not taken during treatment. When dealing with furniture, small handheld applicators or even a spray bottle may be all that’s required to apply enough water.

Fabric is not normally pretreated with chemicals over the entire surface  before the treatment process as their more delicate build often means the chemical will evaporate before the treatment begins. Carpet, though, is thick enough to make pretreatment worthwhile.

When should someone consider hiring a professional trained in cleaning upholstery?

Working with fabric requires precision, as it is less tolerant of mistakes made when treating it. Whenever tough stains or noticeable soiling is apparent, a professional will likely be needed to remove it. Regular treatment by a professional is also recommended if there are children or pets in the home. Furniture fabric picks up a lot of pet fur and dander, and this can inflame allergies or look unsightly. Children are prone to creating messes with tiny hands and feet. Regular treatment ensures the fabric doesn’t harbor dangerous molds or other microbes that can harm a child, so hiring a professional is invaluable to the family’s health.

How can a technician find appropriate training for cleaning upholstery?

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is one of the most respected training agencies in the world and has helped tens of thousands of professionals get the skills they need in this field. One of the IICRC’s courses, the Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning Technician, or UFT, teaches students the best way to care for fabric and is ideal for people looking to break into this area of the industry. During the UFT course, students will learn how to identify a variety of fabrics and construction types. Students will also be introduced to a number of treatment chemicals, technologies and techniques. By the time the two day course is over, students will be able to handle a range of various situations.

What are the benefits to certification through the IICRC?

Once a professional is certified through the IICRC and have applied for and received approval for Certified Firm status, they will be placed in the institute’s locator database. Consumers regularly peruse this database, so it can generate good publicity for a company that has certified technicians. Certification is also an important consideration for people looking for a professional, and this is confirmed through several consumer studies. In short, IICRC certification is an excellent way to gain additional business and status in the industry.




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