How to Clean Upholstery Tips and Tricks

How To Clean Upholstery

Like many homeowners, you have upholstery all over your house. If you want your home to stay clean, beautiful and well cared for, then learning to how to clean your upholstery can be very important. Let's face it... no matter how careful you are with your upholstery and furniture, accidents do happen. If you have children and / or pets, then they happen more often than you'd like to admit. 

How to clean upholstery

Spills happen very quickly, and when they do time is of the essence. Even if you live a pristine lifestyle and never spill that glass of red wine on your furniture; dirt, dust, and general wear and tear will begin to show from regular use. 

So behold, a "How To Clean Upholstery" guide to help keep your home clean and beautiful. The focus of this article is mainly on fabric upholstery. For tips on how to clean leather furniture or suede, you can read our article on How To Care For Your Leather Furniture.

Before Cleaning Your Upholstery Make Sure To Vacuum It

First thing is first; vacuum your upholstery. Over a very short period of time, your upholstery can begin to look dingy or develop spots or stains. Doing a thorough vacuuming will remove the dirt and dust which, when wet, can further dirty your nice chairs or couch.  Use an upholstery attachment to get into all the cracks and crevices, and to thoroughly clean all the cushions.

If you have pets, then work to remove as much pet hair as possible. Sometimes, vacuums do not remove pet hair entirely so it may be necessary to get a pet hair remover product, such as tape rollers, Swiffer products or even the Bissell Handheld Pet Hair Eraser.



Next, dust your upholstery with baking soda

You heard that right. Go to the pantry and grab a box of household baking soda and dust the entire piece with it. Remove the cushion(s) and dust those separately. You should leave it sit for at least 30 minutes, but if you've got some errands to run and can let it sit for a few hours then you'll be in a better shape.

When you come back, pull out the vacuum with your upholstery attachment and vacuum the piece entirely again. 



What Upholstery Cleaners Should Be Used To Clean Your Upholstery?

You need to know what types of upholstery cleaners should be used on your upholstery. This is largely dependent on two things: (1) the type of fabric the upholstery is made of; and (2) the type of spill or stain on the upholstery.

Upholstery fabrics can vary widely from wool to cotton, silk, acetate, linen, olefin, rayon and even acrylic (including blends of these fabrics as well). In addition, different upholstery fabrics have been dyed with different colors, in different ways, and the age of your upholstery should also be taken into account.

*** Very Important Note, if you have very old upholstery, antique upholstery or it is very valuable, I would suggest calling in a professional fabric restoration specialist.

Hopefully, you've followed instruction and not removed the upholstery's tag. The first step is to look at the tag for instructions specific to your piece. 

The Secret Recipe to Upholstery Love

Now... we do recommend doing the above, but as a general rule from experts across the internet this simple solution is a sure win for most upholstered chairs and couches. Try this recipe:

  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 1/4 Cup Laundry or Dish Soap
  • Splash of Vinegar if you piece has tough stains or odors

Now grab your standard hand mixer from the kitchen and beat the mixture on low for 30 seconds to a minute until its frothy. It might look like that egg white frosting you put on your angel food cake. If you don't have a mixer that's ok, you'll simply shoulder therapy when you're finished doing it by hand. 



Round up Some Help

Now, gather the neighborhood kids and get to scrubbing. The key to this mixture is to grab just the bubble and avoid the liquid on the bottom of the potion. Scoop the bubbles out with your hands and apply to the upholstery. 

After you rub your upholstered piece down in the foamy bubbles, wipe the whole thing with a wet rag. To eliminate any lingering soap or dirt, rinse out your rag and repeat.  

Place the piece someplace to dry that is out of the way (maybe the garage or basement). Replace any cushions after it has dried. You'll love your fresh and clean chair or couch as if it were brand new!

Need Professional Help With Upholstery Restoration?