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      Ashbys guide to cleaning wet-cleanable sofas and chairs 

      Please note - the steps we’re sharing are here to guide you on your journey to becoming a pro at cleaning water-safe furniture. But remember, each item is special in its own way, so handle with care!

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      Why not download this information as a PDF? It’s printable and shareable with any of your work colleagues. Go ahead, you have our permission. 😊

      To professionally clean upholstery, you will need the following -

      Our store in Sittingbourne, Kent, stocks all the above plus a wide variety of professional carpet and upholstery cleaning equipment, accessories, and chemicals. For those who can’t make it to our store, we offer a delivery service. Simply give us a call at 01795 436999 (UK) between Monday and Friday, 08:00-16:30. Additionally, our full range of products is available on our website,, for you to browse and order at your convenience.

      Before you start
      Before cleaning, make sure to protect the customer’s floor. First, put down the Ashbys Waterproof Sheet PC4930. Then, put the Ashbys Absorbent Premium Cotton Twill Sheet PC4931 on top. This will stop water from reaching the floor and soak up any spills or spray from your work. Next, use the Furniture Sliders (Pack of 8) PC9451 to move the furniture onto the covered area. Now, you’re ready to start cleaning.

      1. Confirm it can be cleaned using water
      Before initiating the cleaning process for upholstery with a pile, it’s essential to conduct a compatibility test with water cleaning on a hidden area. This involves spraying a small amount of clean cold water on the area using a Kwazar Mercury Pro Double Action Pump Viton Sprayer 500 ml PC10330, waiting for approximately 20 seconds, and then lightly dabbing and laying the pile using a clean, White Terry Towel PC4662. If the texture of the item remains unchanged, apart from appearing damp, you can proceed with the water cleaning process. However, if there are signs of colour bleed or damage, such as the pile matting together and losing its uniform appearance, the item may not be suitable for wet cleaning. In such instances, dry cleaning using a solvent might be necessary, although this is a relatively rare occurrence.

      2. Check the colours won’t run
      To check for colour run, dip a clean White Terry Towel PC4662 into the pre-heated, ready-to-use rinsing solution in your carpet cleaning machine’s clean water tank. Refer to section 6 for guidance on chemical usage and temperature. After lightly wringing the towel, bring it into contact with any colours you suspect may bleed. Hold the towel in contact with the colour under force for two minutes, then inspect it for any colour transfer from the item. If there is any colour transfer, reduce the heat in the solution tank by adding cold water and lowering the machines heater thermostat, then re-check and repeat until no colour transfers. Remember not to clean the item above this safe temperature.

      3. Thoroughly dry vacuum
      Before introducing any moisture to the upholstery, ensure a thorough dry vacuum of the item to remove all loose dirt and pet hair. This can be achieved using a commercial vacuum cleaner. Alternatively, you can use the Ashbys Dry Vacuum Attachment PC5151 and Ashbys Upholstery / Curtain Tool PC5632 with your Sensei, Ninja, or Enforcer. This option is often preferred by professional operators as it eliminates the need to bring a separate vacuum cleaner from the vehicle into the customer’s premises. Moreover, this setup typically provides greater vacuum strength than a commercial vacuum cleaner, ensuring a more thorough removal of dry dirt and pet hair. This method also presents a more professional image to the customer, as they are unlikely to have seen their upholstery being vacuumed using a professional carpet cleaning machine. A comprehensive dry vacuum with your Ashbys professional carpet cleaning machine and Dry Vacuum Attachment will remove all loose dirt and hair, leaving only the adhered soilage, ready for loosening with a detergent pre-treatment

      4. Apply a low-moisture detergent pre-treatment
      Begin by cleaning the loose cushions, which tend to take longer to dry, before proceeding to the frame. For rinse extraction preparation with your carpet cleaning machine, dilute Ashbys Supreme Shampoo 5 Ltr PC4504 (pH 7) first. In a clean White Bucket 10 Ltr PC4518, add approximately 40 ml of the product to each litre of water. This is roughly equivalent to 4 bottle capfuls per litre of water.

      Alternatively use either a Birchmeire Foam-Matic 1.25E Pump-Up Foaming Sprayer PC10181 or a Kwazar Foamer Venus ALKALINE 2.0L PC11109. Dilute as necessary to produce a rich foam with less moisture, which allows for quicker drying times. Apply this solution to the item using a soft Ashbys Professional Upholstery and Rug Shampoo Brush PC4932. Gently massage the pre-treatment into the item using a light stroke. Remember, it’s important not to scrub too hard to avoid damaging the item. This and the stain removal process detailed in section 5, ensures the item is ready for a thorough and effective clean.

      5. Remove spots and stains
      Treat any stains on the item with the appropriate Ashbys stain remover. For hand and hair grease and other general stains, use Ashbys Stain Remover Plus 5 Ltr PC6235. For drink stains, use Ashbys Spotter 1 500 ml PC4366. For protein-based stains like blood, vomit, milk and urine, use Ashbys Spotter 2 500 ml PC4367. For ink and other solvent-based stains like motor oil, pretreat with Ashbys Spotter 3 500 ml PC4368. Allow the stain removers to dwell for up to 15 minutes before rinsing. If necessary, repeat this process until the stain is removed or no further improvement is apparent.

      6. Rinse away detergent & dirt
      Rinse the item using your extraction cleaning machine and upholstery tool, preferably one with an internal spray jet like Ashbys Clear Headed Stainless Steel Hand Tool – 9 cm wide with Internal Spray PC5957. Prepare a solution by diluting approximately 2 capfuls of Ashbys Liquid Extraction Cleaner PC7736 (pH 9) and 1 capful of Ashbys Extra Fresh PC4501 (pH 7) per 10 litres of warm, fresh water. Use the highest temperature that won’t cause colour run or damage to the item. If you’re unsure about the temperature, up to 50°C is generally safe.

      The Ashbys Sensei, Ninja, and Enforcer carpet cleaning machines typically feature a flow-rate control. This control enables you to adjust the volume of rinsing solution sprayed from your hand tool. Adjust this to the optimal level to prevent unnecessary over-wetting. Remember, it’s all about finding the right balance. The extraction machine will remove the loosened dirt and detergent, leaving the item residue-free and ready for your finishing sprays.

      Please note, a hand tool with an internal spray jet is preferable as it reduces the wetness of the item you’re working on, thereby minimising drying time. This is because an internal spray jetted hand tool cleans only the surface of the material, unlike an external spray jetted hand tool which allows the water to soak through the material and into the upholstery filling, leaving it much wetter and increasing drying times.

      7. Remove tool marks
      Towel off the item with a clean White Terry Towel PC4662 to remove any excess moisture and improve the drying time. If the item has a pile, use the White Terry Towel PC4662 to brush it in one direction to remove any tool marks and create a uniform appearance.

      8. Prevent browning, colour run & brighten colours
      Spray Ashbys Supreme Finish PC4311 (pH 3) undiluted from a Kwazar Mercury Pro+ 1.0 litre Double-Action & 360 Trigger Spray PC6439 over the item to fix the colours and brighten them. Because this product has a low pH value, it fixes the colours and prevents them from bleeding or fading. It also enhances the colours by making them appear more vivid and radiant. By using Ashbys Supreme Finish PC4311, you will not only prevent colour run, but also enhance the final result with a brilliant finish.

      9. Kill bacteria and deodorise
      Using a Kwazar Mercury Pro+ 1.0 litre Double-Action & 360 Trigger Spray PC6439, spray Ashbys Extra Fresh PC4501 (pH 7) undiluted over the item to sanitise and deodorise it. This product contains a bactericide that kills bacteria and germs on the item, making it safer and healthier. It also has a fresh linen fragrance that neutralises any unpleasant odours and leaves the item smelling fresh and clean. By using Ashbys Extra Fresh PC4501, you will not only sanitise the item, but also enhance the final result with a long-lasting pleasant aroma.

      10. Fast dry your item(s)
      Always open curtains, blinds, doors and windows to create ventilation and allow sunlight in. To ensure a quick and effective drying process, use an Ashbys Professional Airmover PC11308. This can reduce drying time by up to 90% and help maintain the item’s appearance and smell. As you work on the frame, use the Airmover to dry the cushions. This can be done by placing a clean Ashbys Absorbent Premium Cotton Twill Sheet PC4931 down, positioning the cleaned cushions on it, and arranging them in a way that creates a tunnel. The Ashbys Professional Airmover PC11308 should then be directed to blow down this tunnel. Be careful not to place the cushions in a way that could cause colours from one cushion to bleed onto another.

        Formalise your knowledge
        Why not join us for our Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Training Course? It’s a great way to gain new skills and knowledge, and it’s all hands-on! Plus, it’s insurance-approved and you’ll get a certificate when you complete the course. We keep the classes cosy with around seven people, so you’ll get plenty of personal attention. We run these courses every four weeks or so. To find out more or to book your spot, just visit our website at Or if you prefer a chat, give us a ring at 01795 436999. We can’t wait to see you there!