What is the Best Product to Use when Cleaning Upholstered Furniture?

When you’re cleaning upholstered furniture, the first thing to be aware of is the type of material on the furniture. This will dictate the number of options you have available for cleaning. For instance, a rayon and polyester mix should never be steam cleaned, while Haitian cotton should always be cleaned professionally. There is no single product that is ideal for all upholstery although there are some general rules to help with all types of furniture upholstery cleaning. Use a mild fabric cleaner to pre-soak stains. Don’t get the fabric too wet when you’re cleaning, and keep water away from all metal parts of the furniture.

Hand Cleaning

Hand cleaning upholstered furniture can be a particularly time-consuming task but, in many cases, this will produce the best results. Baby wipes are perfect for removing stains and dirt and, since they don’t contain copious amounts of soap and water, the final clean up is incredibly easy.

Spray cleaners work well on some upholstery although you should always test a hidden spot first to ensure it doesn’t damage or stain the fabric. One of the biggest advantages of spray cleaners is that they can help remove pet odor from furniture.

Dry cleaning cloths, available from a number of reputable hardware stores, also do a great job on furniture upholstery although you might need several cloths to clean excessively dirty furniture.

Depending on the material, Woolite foam can be effective for cleaning upholstered furniture or, as an alternative, Woolite liquid detergent whipped into a foam with water is also highly recommended. Spread or spray the foam onto the furniture, then allow it to dry thoroughly before vacuuming off. Take a cloth dampened with a 10:1 mix of water and vinegar and wipe lightly over the furniture to take care of any soapy residues. The idea of a wipe is quite popular and is very easy to use. Always clean with a damp rag to remove all the soap residue to finish.

Carpet Cleaner

You can add upholstery cleaning solution to most types of home carpet cleaner, using a hand held attachment for cleaning your upholstered furniture. You can also use Woolite cleaner and other similar brands inside your carpet cleaner. However, once the furniture is clean and dry, you should Scotchguard the furniture as this will stop dirt from sticking. This also means you’ll need to clean your furniture less often.

Steam Cleaning

Depending on the fabric, you can choose to steam clean your upholstered furniture. However, you need to be very careful to make sure the water doesn’t penetrate deeply. Before attempting any steam cleaning, you should check the fabric to ensure the procedure suitable. If there’s no tag on the furniture, consult the manufacturer for recommendations or test a hidden area of the fabric before continuing.


If you have removable covers on your furniture, you will probably be able to machine wash them. Make sure you check the tags first since some fabrics will not be suitable. In some cases, professional cleaning or dry cleaning will be better for individual fabrics. Always follow the washing and dry instructions exactly to avoid any shrinkage or running of colors.

Removing Stains

You should always attempt to remove stains before cleaning upholstered furniture. There are a number of stains that can prove difficult to remove such as chocolate, red wine and pet urine. Use a spot stain remover or a product like Oxy-Clean before you start cleaning upholstered furniture. Once again, always test these products on a hidden area of the fabric before continuing.