How to Properly Clean Upholstery

Furniture is an essential part of your home that brings style and comfort to your living space, but it’s not as comforting once it becomes dirty. As time passes, the upholstery covering your furniture tends to collect crumbs, spills, and oils from the frequent family gatherings and Netflix marathons you’ve enjoyed. In order to clean your upholstery and bring your furniture back to life, follow the steps provided.


Identify Upholstery Fabric

Before washing your furnishings, it’s important to understand the material the upholstery is made of to avoid damage. Locate the item’s care tag for instructions on how to wash the fabric properly.

General Codes:

W – water can be used to clean upholstery

WS– water or solvent-based cleansers can be used

S– only solvent-based cleanser can be used

X– only a vacuum should be used to clean the upholstery  


Remove Dirt and Debris

1. Dry Brush

Start by using a brush to remove any dirt or debris on the couch. This will also help break up any loose hair or pet fur that has lodged into the fabric.

2. Vacuum

Use your vacuum on a low setting to collect any of the left over debris from dry brushing. If possible, remove couch cushions to get underneath tough to reach areas that are prone to collecting debris. 

3. Create Soap Mixture 

If your fabric can be safely cleaned with water, create a mixture with mild dish soap and water. Just to be sure, apply any mixture to an inconspicuous spot before using it on the entire couch to avoid creating unnecessary rings or stains. For “S” fabrics, make sure you are using a solvent based product when cleaning your upholstery. Finally, be sure to use even strokes with your cloth following the grain of the couch for the best results. 

4. Let Dry 

Allow the upholstery to dry completely after cleaning. Pro Tip: Flip the cushions each time you clean them so they don’t appear as worn down. 


How to Treat Stains on Upholstery

When possible, stains should be treated immediately in order to reduce potential residue. If you come across a settled stain while routinely cleaning your upholstery, it may require more work to remove. As stated before, it is crucial to understand your fabric’s care tag instruction prior to treatment.

1. Detergent Solution

A somewhat new stain should respond to a solution of warm water and detergent. Mix two tablespoons of your favorite detergent with two cups of warm water. Using a microfiber cloth, blot the stain with the solution, avoiding a rubbing motion which can cause pilling. Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes, then blot away with warm water.

2. Baking Soda or White Vinegar Solution

If your stain is still present after the first method, try creating a solution with baking soda or white vinegar. For a deep stain, it may be best to sprinkle baking soda directly onto the affected area and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Again, you may use warm water on a cloth using circular motions to blot away the solution, but do not rub. Finally, vacuum any excess baking soda away and let the area dry completely.