Upholstered furniture is often seen as a necessity. The material used to upholster a piece of furniture is used in interior decorating; however, the main role of upholstered furniture is comfort. Unfortunately, as furniture is used, the upholstery can become damaged. Because of this, a lot of the antique furniture has been reupholstered several times. The most common practice for reupholstering furniture is to remove the old upholstery down to the frame and replace the padding and upholstery with new materials.
How to Clean a Spill
As soon as a spill occurs, you should grab a paper towel and blot to absorb as much liquid as possible, changing paper towels as necessary. Do not use heat like a blow dryer on a spill to help speed up the drying process as it can cause stains to become permanent or cause shrinking to occur. After you have blotted up the liquid, it is time to decide if you want to live with the stain or try to remove it. If you are in doubt, contact an upholstery specialist to learn how to properly treat the area without damaging the upholstery. The Upholstery Workshop are experienced upholsterers with a wide range of upholstery knowledge and services.
You may be able to remove the stain by lightly dampening the area with clean water and blotting the area to remove the liquid. This process can be repeated multiple times so long as you thoroughly blot the area in between processes to remove the maximum amount of wetness. There are many layers to an upholstered piece of furniture. Because of this, it can be difficult to prevent water from penetrating the different layers. If the layers are penetrated, it can cause them to separate. Additionally, the water can cause the colour to fade or run to other areas of the upholstered furniture or it can cause lines to form as dirt and dust located deep within the layers get pulled to the surface. This can cause permanent damage to your upholstery and any attempts to remove this can worsen the problem.
One of the most common mistakes that people make when reupholstering a chair is using traditional materials and techniques. The techniques that were used during the 19th century can cause over-stuffed, historically incorrect and bulky furniture. To avoid these problems, an upholstery expert that is familiar with conservation and historic furniture must be consulted.
When you reupholster a piece of furniture, you may find pieces of the original fabric. To check before reupholstering a chair, turn the chair around and look at the back. Lift a piece of the top cover to see if you can find any evidence of the original fabric used on the chair. Another way you may be able to find information on the original upholstery is to remove a tack and inspect the tack hole.
If all the tack holes only contain the present layer of upholstery, the fabric is probably the original material used on the chair. Additionally, if there are only one set of tack holes, it can confirm that the tacks used are the original tacks used for decorative nailing.
If you cannot find any original upholstery, you may need to commission an upholstery conservator. Upholstery conservators understand how important it is to maintain the original frame of a piece. Instead of using a traditional tack that can damage the frame, conservators will use stainless steel staples to help protect and extend the life of the original frame of the piece.
How to Clean Upholstery
If you would like to clean a historic piece of upholstered furniture, consult an upholstery conservator because the tacks were nailed into the wood of the frame really well, which can cause deep impressions in the textile. If a tack is rusted, do not try to remove the tacks on your own because you can very easily damage the fabric. Instead, contact a conservator.
A conservator will help to minimise any damage by knowing how to remove the cover and the best cleaning methods that should be used to clean the upholstery. When a piece of furniture is upholstered, the fabric is stretched. When the fabric is removed, it can be almost impossible to refit the design as there will not be enough fabric to re-tension the fabric.
Drop-in seat frames are not interchangeable, which means they must be used on their original chair. These drop-in seats are often reupholstered by adding an additional layer of wadding. Removing this and the upholstery may reveal the original fabric and profile of the piece of furniture. However, oftentimes, the addition of extra wadding can force the joints in a chair apart, resulting in serious damage.