So did you create an upholstery cleaning problem?

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After a number of calls also, about upholstery cleaning problems....

Thought I would post some pics and questions.

First....have you taken a training class?

Second....have you sent your techs or yourself to Jim Pemberton's training?

Everytime I get a call, I tell everyone of them they need to change the tools they are using, change how cleaning and get over to Pemberton's for his upholstery and fabric cleaning school! @Jim Pemberton

My son in law is going to be getting shipped out there in the future...and I might be coming along too!

But here are just a few things lately....

Do you know how to fix these?

The video is not mine by the way...as I have been very fortunate (knock wood) to have not run into the zombie fire retardant waiting and hiding for me to be the first to clean and expose.

The one Chair...the cat peed on the furniture...lady asked for other spot cleaning (after she created white out spot on her chair in right corner back) so the tech apparently used a upholstery prespray, and extracted...and well...you see the results.

Fixing it vs replacing (as another company also got a hold of the pieces and did a solvent cleaned and didn't correct the problem)

So go....how would you fix? We have some good cleaners here who will jump in and answer fast I bet....

(the lady wants this entire 3 piece set replaced or reupholstered for $3100...)

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Here is your Zombie fire retardant waiting for you stain

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NOT my video...but sharing

 

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The chair is not my problem. She created the bleached areas and there is nothing I can do about it. I could re-dye the fabric if she would like me to; oh and $500 per hour to fix.
The couch needs an acid side cleaner like TCU or something else for URINE. Perhaps start by using an encap product and then a urine cleaner.
Might just be easier to re-dye the fire retardant mess as well.
 
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Might just be easier to re-dye the fire retardant mess as well.
The fire retardent reaction will keep damaging any dye that would be applied to the fabric. Think of it like "unneutralized" chlorine that you can't ever stop from working.

pH neutralization with ammonia, then sodium bicarbonate, works more times than not.

Best bet: If it has down in the cushion, have a heart to heart with the customer about all the risks, or just don't do it. I have more sad stories about this issue than you could hear in an Irish pub in a year....
 
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I've bought my first piece of upholstery......in 38+ years of cleaning. All because I didn't get a waiver, it was an insurance job, and the lady was a snubby bitch. I will never assume a piece of furniture again. Even the simple fabric pieces. And Ill never clean with out a signed waiver again. This piece in question had no damage or questionable fabric......I've done a 1000 of these chairs in a lifetime. Even JP tried to walk me through a correction. No go. It was a hidden stain, possibly a marker from the factory. It was on the front/back of this chair and no way to get behind it to inspect. No other area had this problem.

Get a signed waiver or walk away. I only settled because it was for a W/D contractor that gives me tons of work. Flood Extraction, and cleaning. And he couldn't get the check to pay his people, because it was made out to homeowner and his company.

I'd like to create a business that could blacklist consumers who tend to sue service providers (us) and sell the list to other small business guys like us. Then you can make a decision as to whether to want to chance working for these customers......or walking away. I think that information could be researched and found in the legal offices of the county. (As in lawsuits filed).
 
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Was that caused by cleaning or water damage?

I reread your post Mark, I see that it was "spot cleaned".

Mssrs Ladwig and Nate have good ideas, but the first thing I do with any kind of "water mark" is apply distilled water to the entire piece. It won't hurt a thing, and more times than not, it removes the water stain. Even if it is browning, it tends to lessen the intensity, and make subsequent browning treatments more effective.

After that, you get into using reducers and oxidizers, which can leave residual chemical odors, over whitening, and a myriad of other annoyances or actual damage.

The person who caused the problem is the one who should fix it. Anyone else is asking to be entangled into the web of obligation here, and I wouldn't recommend doing that at all.
 
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Was that caused by cleaning or water damage?
Cleaning Jim. Remember our conversation last year? You had me try a variety of different options, right down to distilled water rinse. It still has that faint ring. Lady just wanted a new chair. We tried to get her to let us reupholster it with a local upholsterer, but she would't hear it.
 
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Cleaning Jim. Remember our conversation last year? You had me try a variety of different options, right down to distilled water rinse. It still has that faint ring. Lady just wanted a new chair. We tried to get her to let us reupholster it with a local upholsterer, but she would't hear it.
Not uncommon with insurance claims. Its as if the insured feels they are due something. Despite all the hard work and effort a restoration contractor puts into a project some homeowners only see dollars signs. Those are dollars that are not going in there pocket.

Fortunately those types are far and few between.
 
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I reread your post Mark, I see that it was "spot cleaned".

Mssrs Ladwig and Nate have good ideas, but the first thing I do with any kind of "water mark" is apply distilled water to the entire piece. It won't hurt a thing, and more times than not, it removes the water stain. Even if it is browning, it tends to lessen the intensity, and make subsequent browning treatments more effective.

After that, you get into using reducers and oxidizers, which can leave residual chemical odors, over whitening, and a myriad of other annoyances or actual damage.

The person who caused the problem is the one who should fix it. Anyone else is asking to be entangled into the web of obligation here, and I wouldn't recommend doing that at all.
That's what I tell all lot of them too...Don't get into more problems....and you should have prewarned the clients better....

First, I would have spent time to explain what could happen...and "do you want me to proceed?"

And some of this, I am going to try and fix something that is being created before I got here...and I can only try my best.

We have only had a few pieces we have had suspect of fire retardation potential problems...and we warn the people...and even offer to vacuum the pieces a least for free...but will even refuse to clean further...

I know a lot of people do not hear what we are trying to explain, and some do... and are a bit scared but say "if it doesn't turn out we are tossing it anyway"

We would rather walk away from some we know that could be a problem vs getting into a situation that you are scrambling to fix and loosing money.

I would have also started with distilled water here too...and proceeded I hope cautiously...but there are times...I have taken a chance...but I never put my guys in that position...

There is no money worth the potential headache and hassle if we suspect trouble.

Thanks Jim for the input...and I just keep telling people to get to your class! (us included :) )
 
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The fire retardent reaction will keep damaging any dye that would be applied to the fabric. Think of it like "unneutralized" chlorine that you can't ever stop from working.

pH neutralization with ammonia, then sodium bicarbonate, works more times than not.

Best bet: If it has down in the cushion, have a heart to heart with the customer about all the risks, or just don't do it. I have more sad stories about this issue than you could hear in an Irish pub in a year....
Jim I understand the ammonia part (is the stain a dye indicator stain?).
Why sodium bicarbonate and not, say, 10 vol peroxide?
 
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Ammonia has the pH level needed to adjust the pH of the dyes to where they can begin to appear normal, but it self neutralizes, and as soon as it does, the dyes will shift back to red.

Before they shift back, you must apply the sodium bicarbonate, which is also alkaline, though by itself not alkaline enough to do the pH shift. What it does is leave an alkaline residue that doesn't allow the pH to drop enough for the red shift to occur again.

The sodium bicarbonate isn't sticky, but can leave a powdery film, which may be difficult to remove, but with brushing and patience it will come out.

Peroxide is already mildly acidic, and will not help.

This formula does not always work, so don't count on it saving you. It won't help on white fabrics that turn brown from the flame retardant, nor darker fabrics that are so badly contaminated that there is some color loss.
 
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the first thing I do with any kind of "water mark" is apply distilled water to the entire piece. It won't hurt a thing, and more times than not, it removes the water stain. .
Having never used distilled water (except in my whiskey) could you clarify a lttle. When you say "apply" Jim are you meaning to mist on with a trigger spray or saturate the fabric with it, and
do you then just extract that, or do you rinse with normal upholstery solution.?

roro
 
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In this case, evenly dampen the fabric so that you dissolve the sizing and lignin that has built up into the visible line so that it "evens out" over the entire fabric.

After drying, you can observe the results and determine if further treatment is needed.
I haven't used distilled water either. Jim, what is it about distilled water that makes it work? I once had a silk headboard that I probably could have used distilled water on. It was on a yacht and had been exposed to saltwater coming in from a open porthole. I eventually corrected it with multiple applications of neutral cleaner and browning treatment. Had to wet out the entire surface at once to avoid streaking.
 
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Because distilled water has far fewer solids that tap water, it tends to do a better job at dissolving impurities which then will "spread out" in the wet areas and dry evenly, and invisibly.

I just like distilled water alone first, as it doesn't introduce any chemistry into the fabric that could create other problems. After that, I often will just use white vinegar mixed 50/50 with distilled water. It stinks, but since there are no surfactants present, you get a solution that breaks down hard water residues (another cause of water marks) and light browning (if present), but doesn't leave a residue that you have to rinse out later.

There are some times you'll still need to use tannin spotters that have detergents, reducing agents, or oxidizing agents. Its just that once you "go there", you now have to deal with potential texture changes, and with reducers and oxidizers, color changes.

If there is anything that's changed about my approach to doing things in my training career, its this:

As a cleaning product supplier, we often look first to products on our shelves to solve problems. As a trainer who is also a distributor, that tendency follows through into our training at times. Its not always wrong, but I have learned to have enough perspective to understand that not everything needs to be solved with something in my catalog.

In some cases, as with water stains, its better not to, at least not first.
 
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Because distilled water has far fewer solids that tap water, it tends to do a better job at dissolving impurities which then will "spread out" in the wet areas and dry evenly, and invisibly.

I just like distilled water alone first, as it doesn't introduce any chemistry into the fabric that could create other problems. After that, I often will just use white vinegar mixed 50/50 with distilled water. It stinks, but since there are no surfactants present, you get a solution that breaks down hard water residues (another cause of water marks) and light browning (if present), but doesn't leave a residue that you have to rinse out later.

There are some times you'll still need to use tannin spotters that have detergents, reducing agents, or oxidizing agents. Its just that once you "go there", you now have to deal with potential texture changes, and with reducers and oxidizers, color changes.

If there is anything that's changed about my approach to doing things in my training career, its this:

As a cleaning product supplier, we often look first to products on our shelves to solve problems. As a trainer who is also a distributor, that tendency follows through into our training at times. Its not always wrong, but I have learned to have enough perspective to understand that not everything needs to be solved with something in my catalog.

In some cases, as with water stains, its better not to, at least not first.
Thanks Jim. I will be adding distilled water to my arsenal. I do use vinegar often. Even though it smells, the odor dissipates fairly rapidly. Doesn't smell as bad as browning treatment. I have found that Allen's 10 percent vinegar works well
 
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Even though it smells, the odor dissipates fairly rapidly. Doesn't smell as bad as browning treatment.
Your customers likely are less concerned about a smell that they recognize (like vinegar) than one they don't (like the odor of some strong browning formulas). I'm not, of course, saying that there aren't plenty of times you need such products; I'm just saying that especially on fine fabrics with delicate textures and finishes, I like to start with the gentlest solutions first.

And before its mentioned, even "grocery store products" have SDS documents:

http://rosafoods.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/SDS-Vinegar12to30.pdf
 
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Because distilled water has far fewer solids that tap water, it tends to do a better job at dissolving impurities which then will "spread out" in the wet areas and dry evenly, and invisibly.

I just like distilled water alone first, as it doesn't introduce any chemistry into the fabric that could create other problems. After that, I often will just use white vinegar mixed 50/50 with distilled water. It stinks, but since there are no surfactants present, you get a solution that breaks down hard water residues (another cause of water marks) and light browning (if present), but doesn't leave a residue that you have to rinse out later.

There are some times you'll still need to use tannin spotters that have detergents, reducing agents, or oxidizing agents. Its just that once you "go there", you now have to deal with potential texture changes, and with reducers and oxidizers, color changes.

If there is anything that's changed about my approach to doing things in my training career, its this:

As a cleaning product supplier, we often look first to products on our shelves to solve problems. As a trainer who is also a distributor, that tendency follows through into our training at times. Its not always wrong, but I have learned to have enough perspective to understand that not everything needs to be solved with something in my catalog.

In some cases, as with water stains, its better not to, at least not first.

If that right there isn't worth the price of free admission here to this forum...I don't know what is! :)

Thanks again Jim...didn't mean to make more work here for you and really appreciate all your sharing!
 
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Thanks again Jim...didn't mean to make more work here for you and really appreciate all your sharing!
Not at all Mark. I see so much damage caused by good cleaners trying to save things by jumping into the use of strong reducers and bleaches that its good to get the word out there. Do you remember the character from Hill Street Blues, Phil Esterhaus?

"Lets be careful out there...."

I'm changing my avatar in honor of this thread.
 
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I still believe if the cleaner cleaned the whole chair by wetting it out it wouldn't look so bad.. My mom was taught by Wally Webber to clean drapes and upholstery... Don't spot clean a spot, evenly wet out the entire piece so this type of thing doesn't happen..


Thanks @Jim Pemberton for other solutions rather than jumping to the heavy guns first!
 
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Don't spot clean a spot, evenly wet out the entire piece so this type of thing doesn't happen..
Absolutely true.

One of the things that was going on in Wally's days (and still is to some extent) were fabric protection companies who paid cleaners to remove spots for warranty claims. Cleaners that just took out spots got into (and still can get into) big trouble by causing water marks, distortion, and otherwise unnoticable color changes.

Wally was a good guy; our industry owes him a great deal.
 
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I saved this post by Jim a while back as I thought it was a good one that may come in handy to refer to:


Great advice


Mike, what obligates you to say you can fix something based on a picture? Leaving aside whether or not your schedule will allow it, you have to stop right there and say:


"I can't tell you whether or not I can fix it without having the furniture available for thorough inspection and testing. Even with my ability to do both, stains of this nature on what appears to be a natural fiber are not always removable and I won't know until I try a few things, all of which will be charged for because they involve time, material, and my best people".


"In my attempts to correct this, the fabric may become whiter, may weaken and split, or experience texture distortion. I'll be asking you to sign off that you won't hold me responsible for any of this potential damage, though I will do all that I can to avoid that happening.


"If you have other alternatives, you might want to exercise those instead. Otherwise, I need $xxx.xx whether or not the outcome is successful."


I know those seem like hard words in an industry where we offer "satisfaction guarantees". The issue here is you cannot offer that type of guarantee on a delicate fabric that has been exposed to GKW ("God Knows What") can be damaged by the steps you'll take to attempt to fix it.


You'll ultimately need something with sodium percarbonate in the formula, which will begin to weaken the fabric. Strong direct applications of peroxide will surely weaken it worse, plus both may cause it to become more bleached in appearance.


Very little good will come from trying to do this without some strong guarantees from you customer that they will pay you and not hold you liable, and no guarantees from you, outside of the fact that you'll try to do your best to restore it without damaging it, but can guarantee neither.
 

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