How To Clean Upholstery: 8 Tips In Caring For Your Upholstered Furniture

September 22, 2022

How To Clean Upholstery: 8 Tips In Caring For Your Upholstered Furniture

Upholstered furniture pieces are often some of the most expensive items in your home. And they can also be the ones that are the hardest to keep clean. If you don't take proper care of them, your beautiful upholstery can quickly become stained and faded.

However, with all of the different fabrics and materials out there, it can be tricky to know how to best clean your furniture’s upholstery. Some types of fabrics are delicate and can be easily damaged, so it’s important to take care when cleaning your pieces.

The upkeep of your upholstered furniture might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be! Here are a few tips on how to clean your upholstery fabric and keep it looking vibrant and new for years to come:


Read the care label first.

Always check the care label before attempting to clean your upholstered furniture. The care label will tell you what type of fabric your furniture is made of and what cleaning method is best. Different fabrics require different cleaning techniques, and using the wrong method could damage your furniture beyond repair. This will give you the best chance of cleaning the upholstery without ruining the fabric.

If the care label says "wash," you can clean the fabric yourself with a mild soap and water. Use a soft brush to work the soap into the fabric, then rinse thoroughly and allow it to air dry. If the care label says "dry-clean only," take it to a professional cleaner who has experience cleaning that particular type of fabric.

 

Vacuum your upholstered furniture regularly.

You must vacuum your upholstered furniture on a daily basis. This will remove dirt, dust and other debris that can build up over time and lead to a dull, grimy appearance of the fabric. If you have pets, you must also vacuum more often to remove any hair or fur that has stuck to the fabric.

Before you start, pick the appropriate attachment for your vacuum cleaner. Upholstery attachments have softer bristles that won’t damage delicate fabrics. When everything is ready, vacuum the top of your furniture first and then work your way down. Vacuuming in one direction is not enough, especially if your furniture is heavily used, so go over each area at least two or three times in different directions to get all the dirt and dust out.

 

Use a gentle cleanser or soap on the fabric.

Upholstery cleaning is not as simple as just throwing clothes into the washing machine. You need to be careful with the type of cleaners you use and how you go about scrubbing the fabric.

When you want to clean upholstery, use a mild soap and lukewarm water. Avoid using any harsh chemicals or detergents, as these can damage the fabric. To clean light-colored fabrics, start with a dry-cleaning solvent. If that doesn’t work, move on to a diluted solution of dish soap and water. For dark-colored fabrics, use diluted vinegar or diluted laundry detergent. Always test any solution in an inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire piece of furniture.

 

Don’t put hot, cold, or sharp objects on your furniture.

When you are not careful, you can end up with a big stain or even a hole in your upholstery. To avoid this, take some precautions.

If you need to place something hot or cold on your furniture, especially soups or beverages, make sure to use a coaster, trivet, placemat, or other protective measure before setting it down on your furniture. Heat can damage the fabric and any spills may cause permanent stains. If you have any sharp objects, such as knives or scissors, be sure to keep them away from the fabric as well. These may tear or fray the upholstery unintentionally.

 

Avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight.

While it may be tempting to put your furniture in the sunniest spot in your home, this can actually cause damage over time. The sun's rays can fade fabric and wood and ruin your beautiful pieces, so it's best to avoid exposure if possible.

You should position your furniture away from direct sunlight. Opt for indirect or artificial light sources so your piece can keep looking its best. If you can't avoid placing it in direct sunlight, there are some things you can do to protect it. Use window coverings like blinds or shades to help filter out the sun’s harmful rays.

 

Take care of spills fast.

When you spill something on your upholstery, be sure to clean it up right away. The longer it sits, the harder it will be to remove. Blot the liquid immediately with a clean cloth and never scrub the fabric.

If the spill creates a stain, dip a clean sponge or cloth in soapy water and gently rub the wet patch. Rinse with a damp cloth and then dry it with a towel. Never use hot water on upholstery as it can shrink or damage the fabric. For tougher stains, you may need to use a small amount of rubbing alcohol or vinegar, but test the solution first on a small, unnoticeable area in case of possible discoloration.

 

Hire professional cleaners when necessary.

If it's just dust and a few light stains, you may be able to get away with cleaning the upholstery yourself. But when the fabric already looks dull or severely stained, you must have it professionally cleaned.

Professional cleaners can remove tough stains or heavy soiling. They also have the knowledge and equipment to get your furniture looking like new again. It’s even best practice to have professional cleaners handle your upholstered furniture every 1-2 years, so the upholstery will remain in good condition for a longer length of time.

 

Have covers sewn for your upholstery.

Sewn covers can help protect your upholstery from spills, stains, and general wear and tear. They can also extend the life of your upholstery by protecting it from sunlight and other damaging elements.

Of course, upholstery covers aren’t just for protection— they can also add a touch of style to your furniture since you can choose fabrics with the colors and patterns you like. Your furniture will look different and new!


Upholstered furniture can last a long time with proper care. As long as you follow the tips above, your upholstery will stay pristine and lovely and you wouldn’t need to find a furniture replacement any time soon.

On the other hand, if you’re not fond of upholstery maintenance, you can go for pure wooden furniture instead. We have a lot of those to offer in our Hunt Country Furniture store. You can get a classy living space without the struggle of brushing fabric.


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