Guide to cleaning and disinfecting fabrics and vinyls.
Cleaning and disinfection have become hot topics of debate in the wake of COVID-19, with new emphasis on hygiene as an important way in which to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Remember that cleaning and disinfection are not the same:
• Cleaning is the process of removing dust, dirt and staining from the surface of a fabric or vinyl to maintain its appearance and prolong its life.
• Disinfection is intended to kill germs – micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi – which can cause infection and spread disease.
• Some methods, notably using soap and water, bleach or steam – are effective at both cleaning and disinfecting, but certain methods can only be carried out on specific fibre types.
Guidelines – cleaning and maintenance of fabrics
Regular cleaning has always been recommended as a way to keep fabrics looking good for longer, with a few straightforward guidelines:
Vacuum fabrics regularly to prevent build up of dust and dirt on the fabric which can act as an abradant and lead to fabrics wearing out before their time.
Get to stains quickly, mopping up any excess liquid, before they have time to soak in or dry out. If need be, use upholstery shampoo or liquid soap and warm water. Be careful not to over wet fabrics, especially wool, so always make sure a clean cloth soaked in soapy water is well squeezed out.
For deeper cleaning, wool, polyester and Trevira CS can be dry cleaned or steam cleaned. Polyester and Trevira CS can also be machine washed if upholstery is removable. Polypropylene should not be machine washed, dry cleaned or steam cleaned (but is bleach cleanable, likewise polyester).
Disinfecting fabrics and vinyls
Soap and water
Just as soap and water is believed to be the best way to clean your hands to stop the spread of the virus, it is also an effective method which can be used to clean upholstery fabric and vinyl.
Soap works so effectively because its chemistry prises open the Coronavirus’s exterior envelope and causes it to quickly degrade.
• Use liquid soap in warm water. To wipe down by hand, use a clean cloth, squeeze out well and be careful not to over wet the upholstery. Alternatively, injection extraction cleaners can be used, which deep clean, rinse and remove excess water at the same time. Leave the upholstery to dry. Suitable for all types of fabric and vinyl.
Alcohol and ethanol based disinfectants are rapidly effective against bacteria, viruses and fungi.
We have carried out tests using both spray and wipes, using 75% alcohol solution. Always follow the specific manufacturer’s instructions. Use on polypropylene, polyester, Trevira CS and vinyl.
Bleach is typically made from a solution of sodium hypochlorite and is a powerful oxidising agent. This oxidising power is what makes bleach such a great stain remover and also makes it an effective broad spectrum bactericide. When it comes into contact with certain viruses, bacteria, mould or fungi, it oxidises molecules in the cells of the germs and kills them. Bleach is available over the counter at a range of concentrations and is normally further diluted before use.Use bleach on polypropylene, polyester, Trevira CS and vinyl.
Do not use on natural fibres such as wool, flax or hemp (wool bast).
Steam cleaning and disinfection is chemical free, using a combination of temperature and pressure to remove dirt and stains, and to kill microorganisms. Steam temperatures typically reach up to 180C and pressures up to 150 psi, with steam vapour penetrating the fabric surface, then a vacuum applying pressure to lift away the moisture along with dirt and any germs.
Use on wool, wool-bast, polyester and Trevira CS
Anti-bacterial spray / wipes
Anti-bacterial sprays and wipes are typically based on Benzalkonium chloride solutions (0.4g per 100g) and are fast acting biocidal agents effective against bacteria, some viruses and fungi.
Use anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down the upholstery to disinfect, or apply as a spray and wipe.
Use on polypropylene, polyester, Trevira CS and vinyl.
Camira’s range of fabrics and vinyls have all been developed to withstand regular cleaning maintenance and this now extends to disinfection where reasonable regime protocols are adopted. Please follow manufacturer instructions on cleaning and disinfection agents, and we recommend spot testing on an inconspicuous part of the material first. The above information and advice provided is based on technical research and testing which we have undertaken ourselves or by using third party certified technical laboratories. Cleaning and disinfection can typically affect textiles in three main areas - colour fastness, flammability performance and weakening of material – all of which could be impacted by the frequency at which cleaning / disinfection is carried out, therefore, care and cleaning / disinfection methods outside of this guidance may invalidate any warranty.