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Easy Cleaning Tips for Upholstered Furniture


Upholstered furniture is one of the biggest investments any homeowner can make. In order to keep the upholstery looking new and comfortable, it helps to try regular cleaning and maintenance. While many people prefer professional cleaning companies, it can be costly to use these services on a frequent basis. For more ordinary cleaning to keep upholstered furniture looking good, learn how to deal with the most common furniture stains with the following smart tips.

First and foremost, prior to starting any cleaning job on your own, it is important to know what kind of material the upholstery is made of, in order to avoid a very expensive mistake that not only could require professional help, but may ruin the upholstery. Note the material that makes removable covers when they are placed in the washing machine, that is, if the covers are not dry-clean only. Replace the covers when they are slightly deep for a better fit on the upholstery. For fixed covers, be sure to act quickly, and clean the stain without making the rest of the upholstery too wet by using a mild solution of dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent. If upholstery has a nap, vacuum it with the small brush attachment after it dries to restore the nap in the proper direction. For leather upholstery, wipe down the leather with a tightly rung-out cloth soaked in soapy water. Rinse the leather with clean cold water and wipe with a dry cloth. Do not soak the delicate leather, and use soap flakes instead of a detergent.

Second, it is important to address furniture stains quickly when taking care of them own your own. Do not let the stain dry. When cleaning the stain, remove as much of the stain substance as possible before starting any cleaning. Then, work on a small area at a time and be careful not to soak the stain. Blot, but do not rub, which causes the stain to spread. Dry the stain as soon as possible after it is cleaned. Common household items can help with the cleaning process, including club soda, white vinegar, lemon juice, nail polish remover, and hairspray. However, be careful to use items that will not harm the material of the upholstery. Test a small area of the fabric using the cleaning agent before applying it to the whole stain area.

Next, depending on what the stain is made of, you will want to use a specific kind of cleaning agent. For tomato-based stains, for example, try dishwashing liquid or a water solution, blotted between each application. Use white vinegar after it dries if the initial solution fails to work. Ink stains, on the other hand, can be addressed with hairspray on fabric upholstery, or a sparing application of nail polish remover to blot the ink. For ink stains on leather upholstery, try a mix of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Coffee stains can be attacked with a detergent and water mix that is blotted, followed by use of white vinegar and more blotting. Then rinse and dry. Remove red wine stains beginning with club soda poured over the area. Now blot the stain again. Use a mild detergent, blotting and more drying to remove any remaining stain.

In general, even when stains are not a problem, upholstered furniture can be kept in good shape with some everyday tips. Try deodorizing the furniture with a baking soda solution to keep pet odors at a minimum, for example, and open windows or use a hairdryer to dry upholstery more quickly. Vacuum the upholstery at least once a month to remove common dust particles that can cause damage over time. For a more serious commitment, invest in a steam cleaner to use at regular intervals, something any professional would recommend.

While it is true that some serious upholstery stains can only be addressed by professionals, many common stains like coffee, red wine and ink can be removed on your own by using a few smart tips matched to the material and stain. In addition, a few general tips can keep furniture looking good day in and day out without paying the cost of a professional cleaner every time.

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