This Home Theater Seating Fabrics & Leather article will explain what Wearability & Cleanability codes are and how to keep your furniture looking good.
Getting to Know your Fabric Wearability Codes.
Fabric Wearability Code is the standard developed by the government to provide a guideline to tell if a fabric is strong enough for your needs. Fabric strength is determined by how it rates on the double rub test, which is a back and forth motion approximating the wear and tear it can get from someone sitting down or getting up from an upholstered seat with 3,000 double rubs equals one year’s worth of use.
HD or Heavy Duty – If a fabric holds up to more than15,000 double rubs it is classified as heavy duty. It will be stiffer and thicker than most fabrics, but there are some incredible new blends in this rating that seem to belie it because they are supple and soft enough. This would be a good choice for family room furniture.
MD or Medium-Duty – Medium duty fabric can withstand 9,000 to15,000 double rubs. The closer the fabrics get to 15,000 the stiffer they are. Medium duty fabrics are versatile and can be used for many purposes, and in family rooms as well as living rooms.
LD or Light Duty – A fabric that can take anywhere between 3,000 to 9,000 double rubs, is classified as light-duty fabric. These fabrics can withstand one to three years of regular use and are generally very delicate. They are suitable for pieces that get only occasional use, such as sofas that only get used when guests arrive, or an occasional chair that is used more for its looks than any function.
DD or Delicate Duty – Delicate duty fabrics with 3,000 double should only be used on furniture that is purely decorative, or in pillows.
Getting to Know your Fabric Cleanability Codes.
Knowing the cleanability code for your fabric helps you take good care of your upholstered furniture. The easiest way to determine the correct method for cleaning your upholstery fabric is to refer to its fabric cleanability code. Cleaning with the wrong products can damage your beautiful sofa. Fortunately, most furniture fabrics now carry cleanability codes to help you determine the best and safest way to clean a particular fabric. When you need to use a cleaning product, check for the cleanability code for your fabric. Here is what each letter stands for:
Code W – Code W is used on fabrics that should be cleaned with water-based cleaning agents. Spot clean using foam from only water-based cleaners, or non-solvent cleaning products. Apply foam with a soft brush in a circular motion, and vacuum when dry.
Code S – On fabrics with an S code, use a mild water-free cleaning solvent or dry cleaning product. Make sure the room is well ventilated and there are no open flames, such as from a candle or cigarette lighter.
Code W-S – Code W-S fabrics can be cleaned with either water or solvent-based products. Use a mild solvent, an upholstery shampoo, or the foam from a mild detergent.
Code X – Clean this fabric by vacuuming or gently brushing only. NEVER use any cleaning agents at all. Any cleaning product whether water or solvent-based may cause staining, shrinkage, or distortion of the fabric surface pile.
Keeping Your Leather-based Home Theater Seating Clean.
You need to use a good quality water-based foam leather cleaner. (LTT Leather Shampoo) With light-colored leather dye transfer from clothing can be a problem although using a good quality leather protector (LTT Leather Protect) will help inhibit this. Black obviously does not show this problem.
DO NOT use anything containing oils, waxes or silicones. (Most ‘conditioners’ contain waxes or oils) and furniture polish (pledge) contains silicones which will eventually destroy the finish on the leather. Most car cleaners also contain oils or waxes so they should not be used as they leave residues on the surface of the leather which attract more dirt which eventually leads to cracking.
BABY WIPES are the worst thing you can use as they will destroy the finish on your leather. They are very strong alkaline cleaners to neutralize urine (acid) on babies’ skin so they are not the right thing to use on leather.
Saddle soap is too harsh to use on today’s leathers.
A lot of leather wipes contain chemicals that will also destroy the finish or leave residues on the leather which will damage it. They are not cheap in the long run as you would need a lot to clean. A bottle of foam cleaner should do your car about 3-4 times.
Fairy liquid contains more salt these days to get dishes clean and this will break the finish down on your leather. This has been verified by the manufacturers (as with the baby wipes).
You should also follow cleaning with a good water-based leather protector which will act like a ‘Scotchgard’ and inhibit dirt and stains from being absorbed and make cleaning easier the next time.
Dry leather needs rehydrating with water and oils and waxes should not be used as the natural oils do not dry out of leather. Wiping over with a damp cloth regularly will help to do this.
It is important to maintain a regular cleaning regime cleaning dirt off the surface regularly and inhibiting the absorption of body oils into the leather with a protector is the best way of doing this. The only ‘moisturizer’ a leather needs is from the water.
The alternative is a brand new product on the market called Lazy Leather. This is the latest technology in cleaning and combines an effective cleaner with a protector. It is quick and easy to use and should be used as a maintenance product once your suite has been cleaned or from new if you have just bought it.
Using incorrect care products is usually the cause of deterioration in the leather as unfortunately, most car care products contain waxes and oils or silicones which do not do the leather any good.
Keeping Your Fabric-based Home Theater Seating Clean.
When you know how to clean and care for your upholstered furniture it will retain the look that made you fall in love with it in the first place. With proper cleaning, care, and maintenance, it is possible to have all your upholstery looking its best for a long time. It pays to be consistent, and it’s not hard to do.
Choose the Right Fabric – When you choose the right fabric for the right place you make your upholstery maintenance task easier. Always make sure that you choose the fabric that is appropriate for your lifestyle and the upholstered furniture piece. For example, synthetic fibers are a better choice for upholstered furniture that sits in areas of heavy usage.
Protect Fabric – The best form of fabric protection is prompt attention to spills. A lot of work is done for you when the upholstery fabric undergoes the finishing process at the factory. It is usually treated with a soil and/or water repellents and some form of mildew inhibitors may also be used. Additional fabric protectors may be applied to your upholstered furniture in the store or at home. While this helps with maintenance and care by keeping spills from being absorbed into the upholstery fibers right away, it is not a substitute for prompt cleaning of a soiled piece. Don’t let it give you a false sense of security. Always clean up any spills or stains in a timely manner, and follow manufacturers’ instructions for proper care methods.
Vacuum – Vacuum your upholstered furniture weekly for general cleaning and to remove surface soil. This also prevents dirt from becoming embedded into the fibers. You can also use a brush to gently whisk the dirt away. Make sure to always use a soft-bristled brush so that you don’t snag the fabric.
Spot Clean – While regular care does a lot for your upholstered furniture maintenance, accidents will happen. Blot any spills immediately with a clean folded towel: never rub, but blot gently. Sometimes this is enough to get rid of the stain completely, especially if the fabric has been pre-treated with a fabric protector. Always test in an inconspicuous area before you use any product for spot cleaning, and check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if you need a water-based or solvent-based cleaner. It is best to use a mild cleaning product. Apply with a soft brush in a circular motion to work into the fibers, then vacuum when dry.
Avoid Sunlight and Pollutants – Too much sun can damage your upholstery fabric, causing it to fade and even fray. Try to position it so that it doesn’t sit in the sun for extended periods of time. This is especially true for silks. Airborne pollutants such as fumes from cooking or smoke can also harm your fabric. It isn’t always easy to avoid that from happening, however, proper ventilation can help. It can also help with odor control, as upholstered furniture can easily absorb odors.