Upholstery Cleaning Codes

An excellent article recently posted at ISSA.com bears repeating. Authored by Mark Baxter, a product manager and engineer at U.S. Products, it details common coding used for fabrics on upholstered furniture.

Misunderstanding of these codes, and the failure to check them prior to cleaning fabrics, has caused more damage to coverings than many cleaning experts would care to recall.

To keep you or your staff from making similar mistakes, here are some of the most frequently seen fabric codes, as posted by Baxter, that are used by ASTM International.

  • Code W. The dyes used in Code W fabrics are stable—meaning they will not run, fade, or be damaged—when using water-based cleaning agents or spotters. This furniture can be cleaned safely using water-based upholstery cleaners or water-based foams.
  • Codes S and P. These fabrics should be cleaned by a professional technician using solvent-based cleaning agents and spotters.
  • Codes S/W and W/S. These codes denote fabrics that can be cleaned safely using solvents, foams, or water-based cleaners.
  • Codes X and X/S. These fabrics can’t be cleaned using traditional solvents, foams, or water-based cleaners. Cleaning such furniture with these solutions can damage the cushions, cause shrinking, ruin the dyes, or destroy the backing.
  • Code F. Instead of scrubbing with soap and water, Code F items should be cleaned using foam cleaners.
  • Code W-S. These fabrics remain stable whether water- or dry-solvent-based cleaning agents and spotters are used.
  • Code X. These fibers should not be cleaned with water- or dry solvent-based cleaning or spotting agents.