Cleaning The Upholstery Quickly & Easily

Keeping the furniture clean can be a little tricky. It's hard to be sure if what works on one surface will work on another or if you can safely use the cleaners you usually use. Sometimes, homeowners don't give much thought to the upholstery other than when it has a spill or a stain, and that's not uncommon at all.

So how can you keep your furniture clean—really clean—easily? It's not nearly as difficult as you might think:

Step #1: Vacuum. Vacuuming your upholstery is the quickest and easiest way to maintain its quality and cleanliness. When you vacuum the floor as part of your regular housekeeping, attach the upholstery brush and run it over your furniture and underneath the cushions, too. Then you'll know your furniture is always clean.

Step #2: Clean the fabric. There are generally two ways of getting fabric onto upholstery: a loose cover that goes over the cushion and zips, or fabric that is sewed onto the cushion and doesn't come off. 

If you've got loose fabric, check the label. The label will usually indicate whether it's machine washable or dry clean only. You'll want to take it to the dry cleaner's eventually if you're limited to that, but if the fabric is washable, go ahead and get them started in the washing machine. 

If the fabric is fixed, on the other hand, you're going to have to do the cleaning by hand. Thankfully, it isn't too hard:

  • Take a rag or microfiber cloth.
  • Dip in warm, slightly soapy water (dish soap is fine, but just a drop is enough).
  • Wring out extremely well.
  • Wipe furniture.
  • Dry.

You don't want the fabric to be saturated, so wringing out the cloth is important, as is immediately drying each cushion as you finish it!

Step #3: Address the Stains

If you finish cleaning and there are stains on the upholstery, there are a few easy things you can try:

  • Apply a bit of traditional, white foam shaving cream to a slightly damp cloth and scrub in a small, circular pattern, then wipe clean and dry.
  • Dip a cloth in vinegar and water, wring it out well as you did when you were cleaning, and focus your attention on that spot.

However, it's important to note that you should always test color fastness of any stain remover, homemade or not, by testing it on an area that won't be seen. Better safe than sorry!