Difference Between Cleaning Carpet and Leather Upholstery

leatherMany carpet cleaning services also offer leather upholstery cleaning. You may be wondering if there is enough of a similarity between the two so that professional carpet cleaners may also be taken to be experts when it comes to cleaning leather upholstery. Or are there enough differences so that you should be looking for specialized experience in cleaning leather upholstery, quite apart from specialized experience in carpet cleaning services?

There are, in fact, significant differences between the two so that you may want to think twice about hiring your carpet cleaners to clean your leather upholstery, too – not without proven expertise and experience that they are adept at cleaning leather upholstery, too. In this article, we take a look at the difference between cleaning carpets and cleaning leather upholstery, and why the two require different professional approaches.

Carpet cleaning can either be done using dry or wet methods. In either case, specific cleaning solutions are used. Whether your carpet cleaners are using green or eco-friendly carpet cleaners or the more traditional commercial carpet cleaners, the intention is to provide a deep clean to your carpets. This is because carpets often accumulate dirt, dust, allergens, pollens, stains, and even mites and fleas that can become dangerous to the air quality of your home. Regular vacuuming, although helpful, only goes as far as cleaning the surface areas of your carpets. Most experts recommend hiring a professional carpet cleaner to clean your carpets at least once every 6 to 12 months.

carpetLeather upholstery, on the other hand, needs cleaning not so much to detoxify and remove harmful dirt, dust, and pollutants, but more to maintain and prolong the quality of your leather furniture. While chemicals and other cleaning solutions may be preferred by some carpet cleaners and homeowners to get a deep cleaning of their carpets, the same chemicals and cleaning solutions may do more harm than good for your leather furniture. So while the two are not mutually exclusive, and a carpet cleaner may also offer quality leather upholstery cleaning services, it is important to make sure that they are fully familiar with the different treatment methods required for each. In fact, it might be helpful to check their credentials regarding the professional training and experience that they have when it comes to dealing with leather upholstery.

That said, if you are not sure how to properly clean your leather furniture, it is always best to hire a professional instead. It can be very easy to make a mistake here, whether in using too much water so that your sofa becomes saturated, or in using chemicals or cleaners that result in the drying, fading, or cracking of the leather. Or if you use the wrong kind of oil, soap or detergent to clean treated leather furniture, you may just end up stripping the protective layer of the leather surface, and what results is a sticky residue. What you end up with is a damaged leather couch and a blown investment in quality furniture.

For that matter, there is also a significant difference between cleaning fabric and leather upholstery. You will want to prevent fading or discoloration in your fabric furniture, and a thorough cleaning that will eliminate the accumulated dirt, dust and other pollutants that have found its way onto the fabric of your sofa. But again, the cleaning and treatment methods for fabric and leather are vastly different, and you will want a professional upholstery cleaner who appreciates the difference between the two.

So what should you look out for in professional cleaning services for leather upholstery? First of all, certification from a cleaning organization such as the IICRC, or the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, is helpful. You will at least have the assurance that the cleaner you hired has been properly screened and certified for the services they offer, whether it be carpet cleaning, fabric upholstery cleaning, or leather upholstery cleaning.

Second, sufficient training and experience are always helpful. How do you determine this? Just having a conversation with your prospective leather upholstery cleaner may tell you much of what you need to know. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to voice your concerns. A carpet cleaning service that also legitimately offers genuine professional leather upholstery cleaning services will be more than willing to discuss his methods with you and to answer all your questions. You may want to start out by asking him what cleaning method he would recommend for the type of leather furniture you have, whether it is aniline, semi-aniline or finished leather. You should also do your own research to give yourself a working knowledge of what to expect. If you pay careful attention to the exchange between you and your carpet cleaner, you will usually be able to tell who can give good value for your money. If you are still unsure, insist that they first test their cleaning method on a small, inconspicuous portion of your leather sofa to see whether there might be any adverse effects to the cleaning agent he will be using.

There are general rules when it comes to caring for and cleaning leather upholstery. For instance, before leather furniture is cleaned, it should first be vacuumed properly. This will eliminate all the loose dirt and soil on the surface of the furniture. At the same time, it should only be done gently, using a soft brush or cloth to prevent scratches or marks on the sensitive leather surface.

Then there are specialized cleaning agents that many leather upholstery cleaners can use to clean your particular type of leather furniture. Special conditioners may also be used to condition and nourish the leather.