I’m getting beat up on this upholstery cleaning job!



We cleaned some furniture- an olefin sofa and chair about 2 months ago. It seems the upholstered chair was left on a screen porch. It had been exposed to pollen, humidity and some degree of moisture. Initially, we used our regular process for synthetic fibers. When that didn’t work we tried a few other things, citric acid, a sour …. and a few others. We have now made FOUR return trips and there is still an invisible film that cannot be seen but definitely be felt.

The owner CLAIMS nothing has been applied to the chair. I specifically asked about what she has sprayed or applied to the chair.  She says, “Nothing”.  I think she is lying. What else can be done to rinse this fabric?  You can’t SEE a film, but you can feel it. Any suggestions?

Tearing My Hair Out In Pensacola

PS  It is a pain when someone lies to you about what they have, and have not, done. I assume they are afraid you will charge them more.

Hi Tearing,

Follow these steps exactly:

1. Go see your customer with joy in your heart and a bounce in your step.

2. Explain what you have done and say, “I’m out of ideas but we ALWAYS stand behind our work” and then hand her a check for the amount of the cleaning. Smile and thank her for the privilege of getting to know her. Mention that if another company can resolve her problem you would appreciate learning how they did it.

3. Leave and heave a big sigh of relief.

4. Take the missus out to a nice dinner and have yourself a margarita. (Maybe three.) As you drink it think about how nice it is to not have this sword hanging over your head. Life is too short.

5. Move on.


P.S. My guess is you have already wasted much more than the cleaning cost in negative emotional energy on this mess. Mack Clark used to talk about “management dilution”.  My guess is this ugly situation is producing exactly that in your company!  So once again, fuggedaboudit and move on.

3 thoughts on “I’m getting beat up on this upholstery cleaning job!”

  1. Often this is easier said than done, Steve. Still, great advice.

    Another often overlooked benifit of doing this is (as we were discussing in another post thread) is that this will be so surprising to the customer that you gave back the money unsolicited, that they will tell everyone what you did.

    A lot of times doing this type of thing turns your unhappy customer in to an unsuspecting cheerleader. When they tell others what you did, their audience knows you really do stand behind your work. No risk to them to try your services.

    For the most part, people aren’t going to abuse this policy by having work done and claiming to be unhappy and try to get free cleaning. That is often a fear/criticism cleaners have of offering “satisfaction or your money back” gaurantee. Besides, if you are targeting the right demographic, they aren’t the ones out there looking to exploit these types of policies for personal gain.

  2. You have stamina! Four callbacks. I did a urine job for a couple with a Mercedes, a Lexus, a boat and an RV in the driveway. They wanted me to clean 8 sq. feet here, 25 there, 10 square feet in the basement. Afterward where the homeowner crawled around the urine damaged areas with his nose in the carpet. The first time they called to tell me that they spilled water on the Scotchgarded rug and it got wet instead of holding the water on top, I told them I’d send back the check. Sometimes you just know.

    carpet cleaning Raleigh NC

  3. Yeah, sometimes it is time to say good-bye with respect and dignity. But never be snarky or cutting. (This can be difficult to do!)


    PS Remember one of my (many) favorite sayings:
    “Never make business decisions emotionally!”

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