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Fabric cleaning codes and what they mean

Furniture is an investment. Maintaining the furniture and cleaning the fabric will help keep it looking its best. First Things First Different fabrics must be handled differently, and each fabric will have a cleaning code that gives consumers guidance as to how it can be cleaned. Before experimenting with any cleansers, know the fabric's cleaning code: W: Use water-based cleaners WS: Use either a water-based cleanser or a dry cleaning solvent S: Use a mild, water-free dry cleaning agent only X: Do not use any cleansers on these fabrics. Clean by vacuuming or brushing lightly only. To find the fabric's cleaning code, look for a tag from the manufacturer. This can usually be found under a seat cushion or beneath the piece of furniture. If unable to find the tag, or if the tag doesn't have the necessary information, contact the store the furniture came from. When in doubt, hire a professional to clean the furniture. As with all furniture, test the cleanser in a small, inconspicuous spot before using it on the rest of the furniture. More on this topic How to Choose the Right Upholstery Fabric How to Keep Your Winter Clothing Looking its Best Caring for Wood Furniture W and WS codes Fabrics that have a W or WS code can be cleaned using a mild detergent and a damp cloth. Wipe up any spills, then dab at or gently rub the remaining stain. Do not saturate the stain, as this may leave a water ring. If the area gets too wet, or is taking too long to dry, consider using a blow dryer on a cool setting or a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment. Even with fabrics that have a W or WS code, it is not recommended that consumers wash the fabric in a washing machine. Soaking the fabric may cause it to shrink or warp, which may make it difficult to reapply cushion covers. At the very least, the appearance of the fabric and the furniture may be compromised. If consumers find it absolutely necessary to wash the fabric, do so on a delicate cycle with gentle detergent. S codes Fabrics that require water-free cleansers can be a bit trickier to clean. Rubbing alcohol or other clear alcohols may be effective, as are dry cleaning solvents, oxygenated solvents, ammonia or lighter fluid. Make sure the cleanser does not contain bleach, as this may damage the fabric. If the fabric feels stiff after cleaning, rub it with a soft brush, such as a toothbrush. X codes Do not use cleansers of any type on fabrics that have an X code. Cleansers may cause serious damage to the fabric, resulting in deterioration, shrinking or staining. Maintain the furniture by vacuuming and dusting only. Other Tips Keep the furniture fresh overall by rotating cushions for even wear. Also, regularly vacuuming the fabric and under the cushions can help keep the furniture looking newer longer. Clayton Marcus also recommends rotating the pieces of furniture in a room to avoid wearing out one piece before the others. Use common sense, and protect furniture when necessary. Cover it while painting, or while doing other activities that are likely to result in stains and spills.