What’s With the Doilies?

In the annals of upholstery care, doilies have played a crucial yet often overlooked role. Originally introduced during the Victorian era, doilies on chair and sofa backs were not just ornamental pieces; they served a practical purpose. Armchairs were adorned with delicate doilies as a strategy to protect upholstery from the damaging effects of sweat, natural hair oils, and pomade residue.

In times when central heating and air conditioning were not commonplace and showers weren’t a daily ritual, normal perspiration could easily (and quickly) cause permanent stains and discoloration to the fine upholstery fabrics. Plus, they didn’t have professional upholstery cleaning companies back then! So the intricate patterns of doilies were not just a show of affluence or for aesthetic appeal; they provided a barrier, absorbing and shielding furniture from the oils and sweat produced in long hours of leisurely lounging. Once the doilies started to show signs of grease and discoloration, they could be washed and replaced.

Nowadays, we have central air and most of us wash our hair regularly, so we don’t have much need for armchair doilies. But upholstery can still suffer the effects of too much contact with the back of our heads. That’s because people still use hair products. It may not be as oily and greasy as the hair products of yesteryear, but over time, it can leave a residue on your cherished upholstery.

Modern upholstery, with its diverse materials and finishes, requires a tailored approach to cleaning and maintenance. If your favorite chair is showing stains from everyday use, particularly in areas where sweat and hair products come into contact, it may be time to call in the pros. Thankfully, we don’t live in the Victorian era, and Five Step is just a phone call away!

Remember, consistency in cleaning and maintenance is key to preserving the beauty of your upholstery. While doilies may no longer be a widespread trend, the principles of protecting and caring for your furniture endure.

If you’re in the Asheville, NC area and need help with keeping your upholstery clean and fresh, give Five Step a call at 828.237.3237

Sweet Success: Removing Chocolate Stains From Upholstery

chocolate spill

Indulging in a chocolate treat, especially during the holiday season, can bring immense joy. But accidental spills on your upholstery can quickly turn the sweetness into a sticky situation. Fear not! With a few simple steps and the right approach, you’ll have no trouble removing chocolate stains from upholstery.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Act Quickly. The key to effective stain removal is to act promptly to deal with the mess. As soon as the chocolate lands on your upholstery, grab a clean, dry cloth or paper towel to blot and lift as much of the chocolate as possible. Be gentle to avoid spreading the stain.
  2. Scrape off the excess. If the chocolate has solidified, use a blunt knife or spoon to gently scrape off the excess. Be careful not to damage the fabric, and scrape in the direction of the fibers.
  3. Prepare your cleaning solution. Mix a solution of mild dish soap or laundry detergent with warm water. Avoid using hot water, as it can set the stain. Stir the solution until it forms a gentle lather.
  4. Pre-test the cleaning solution. Before applying any cleaning solution, test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the upholstery to ensure it won’t cause discoloration or damage. This is especially important for delicate or vintage fabrics. The mild dish soap solution we are using in this method should be safe for most upholstery fabrics, but you can never be too careful!
  5. Apply the solution. Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the soapy solution and gently blot the chocolate stain. Work from the outside of the stain toward the center to prevent spreading. Avoid vigorous rubbing, as it may damage the fabric.
  6. Rinse and blot. After treating the stain, rinse the area with a clean cloth dampened with water. Blot the upholstery to remove any soap residue. Continue blotting until the fabric is no longer soapy.
  7. Absorb excess moisture. Place a clean, dry cloth or paper towels over the cleaned area and press down gently to absorb excess moisture. Allow the upholstery to air dry completely.
  8. Consider professional cleaning. If the chocolate stain persists or if your upholstery is made of delicate or vintage materials, consider consulting professional upholstery cleaners. They have the expertise and tools to tackle stubborn stains without causing damage. If you’re in the Asheville, NC area, give Five Step a call at 828.237.3237