Carpet/Rug/Upholstery Cleaning / Web Exclusive Features

Just Ask Jess: What’s the Best Way to Clean Rayon?

Rayon can be tricky to clean, as there are many issues

January 30, 2014
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Hi Jessika: One of my clients has 18 very expensive high-end rayon dining chair pads that I am a little nervous about cleaning. I want to do the job, and they are not heavily soiled at all, can you give me any tips?

-Bill, Crown Cleaning, Dallas, TX


Hi Bill! Rayon can be tricky to clean, as there are many issues, but have no fear! Here are a couple of pointers: 

Rayon is the weakest fiber when wet and can literally fall apart or tear under your upholstery tool. When using the hot water extraction method, I like to use one of the dry technology upholstery tools. Always check the head to make sure that there are no burrs, cuts or scratches that can pull the fibers and tear this very weak wet fabric! Also, I like to lay a piece of plastic window screen material (I bought mine at Home Depot), on top of the upholstery and clean through the screen. This prevents my tool from sucking up the fabric into the lips that may cause undue stress on the fabric. If the fabric is printed or has a variety of colors, start by spritzing a little color-lock. A blended citrus solvent gel is great for pre-spotting. For cleaning agents I would recommend a mild pH pre-spray and an acidic extraction rinse formulated specifically for natural and delicate fibers. As always, pre-test any of your cleaning agents in an inconspicuous area. Use an air mover to dry the fabric as quickly as possible to prevent any bleeding or browning issues. 

If the delicate rayon upholstery is only lightly soiled, then I will usually use the dry foam method with a natural sea sponge. This method is the least aggressive and has the least chance of causing tearing, bleeding, cellulosic browning, fabric distortion – or any of the other array of issues we have cleaning rayon! I prefer a slightly acidic dry foam product that has the crystallization polymer technology that encapsulates soil as it dries and prevents wicking and browning along with soil removal.

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