Upholstery and drapery cleaning are very critical segments of contents restoration. Water damages often leave soil deposits, watermarks, leached wood finish stains, rust stains, color transfer, and browning and yellowing. Re-activation of urine and other preexisting odors, and mold contamination are other situations encountered. Fire damages often leave floating ash, soot deposits, smoke odors, filtration soiling, grease film and “soot tags” on the fabrics. Oil furnace malfunctions (puff backs), and dry soot deposits from gas log system malfunctions also create upholstery and drapery cleaning needs. As upholstery and drapery cleaners, we possess a great amount of training, experience, patience, and a vast arsenal of cleaning agents, equipment, and supplies to be proficient.
A thorough initial inspection is necessary and includes:
- Identifying the fiber
- Identifying the weave and fabric construction
- Checking for non-wettable construction materials such as cardboard used for pleats and skirt filler
- Checking for cushion marks used in assembly that could bleed through to the surface during cleaning
- Identifying soil types
- Evaluating the age and condition of the fabric
- Identifying and documenting pre-existing damage
- Selecting the cleaning agents and application methods to be used
- Determining the cost effectiveness of cleaning vs. replacement
- Pre-testing the cleaning agents for desired cleaning results, fiber safety, and colorfastness.
AFTERDISASTER® Assists Purofirst® of Metropolitan WashingtonOn Monday, August 13, 2001, AFTERDISASTER® received a call from Purofirst® of Metropolitan Washington (DC). President, Robert Schattner, and their Emergency Production Manager, Sam Nasrawi, were extremely busy responding to calls from customers in the DC area. Washington had sustained a tremendous rainstorm the previous weekend. Resulting floods were worsened due to the antiquated sewer system, common to many older cities in the United States. Since these older sewer systems combine storm and sanitary sewer, deluges of rain can cause the systems to fail if they exceed their capacity. The sewer system in Washington, particularly in the older Georgetown area, was tested far past its capacity. Many of the businesses along Water Street, paralleling the Potomac River, were contaminated with rising water consisting of rain and raw sewage. Monday morning, Sam Nasrawi was faced with over 125 calls to which their staff had to respond. One of these calls was from a previous customer of theirs, Bovis Construction, who is building a new Ritz Carlton in Georgetown. The contaminated flood waters which had overflowed the drainage systems, affected five stories of the building. Sam contacted AFTERDISASTER® to assist Bovis Construction, allowing them to respond to other customers. AFTERDISASTER® Representatives Lee King and Production Team Leader, Otto Martinez, responded to Purofirst® immediately. Scheduling the work was complicated: the affected areas were 40 ft. below street level and the crews had to work 2nd and 3rd shifts to allow construction to continue during regular working hours. Furthermore, delivery of equipment and supplies in such a large metropolitan area created logistical problems. In less than one week, AFTERDISASTER® crews began and completed cleaning and decontaminating over 200,000 square feet of the structure. Ultimately, the hard work paid off, the property was restored, and the customers were very pleased with the quality of work and the timeliness of the response. This job is an example of how the AFTERDISASTER® Network is a win-win for all parties involved. Bovis Construction got the service they deserved, while Purofirst® of Metropolitan Washington was able to concentrate on other emergency calls, and AFTERDISASTER® had the opportunity to assist in a large commercial loss situation. AFTERDISASTER® appreciates their ongoing strategic alliance with Purofirst® International, Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. For assistance in the DC area, Purofirst® may be contacted toll-free-at 1-800-500-2399, and Purofirst® International, Inc. may be contacted toll-free at 1-800-247-9047.
Cleaning Upholstery & DraperiesWhich is the best type of equipment to clean upholstery and drapery fabrics: a truckmount extraction unit, a portable extraction carpet cleaning unit, or a portable extraction upholstery/drapery cleaning unit? Based upon years of hands-on experience as well as research, the choice is the portable extraction upholstery/drapery cleaning unit for several reasons:
- Truckmount extraction units and portable extraction carpet cleaning units usually have much greater solution spraying volume and pressure designed to penetrate deeply into carpet and padding, but are usually too much for upholstery and drapery and may leave the fabric too damp, causing damage. A portable extraction upholstery/drapery-cleaning unit has less spraying volume and pressure and overwetting the fabric can be avoided.
- Both the truckmounted and portable extraction carpet cleaning units deliver too much suction pressure for many fabrics and can actually stretch or distort the weave during the extraction unless the excessive suction pressure is relieved with wand attachments. The upholstery/drapery unit has a lower vacuum lift to protect the fabric.
- Truckmount extraction units and portable extraction carpet cleaning units are designed for water-based cleaning solutions only and not for dry cleaning solvents. Many upholstery/drapery-cleaning units can use either water-based solutions or dry cleaning solutions.
- The portable upholstery/drapery-cleaning unit is much smaller and lighter to carry. It does not require much space to operate in a furnished room, and therefore reduces the possibility of damaging the surrounding contents.
- The solution tank on the upholstery/drapery unit is smaller, so a smaller quantity of cleaning solution needs to be mixed on a small job. This cuts material costs, leftover waste, and extra mixing time. Cleanup of the upholstery/drapery cleaning unit is easier. It usually has a removable waste tank for quick disposal and fast cleanup, helping to make production more cost-effective for the property owner.
- It is not cost effective to tie-up a carpet cleaning unit on a smaller scale upholstery/drapery cleaning job. Those units need to be cleaning rooms of carpet!
- Was the soil/contamination removed?
- Was the upholstery/drapery returned to pre-loss condition?
- Did the cleaning achieve pre-agreed expectations?
- Was the upholstery/drapery returned to a dry state after cleaning?
- Were surrounding contents protected during the cleaning and drying process?
- Were tabs, blocks, clamps, etc. removed as agreed?
- Were the cleaned items re-set to the original location in usable condition?
- Was the customer given the opportunity to request a fabric protector?
- Was deodorization achieved?