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deciphering upholstery cleaning codes

What exactly do those upholstery cleaning code letters mean?

If you look on the tags on your sofa cushions, you'll see either a W, S, WS, or X. These code letters tell you which cleaning products or solutions to use to safely clean the fabric without damaging it.

Since they're not exactly self-explanatory, here's what the upholstery cleaning codes stand for:

upholstery cleaning code w:

W = Water based cleaning agent. Clean wth a water-based product such as a little foam from mild detergent or non solvent upholstery shampoo. Use as little foam and water as possible to do the job; you don't want to get the upholstery too wet.

cleaning code s:

S = Solvent. Clean with a mild water-free dry-cleaning solvent. Use just a little and make sure you have plenty of ventilation. Don't put any water on it. 

cleaning code ws:

WS = Water-based cleaning agent or solvent. Depending on the stain, you can use a dry-cleaning solvent, the foam of a mild detergent, or upholstery shampoo.

cleaning code x:

X = Don't clean it yourself. Hire a professional. You can, however, vacuum or brush off surface grime.

a word on zippered cushions:

By the way, zippered cushion covers do not mean you can remove the covers for cleaning separately. The zippers are there to provide a tighter fit. If you clean covers separately, they may shrink, tear, or discolor. It's deceptive, I know. I've bought couches myself on the mistaken notion that I could clean the removable covers.

deciphering furniture wearability codes.

Upholstery cleaning codes explained.Heavy duty furniture such as wicker and washable cotton are easy care and great for families.

In addition to the cleaning code, manufacturers use a wearability code to gauge how well a particular fabric will hold up under use.

When you're shopping for furniture, ask the salesperson about the wearability of the various fabrics. Then go for the one that will take the most abuse.

Here's how to break the secret code:

he = heavy duty.

This is what you want in your family room.

md = medium duty.

Reserve this until your kids are out of the toddler stage.

ld = light duty.

This is rather delicate fabric that is definitely not kid proof. Use it for entertaining.

dd = delicate duty.

Do we need to even discuss this one? If you have a room that's off-limits to kids and pets, buy this fabric.

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for the upholstery cleaning products and tools you need to get the tough stains out - safely.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.