Coded for Cleaning

ASTM International Fabric Codes Help Prevent Cleaning Errors

Mukilteo, WA – It is often difficult to identify the type of fabric used on upholstered furniture. This can be a serious problem, as using the wrong cleaning chemical, spotter, or cleaning method can easily damage fabrics.

Although it is not mandatory, some upholstery fabric manufacturers print ASTM International* fabric codes on their products’ labels to deal with this issue.

These codes give consumers and cleaning professional information about the colorfastness of the fabric in question, specifically as it relates to cleaning and the use of cleaning and spotting agents.

The most often used codes are:
• Code W. The dyes used in Code W fabrics are stable (will not run, fade, or be damaged) when using water-based cleaning agents or spotters; such furniture can be safely cleaned 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 cleansers.
• Codes X and X/S. These fabrics can't be cleaned using traditional solvents, foams, or water-based cleansers; cleaning such furniture 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 cleansers.
• 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/spotting agents.
“Before cleaning any upholstered item, cleaning technicians should check to see if the label on the upholstered item bears a code,” says Mark Baxter, an engineer with U.S. Products, manufacturers of professional carpet cleaning equipment. “With this information, the technician can get a good idea about what cleaning methods and chemicals are recommended for that particular upholstered item.”

*ASTM International develops international standards for materials, products, systems, and services used in a variety of industries.

Visit us on Facebook at:

About U.S. Products
U.S. Products is a leading manufacturer of carpet, upholstery, drapery, stone, concrete, & tile cleaning and restoration equipment, tools and chemicals for the floor care professional. In manufacturing, quality, reliability and innovation are words that are frequently advertised. At U.S. Products, we have the track record to demonstrate we have put them into action.