What do Upholstery Cleaning Codes Mean?

Upholstery should be marked with a code that allows the buyer to know what type of cleaning is suggested. This is important to keep in mind when purchasing new pieces for your home, or prior to hiring us to clean your furniture. Don’t be confused by the fabric content you find on the tag. It is actually the description of the stuffing material and not the fabric itself. When in doubt, ask the store or designer who sold you the items about the fabric content.

So, what exactly do those upholstery cleaning code letters on your chair or sofa cushion mean? They are meant to tell you (or us) which cleaning products or solutions to use to safely clean the fabric without damaging it. Often, after pre-testing we may find other solutions are also appropriate.

  • W: Spot clean with water-based cleaner
  • S: Spot clean ONLY with dry cleaning solvent
  • WS: Spot clean with water-based or solvent cleaner
  • X: Clean only by vacuuming or light brushing

Spot Removal Tips for Upholstery

For W and WS coded upholstery, use a neutral pH water-based cleaner such as our “Responsible Spotter” on spots like food spills, drink spills, light grease, etc. For S, W, and WS coded upholstery, use a small amount of dry cleaning solvent (such as rubbing alcohol) applied to a cloth. Use care with all upholstery, but especially with X and S codes. FAST ACTION is most important. Do NOT allow spots or spills to sit in your upholstery.

First, pre-test in an inconspicuous area BEFORE attempting any spot removal. Allow the pre-tested area to dry. If discoloration, color transfer or shrinkage occurs, do not use the product

  • Remove excess soil with wet vacuum.
  • Apply the spotter to a clean cloth.
  • Gently blot; don’t scrub or distort fibers. Use care with all upholstery, but especially with X and S codes.

If you can’t or don’t feel comfortable removing the spot, call us right away at 303-753-9171.

By the way, zippered cushion covers do not mean you can remove the covers for washing separately. The zippers are there to provide a tighter fit. Be aware that if you clean covers separately, they may shrink, tear, or change color.