How To Clean Upholstery: Tips And Tricks To Do It Right

how to clean upholstery
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Gorgeous, clean upholstery can be a key component of your aesthetic living. As beautiful as fabric upholstery can be, keeping it clean requires dedicated attention. Even without spills or smudges, accumulation of dust, natural oils, dirt, pet hair, and dead skin cells can develop on the materials surface, reducing its visual appeal.

Do you still remember the look of your upholstery when you first bought it? Are you planning to replace it and say goodbye to the filthy one? Wait. You can still get your upholstery to look new again by getting rid of all the dirt and stains.

With time, some natural soils can develop on the material resulting in a dirty look. Some things are prone to spills and scratches between toddler tantrums, paw prints, and fallen wine.


What do You Need to Clean Your Upholstery?

green upholstery furniture
Photo by Polina Kovaleva from Pexels

No matter how carefully you take care of your upholstered furniture, accidents do happen. The only way to prevent the tragedy from happening isn’t by banning pets or not eating in the living room.

You can solve it only by being prepared well in advance with a remedy. You can easily handle stains and spills by working fast, cleaning your upholstery regularly, and knowing your fabric well.

The two of the most essential factors for lifting stains from upholstery are time and your choice of cleaning product. If the stain dries or has time to set, it will be far more challenging to remove.

Here’s what you’ll need for the job-

  • A carpet cleaning machine
  • A vacuum
  • Soft nylon bristle brush
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • A spray bottle
  • A quarter cup of white vinegar and water
  • Baking soda
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Absorbent paper towels
  • Mask
  • Gloves


How to Clean Upholstery

Water rings, it’s time to go. Here we’re going to discuss all the ways on how to clean upholstery the right way. Make sure the product you choose is efficient in cleaning and also acts as a degreaser. This will help break down even though oily stains.

First, vacuum to remove any dirt or crumbs lying around on the surface. If you’re dealing with sticky upholstery stains, start by scrapping the solid material on the surface with a spoon. Blot any liquid with a nylon or microfiber cleaning cloth.

Be careful not to rub the stain further into the material. It will only embed the stain into the material, making it harder to remove. Never machine wash your fabric covers; they could shrink easily. Instead, take them directly to the dry cleaners.


Always Double Check The Instructions

Check for the instructions before attacking any furniture. Look for cleaning instruction codes or care instruction tags. This will determine which product would work best for your upholstery.

W means you can use a water-based cleaner.

S means to clean your fabric with water-free products like dry cleaning solvent.

S-W is for solvent + water-based cleaners; you can use both as mentioned in the manual.

X is for vacuum or dry brushing only.

Also, check if your upholstery needs professional cleaning as some stains or fabric cannot be cleaned at home. These techniques should work on any fabric labeled W, S, S-W, but always test it in an inconspicuous place. On the contrary, if there is no tag at all, treat it as an S.


Carpet Cleaning

Vacuum clean upholstery carpet
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Next, set-up your carpet cleaning machine and fill it up with water and white vinegar. This will help reduce foaming as you extract the cleaner. Then mix half a cup of all-purpose cleaner with ten parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the upholstery without soaking it.

Finally, remove the stain by gently brushing or scrubbing with a soft nylon brush. This allows the cleaner to penetrate deeper into the fabric. To avoid streaks or spots, do not let the cleaning product dry on the fabric for more than 15 minutes.

The upholstery looks clean, absolutely no water rings, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Now take your carpet cleaner and attach the upholstery attachment to extract the cleaning solution from the material.

Use suction and overlapping strokes over the material for the best results. Maintain contact between the head of the attachment and the surface being cleaned for amazing results.


Final Vacuum

Once you finish, allow the cleaned area to dry completely. Once it is dry, you’ll notice it feels rough and the opposite of the cozy, soft fabric you had before. This is where the vacuum comes in.

The final touch is to vacuum or lightly brush the surface until the fibers are fluffed, and your fabric is soft again. Repeat if necessary to restore its visual appearance.


What to Clean and How?

Berries & Fruits: For berry stains, blot the excess moisture and mix white vinegar with rubbing alcohol to remove the stain.

Greasy items: For oil, gravy, mayonnaise, butter, etc., sprinkle baking soda directly on the stain. Let it stand on its own for about 15 mins, then vacuum it. Apply a dry cleaning solvent onto a white cloth and blot it until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat the procedure if needed.

Peanut butter and Spaghetti Sauce: Even on washable upholstery, use a dry cleaning solvent or your all-purpose cleaner for the best possible results.


Stubborn Spots

Not all the DIYs can fix the stubborn stains and discoloration on your upholstery. So it’s best to leave those stubborn spots to the professionals. With the right equipment and cleaning solutions, they can get rid of even the most stubborn stain.

Quarterly professional cleaning can prolong the lifespan of your upholstery, too. It will also make your space more healthy and livable without dirt and bacteria.

Even though DIY cleaning or self-cleaning may work, its always a good idea to consider hiring a cleaning service to eliminate those stubborn stains.



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