How to Clean Upholstery

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It’s always nice to have clean upholstery. It looks good, smells great, and feels even better. Unfortunately, it can be hard to keep it that way with all the dirt and stains that come into contact with your furniture every day.

But you needn’t worry about dirty carpets or sofas anymore because this article will show you how to do a deep cleaning of your upholstery in just four steps.  Keep reading to find out more. 

DIY: How to Make Your Own Homemade Upholstery Cleaner
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Steps to cleaning your upholstery

These are the steps to follow if you want to achieve a brilliant effect on your upholstery:

Step 1. Vacuum the furniture thoroughly.

You need to start with a clean slate, so give your sofa a thorough vacuuming to remove any dirt or debris that might be on it. Then go over it again with a crevice tool or upholstery attachment if you have one for that extra deep clean. This will help get into nooks and crannies where dust and other visible dirt like hair can accumulate.

Step 2. Spray the upholstery with a professional-strength cleaner and let it sit

Now that the furniture is clean, it's time to spray on some of your favorite upholstery cleaning solutions. Just be sure to carefully read any instructions on your chosen product so you use it safely and to its full potential. Then cover any open areas with plastic or an old towel so as not to stain those parts while waiting for the solution to have enough time to break down the dirt.

If your couch doesn't have removable cushions, no problem. Simply flip them over and repeat Step 2 on the underside as well before vacuuming again. Then just leave everything alone until it's dried completely – usually, 1-3 hours should do the trick.

Step 3. Scrub any stains or tough spots with a soft brush, then wipe clean with a damp cloth

Now it's time for some elbow grease to get rid of those stains and make your couch look better than ever. Just be sure to scrub carefully in small circles, don't rub too hard, and follow the grain of the fabric wherever possible to avoid damage.

If you're not happy with how things are going, repeat Step 2 with another solution if need be since some require an extra boost to break down grime. Once that's done, go over everything once more with a damp cloth before drying completely again – this time no longer than 2 minutes is necessary.

Step 4. Let dry for at least an hour before using again to prevent staining

Once the upholstery is completely dry, you can sit back and enjoy your newly cleaned furniture. But make sure to let it air out for at least an hour or two first elsewhere in your home so there's no smell of any cleaning products left. Then just revel in all that freshness and comfort knowing how easy it was to accomplish.

Cleaning upholstery with ease doesn't have to be an impossible task when you know what you're doing. Just be sure to always start with a clean surface and keep at it until the stains go away, and it'll look like new again in no time.

Things to never do when cleaning upholstery

There are certain things you should never do when cleaning upholstery, such as:

1) Do not use chemicals that could damage the fabric

If you don't use the right type of chemicals to help remove stains and grime, the solution could do more harm than good. Therefore, always be sure to choose cleaning products that weren't made for other purposes such as paint thinners or gasoline since they contain harsh chemicals which could ruin your upholstery. Also, avoid using bleach since it can damage colors and fade fabrics over time.

2) Do not clean when sunlight is hitting the furniture 

Sunlight contains UV rays which can cause fading in fabric and color in leather so steer clear when you're in direct sunlight and wait until another day to get started with your cleaning. If possible, try to keep your upholstery out of direct light altogether because it can speed up the aging process and damage color even more.

3) Do not use harsh chemicals with ammonia or acetone

Though they can be helpful when cleaning stains, they can also be dangerous to the health of your family and pets by irritating if inhaled. This is made worse when combined with other chemicals such as bleach which isn't good for anyone. And it's best to avoid using them on leather upholstery at all since they can dry out and crack the material over time.

4) Do not leave wet upholstery sitting in one spot

Leaving your furniture sitting in the same spot while it's still wet can cause staining problems due to excess moisture that doesn't dry quickly. That means you should always wipe up moisture within 15 minutes of spotting it, then lay something over the area until everything is completely dry. That way you won't run into any trouble later on down the line when trying to clean upholstery in the future.

Having beautiful and well-cared-for home furniture isn't necessarily hard if you know what you're doing with your cleaning supplies. Just make sure they match your current needs and also follow all safety precautions listed on their labels before using them so everyone stays safe. 

How do I clean a suede couch?

Generally, it is recommended that you clean a suede couch with a dry brush with soft bristles to release surface dirt or dust. You can opt for vacuuming too if the couch has a removable cushion.

I have a microfiber couch, how do I clean stains from it?

To remove stains from microfiber furniture use a damp cloth and mild soap – don't apply it directly on the stain because this will make it worse by pushing the stained area deeper into the fabric's fibers. Apply a small amount of water with a sponge and gently wipe off the surface soil. To keep your textile fresh longer try not to spill greasy food or drinks onto them, prevent direct sunlight and be gentle while moving around the furniture.

I have a leather couch that needs cleaning, how often should I do this?

Generally, you should clean leather every 6 months. It is important because over time dirt and dust get accumulated in the upholstery which can lead to permanent discoloration or even damage to your furniture. As mentioned earlier it is a good idea to use a dry brush to remove surface soil before deep cleaning.

Also, applying a leather conditioner after a thorough cleaning will help keep your leather healthy and supple for a longer period.

How do I clean microsuede furniture?

Microsuede fabrics are highly susceptible to water damages so if there's a spill, immediately blot excess liquid with a paper towel – don't rub. You can also gently clean stains with mild soap and damp cloth in the same way as you would do it with suede.

For regular maintenance, you can use a steam cleaner or vacuum to remove surface dust.

How do I clean velvet furniture?

Velvet is even more delicate than suede because it has no protective top layer, always test your upholstery for bleeding dyes before cleaning – if the fabric is dry-cleaned only apply this service from a professional cleaner for a reasonable price. For daily maintenance use a soft brush or vacuum with a soft brush attachment. Never rub velvet as this will damage fibers and make your couch look worse.

What is machine-washable upholstery?

Machine washable is a term that describes fabric that you can wash in a domestic machine. The good news is that there are lots of great fabrics on the market today which are machine washable even though many people don't know about it. But make sure to read the care label before washing for the first time (preferably follow the manufacturer's advice). If this option fails, try dry cleaning your upholstery which shouldn't take long if you choose an experienced cleaner.

Can I use bleach when cleaning my chairs?

Only use bleach on white upholstery. The best way to remove stain from any colored fabric is with a special detergent and damp cloth. Moreover, always test the bleaching agent on a hidden area of your upholstery to see if it damages color or texture. If you don't want to risk that then opt for professional cleaning by an upholstery cleaner.

How to clean upholstery: Clean couches, cars and more
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Final thoughts on how to clean upholstery

In conclusion, it's good to know how to clean upholstery. Not only will it help keep your home looking nice, but you can also even use the same techniques on other items, such as car seats if they need cleaning. 

The main thing to remember is that there are plenty of products available for any type of fabric so always read labels and test in an inconspicuous area first before applying the product on the rest of your possessions.

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin has been a household enthusiast for a long time and loves to follow the latest trends in kitchen and house decoration. He also is an avid writer, who enjoys composing everything from blogs to articles. Kevin has been writing professionally for 5 years now, with numerous topics and niches covered.

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