Upholstery cleaning can be a delicate process and so there is a code created to aid both the cleaner and owner of the upholstery in maintaining its upkeep. This means that ideas on how to care for the upholstery as well as how to treat it are made clear from the outset.

There are various letters that are abbreviated to help the cleaner or owner know what type of cleaning the upholstery is suited for. It is similar to clothes care labels and directs the user to make the right decisions in making the most of the upholstery.

The letters are W, S, W/S and X. These stand for, in order, wet clean, solvent clean, either and vacuum only.
The wet clean is significantly more productive than other methods and water is used in almost all aspects of the cleaning industry and so for upholstery it should not be much different. Water alone won’t be able to budge stubborn stains however and needs to have a cleaning solution alongside it to really become effective. Therefore the question is what is the best solution for the upholstery? This is down to the expertise of the cleaner and for the correct amount of research taken to ascertain what the best choice is.

The solvent part of the code is something of a misdemeanour. To dissolve a substance, you need solvents. And the most common solvent is water, which is exactly what the wet clean part of the code describes. The difference with a lot of solvents however, is that they are dry cleaning and so this marks out the solvent section from the wet clean variety. The issue arises when many dry solvents are not permitted due to their high levels of flammability.

The W/S letters in the code mean either wet or solvent and so this can cause further confusion amongst cleaners and especially owners who are new to upholstery cleaning. Which do you use and aren’t they more or less the same thing? It is as if the manufacturer is leaving it up to you as to what you choose and removing themselves from much of the blame of any accidents.

The vacuum only option in the code is a pointless suggestion, as this will do nothing to clean the upholstery and is telling the owner that they can never properly deal with their upholstery. Therefore, the upholstery must be either made of extremely poor materials or be incredibly dangerous, or both.
As a result, the code should be taken with something of a cautious approach.

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