Updated: Feb 3, 2020
They're not exactly self-explanatory. The letters you'll find are generally W, S, WS, or X. And they're meant to tell you which cleaning products or solutions to use to safely clean the fabric without damaging it. (And which to avoid.)
This guide will help you decipher the meaning behind upholstery cleaning letters, no decoder required.
upholstery cleaning code w:
W = Water based cleaning agent. Clean wi
th a water-based product such as a little foam from mild detergent or a non-solvent upholstery shampoo.
Use as little foam and water as possible to do the job; you don't want to get the upholstery too wet.
cleaning code s:
S = Solvent. Clean with a mild water-free dry cleaning solvent. Use just a little and make sure you have plenty of ventilation.
cleaning code ws:
WS = Water-based cleaning agent or solvent. Depending on the stain, you can use a dry-cleaning solvent, the foam of a mild detergent, or upholstery shampoo.
cleaning code x:
X = Don't clean it yourself. Hire a professional. You can, however, vacuum or brush off surface grime.
a word on zippered cushions:
By the way, zippered cushion covers do not mean you can remove the covers for cleaning separately. The zippers are there to provide a tighter fit. If you clean covers separately, they may shrink, tear, or discolor.
It's deceptive, I know. I've bought couches myself on the mistaken notion that I could clean the removable covers.
deciphering furniture wearability codes.
In addition to the cleaning code, manufacturers use a wearability code to gauge how well a particular fabric will hold up under use.
When you're shopping for furniture, ask the salesperson about the wearability of the various fabrics. Then go for the one that will take the most abuse.
Here's how to break the secret code:
he = heavy duty
This is what you want in your family room.
md = medium duty
Reserve this until your kids are out of the toddler stage.
ld = light duty
This is rather delicate fabric that is definitely not kid proof. Use it for entertaining.
dd = delicate duty
Do we need to even discuss this one? If you have a room that's off-limits to kids and pets, buy this fabric.