Costly Damage to Soft Furnishings

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Soft furnishing cleaning experts, the National Carpet Cleaners Association (NCCA), have become increasingly alarmed by the escalating trend toward DIY upholstery cleaning and warn householders of the costly damage this may cause.

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Look out for the NCCA logo on a company’s advertising. It is a guarantee of protection for the householder.

Soft furnishings are perhaps one of the largest cash investments in most households, ranking certainly within the top five items, such as the family car, carpets and new kitchen and bathroom fittings. It is therefore advisable to take good care of them and avoid the need for (often costly) replacement.

How to care for soft furnishings
The maintenance instructions that come with soft furnishings will typically provide some good advice on how to look after them, such as:

  • Vacuum the fabric on a regular basis: This will help to remove any loose soil/dust that finds its way onto the item.
  • Plump up cushions: Helps to maintain a pleasing appearance.
  • Dry Clean Only: Many items of furniture will have a label that says ‘Dry Clean Only’. This is a relatively safe method of cleaning (which is why it is recommended), but in some cases may be less effective than wetter cleaning methods.

The cleaning of upholstery
No matter what type of upholstery fabric is chosen by the consumer, at some time in its eventful life it will require cleaning. Depending on usage, cleaning should take place approximately every two years and this in turn will prolong the life of the fabric/leather covers and keep them looking good.

The best way to clean upholstery is to employ a professional cleaning company. One way of making a selection is to choose someone who has been recommended by friends or relatives. Another is to look for company who belongs to a recognised specialist trade body such as the National Carpet Cleaners Association (NCCA).

The NCCA has been in existence since 1968 and is the UK’s only government recognised Trade Association involved with the cleaning and restoration of carpets and soft furnishings. Its principal objective is the establishment and maintenance of minimum standards within the carpet and upholstery cleaning industry, with the dual aim of safeguarding the reputation of the industry and protecting its customers.

Members are required to abide by the Association's code of practice, designed to ensure customer satisfaction at all times, and covering such specifics as fair pricing, service, complaints procedures, liability, and consumer protection.

Experts within the Association have recently become alarmed by the escalating, and very worrying, trend toward DIY upholstery cleaning. "There has been a marked increase in damage caused by homeowners who have attempted to clean their own soft furnishings" says NCCA President, Paul Pearce, "We have seen shrinkage, discoloration and even fabric disintegration caused by the householder in an attempt to save money on cleaning. At best a DIY clean will produce limited results and at worst it could cause costly, and even irredeemable, damage" he warns.

The Association also advises to be wary of the ever increasing amount of half price offers that are being pushed through the letterbox. "These are often the hallmark of a ‘bait and switch’ operation" says NCCA Membership Director, Glyn Charnock. "They offer a low price but once in the home raise prices significantly with all the ‘added extras’. Often they may have no insurance cover in the event that things go wrong".

To choose a reputable company look out for the NCCA logo on a company’s advertising. It is a guarantee of protection for the householder.

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National Carpet Cleaners Association
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