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When we get a call asking us to consider cleaning velvet upholstery, there are always a number of key questions that come to mind:

  1. What is the condition of the fabric?
  2. What has been used to clean it with so far?
  3. Are there any significant concerns?

What lies behind these questions is many years of experience of facing the impossible task of restoring velvet that has either collapsed (due to over-wetting) or been permanently damaged through excessive agitation or application of an off-the-shelf cleaning product.

As I may have mentioned (or moaned about) before, far too often items of upholstery (and carpets) are sold without any explicit care instructions or- far worse- no explanation that cleaning the item may be problematic or need the attention of a professional.

This example comes from a recent clean in Box, Wiltshire. The owner had not specified any particular issues so we had planned for a straightforward dry clean using a fabric appropriate solvent. Because of the volatility of the solvent, the household was advised to keep the door closed. While we worked, we used a P3 respirator to ensure that no hazardous fumes were breathed in.  After the clean was finished, all windows were opened to allow the solvent to safely disperse.

Green Man operate as a green-cleaning company, but recognise the limitations that this occasionally imposes with regards to so-called problem fabrics such as velvet. Most of the time, with 95% of our work, getting an outstanding finish is possible using only eco-friendly products. However, some fabrics are simply not suitable for any kind of water0based clean, and this is when we have to revert to (the safest possible) dry cleaning solvents. We do our best to discuss the possible options with clients and ensure that they are informed about any possible compromises with regards to the eco credentials of our work. 

As a general rule of thumb, if there has been any significant water-damage or staining to velvet, it is highly unlikely to be salvageable. The beautifully soft pile of velvet is created using the cut strands of fine cotton and, as such, it is incredibly prone to collapse.

If you’ve any questions at all regarding our velvet work, or would like to discuss having an item of velvet cleaned in your own home, feel free to get in touch. We’d be delighted to help.