Tips for cleaning upholstery

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Fabric is used everywhere in a home or office. Sofas and Chairs are covered in upholstery, bed headboards are sometimes covered in elaborate designs of upholstery, and some fancy cupboards or cabinets have inlays of tufted upholstery. Typically, the upholstery is covering a sponge or another type of padding, such as the cushions on your couch. This makes cleaning upholstery more difficult, but there are still ways to make the fabric come alive again. Here are ten of my tips for cleaning upholstery.


  • The key to cleaning upholstery is to catch the mess when it happens. If you can avoid letting the stain set, you most likely can remove the mess before anything drastic happens. Liquids are a little harder because they absorb into the padding rather quickly, and they continue to stretch across the fabric making a larger soiled area.


  • Preventative measures help keep upholstery clean. The dust that accumulates over the life of the sofa or chair makes it easier for the mess to be absorbed into the upholstery. To avoid the build up and dust mites, when you vacuum your carpets, use the special furniture tools to spruce up your upholstery at the same time. By getting into the crevices and the areas around buttons, you can keep your upholstery fresher.


  • When cleaning up a mess that has not set, work from outside in to the middle of the stain. Again, this stops the stain from expanding, and it makes it easier for you to clean. Don’t rub the Fabric Sofa Cleaning. Try to lightly scoop in an upwards motion. Of course, use a clean towel. Be careful with paper towels if they are thin. You will just leave bits of degraded paper behind. Make sure to use a solid pile.


  • Before cleaning any upholstery, check the manufacturer’s tags to determine what types of cleaning products can be used safely on the material. One thing that can be a real problem is with multi-colored prints. If the colors bleed, you will have a bigger problem if you use the wrong types of solvents on the fabric.


  • Grease based stains are the hardest to remove. Things such as butter or cosmetics can only be removed to a certain point. Once you remove the excess, you will notice a greasy circle on the fabric. Water is not going to remove this, as water and oil separate. It may be necessary to buy a dry cleaning solution in order to completely remove the grease that has been absorbed into the upholstery. Even if the manufacturer recommends a particular type of cleaning, it is best to test the solvent first.


  • Renting a deep cleaner may be necessary if your furniture is in a high traffic area. This is true in offices where many people use the sofas and chairs, putting their dirty hands on the arms and spilling drinks on the cushions. Although you could use a brush and soap on some fabrics, steam is much better because it penetrates the material and loosens the dirt. If you deep clean once or twice a year, you can keep the upholstery looking nicer longer.


  • When you use water or solvents on the stain, do not drown the area. Use the liquid sparingly or you will make a larger stain. The liquid dilutes the stain and it starts to expand again. Also, the cleaning liquid plus the original stain is absorbed into the padding. This creates nasty smells and is an invitation to mold. You would have been better off leaving the stain.


  • Some upholstery is removable. Often, cushions have zippers on them, so that you can remove the covers and put them in the washing machine. If this is possible, remove them, then work on the stain, then place into the washer. You might even be able to remove more of the stain from the inside sponge, as well. If the covers are not machine washable, take them to the dry cleaners for professional cleaning. This is usually a good idea for upholstery that is generally dirty. In other words, it does not necessarily have a stain, it just needs to be cleaned from regular wear and tear.

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