Getting into the business of upholstery cleaning can be intimidating, especially because of the various types of fabrics used in residential settings and the potential to lose a lot of money if a cleaning job goes wrong.

“You can get into trouble easily when dealing with residential upholstery because of the variety of natural fibers used,” Yeadon says. “But when you go into a commercial building, it’s a little different because most fabrics used are synthetic fibers, which are easier to clean.”

Knowing the types of fabrics that need cleaning is the first step to cleaning them correctly. Most of the fabric used in commercial upholstery is either olefin or nylon.

“Olefins and polyesters are typically found in high-traffic areas because they have the ability to hold up to that high traffic,” says Michael Morrow, upholstery expert and IICRC-approved instructor.

Also, with interest in green or sustainable products and furniture still growing in the commercial sector, polyester fabrics are now being made from recycled plastic bottles.

Synthetic fabrics are very durable and are much easier to clean than many natural fibers.

“Microfibers are all the rage for upholstery right now,” says Jasper. “The thing about microfiber is that they can make it look like so many different things — leather, suede, etc. But in the end, they’re all polyester, and it’s relatively easy to clean.”

If a BSC is going to commit to offering upholstery cleaning services, there needs to be a commitment to learning about natural fibers such as cotton and silk, as well, Morrow says. After all, many executive offices feature high-end furniture and knowing how to clean these items could create a lucrative line of revenue.

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