The Sound Advice Blog

Cleaning Acoustic Panels: Spring Cleaning for Soundproofing

With the arrival of Spring, many people are focusing on the nice weather and rejoicing that they can finally open their windows and clean their offices and homes after being holed up by the cold.
While you are doing your spring cleaning, however, you may wonder how in the world you are supposed to clean your acoustical wall panels. They are dusty, have pen marks, and it’s not like you can throw them in a washing machine – here is how you should go about cleaning acoustic panels:

Fabric Wrapped

If your acoustic wall panels are fabric wrapped, they probably use Guilford of Maine acoustical fabric, or something very similar.24x48-Broadband-ds2

Guilford of Maine’s 100% recycled polyester panel fabrics are colorfast to both water-based and solvent-based cleaning solutions and may be cleaned with all conventional upholstery cleaning systems. Follow these guidelines when you’re cleaning fabric-wrapped acoustic panels:

  1. Vacuum the fabric periodically to remove accumulated dirt and dust. The frequency of this and any other routine maintenance is determined by end use conditions.
  2. Blot fresh spills immediately.
  3. Ensure that the fabric is adequately rinsed after cleaning, as residual cleaning agents may accelerate soiling.
  4. Have the fabric professionally cleaned whenever large stains or an overall soiled condition occurs.

For most water-based stains, a clean, absorbent cloth dampened with a detergent solution (e.g. 1 teaspoon laundry detergent/1 pint warm water) should be applied to the stain. Blot the fabric with the treated cloth, working from the outer edge of the stained area, moving inward. In order to effectively draw out the stain, renew the cleaning cloth frequently. Rinse well with clear water, and dry the fabric as quickly as practical. Oil-based stains may be treated in a similar manner, substituting a volatile solvent-based cleaner for the detergent solution. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for using such products, and always pretest an inconspicuous area of the fabric for colorfastness to the cleaning agent.

PVC or Vinyl Panels

When cleaning acoustic panels that are PVC, Ripstop, or Vinyl encapsulated, follow the below guidelines:

AlphaEnviro® PVC Sound Baffle / Panel

PVC Encapsulated

PVC may be cleaned with a low concentration of a mild soap in water. The solution should be applied with a sponge or soft cloth with a gentle rubbing action. Cleaners with abrasives such as scouring powders or steel wool should be avoided. Also, cleaners that contain keytones, kerosene, or petroleum products must not be used.

If a PVC encapsulated product should become ripped or torn, it can easily be repaired with a matching PVC repair tape. If PVC tape is not available, then a clear packaging tape will work very well. As with all tapes, it is extremely important that the surface be clean and dry. When applying the tape, a sufficient amount of pressure must be used to ensure proper adhesion.

Vinyl

General Conditions: Day-to-Day Soil Ordinary dirt and smudges can be removed with a mild soap, warm water, and, if necessary, a hard bristle brush to remove dirt from the crevices of deeply textured patterns. Clean from bottom of wall upward. Rinse thoroughly with clean water from the top down using a sponge.

Deeply embossed wallcoverings need extra attention in case suds or loosened dirt lodge in depressed surfaces. Dry wallcovering with a soft, lint-free cloth or towel. For more difficult stains that are only surface deep, the use of a stronger detergent is recommended.

Not recommended for cleaning are steel wool or powdered abrasive cleaners because they mar the surface leaving an unsightly appearance.

Unlike wallcovering with conventional finishes, active solvent type cleaning preparations such as nail polish remover, tar and bug removers, etc., can be used with Pre-Fixx protected wallcoverings to remove residual stains that remain after cleaning with standard cleaning agents.

Special Conditions
Stains on Pre-Fixx protected vinyl wallcoverings can be cleaned by the following methods (Staining agents have been grouped to allow quick reference for cleaning instructions):

Cleaning Agents to Use:

1. Full Strength household cleaners (non-abrasive type) to be used with water and scrub brush

  • 409 All Purpose Cleaner
  • Fantastic
  • Butchers Sun Bath Cleaners
  • Service Master’s Wallglide Plus
  • Other type household cleaners and bleaches

2. Solvent type cleaner to be used with scrub brush and cloth. For most effective cleaning, use 100% full strength with brush. Dry area with cloth.

  • Rubbing Alcohol (IPA type)
  • Service Master’s Disaster Clean
  • Mineral Spirits
  • Kerosene
  • Naptha (lighter fluid)
  • Turpentine (paint thinner)

3. Strong active solvent cleaners such as nail polish remover (acetone/water) with scrub brush and cloth

If you are still unsure of what kind of acoustical panel you have, or have additional questions about the care and cleaning of your acoustical treatment, call us or leave a comment below!

Hi we recently got two oil based paint spots an a acoustic panel how can you remove the stains?

Hi Dwaine,
I would not recommend using a steam cleaner to clean fabric wrapped acoustical panels as it might damage the panel. If you are not trying to remove a stain, vacuuming is sufficient to clean to the panel. Please feel free to give us a call if you have any more questions!

Can you use steam to clean Fabric Wrapped panels? These are about 15 ft in the air I could not see any stains, would just a a good vacuuming be enough to clean them?

Dwaine Anderson

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