Ways to Clean Upholstery

Ways to Clean Upholstery

Upholstered furniture makes for a fancy interior, but they’re a bit of a nightmare to clean. You can’t exactly put them in the washing machine.

Nonetheless, there are still plenty of ways you can clean your upholstery. Trust us, they’re not as difficult as they sound.

Read on to find out how you can keep your upholstery fresh and clean in minutes.

First, find out your furniture code

Does furniture have a code, you ask? Why, yes. 

Upholstery, in particular, often comes with codes that suggest the kind of fabric used and how best to maintain them. These codes will often tell you whether your couch can use water-based cleaning agents or require a professional hand.

You don’t need to go full-on detective to find the code, either. Your upholstery will likely have a tag indicating the code, generally under the chair or cushion.

If you bought used furniture and the tag is missing, you can also try to figure out the kind of fabric your upholstery uses and go from there.

For reference, here’s a table of the upholstery fabric cleaning code to guide you.

CodeFabric Cleaning Guide
WCode W stands for water-based and means your fabric may be cleaned with water-based cleaning solvents.
SFor code S, you can only use dry cleaning or water-free solvents to remove stains and soils in a well-ventilated room with no open flames.
W-SFor this type of furniture you can use either water-based or water-free solvents.
XFor Code X upholstery, you may only use vacuum cleaning or hire a professional. The use of any type of cleaning product or solvent will likely damage the fabric.

Use your vacuum to suck up dirt

A vacuum is an important part of keeping your upholstery clean. You should be doing this at least once a week to prevent dust and dirt buildup on your favourite couch or cushion.

To vacuum, first, you want to remove loose cushions. You can try the age-old method of bashing them against the wall or against each other to remove dust, but we suggest you do this outside so your mom doesn’t kill you.

Next, you want to start vacuuming the chair. A vacuum with a hose and upholstery brush attachment will work best to ensure you loosen the dust and crumbs snuggling with your upholstery. Then, a HEPA filter will capture as much dust and allergens as possible. 

We recommend you do this with a slow, sweeping movement, left to right motion to make sure all areas and crevices are cleaned. If you’re working with a silk or velvet fabric, make sure you set the suction to low to avoid damaging your fabric.

Don’t forget to vacuum the sides and the back. If it’s placed up against the wall you can turn it or move it to get to the back.

You also want to make sure you use the crevice tool to get deep between the cushions and the frame. If you can, tilt the chair over to vacuum the undersides as well.

Remove and eliminate stains as needed

Regularly sweeping your upholstery with a vacuum is often enough to maintain the cleanliness of your furniture. That said, sometimes we can’t avoid stains.

Whether it’s your children recreating art on the sofa or your partner spilling spaghetti on the armchair while watching TV, stains need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Whatever stain you’re working on, always make sure to check your furniture label to see what materials will be applicable. 

You want to remove as much excess stain or moisture as possible before going in with anything else. You can do this by dabbing the stained area with an absorbent cloth or paper towel.

If some stains remain, you can try different methods according to the fabric cleaning guide.

Here are some cleaning options that may work:

  • Use warm water with a microfiber cloth. For harsher stains, you can try white or clear household soap. Leave it to air dry or use heat if your fabric isn’t easily damaged.
  • The use of baking soda can often help with linen fabrics. For this, you can simply put some of the baking soda over the stain, leave it to work for a few minutes then use the vacuum to clear up the powder. Air drying works best for this method. 
  • You can also use baby wipes or upholstery wipes to remove stains. 
  • Finally, rubbing alcohol may help to remove stains as well as disinfect your upholstery.

If all else fails, hire a cleaning service

If you have a code X upholstery, or if you’re simply not feeling up to it, you can also hire an upholstery cleaning service to do the cleaning for you. We understand that not everyone has the time and inclination to get to cleaning upholstery.

In fact, we have the best recommendations for upholstery cleaning service in the Edmonton area if you’re interested in that.

While you’re at it, we also found the best cleaning companies in Edmonton should you want to clean more than your couch. 

Thank you for reading! We hope this article has helped you learn new ways to clean your upholstery.

If you’re in need of more furniture or appliances for your home, you can check out our recommendations in the articles below: