Ultimate Guide to Upholstery Cleaner: Keep Your Furniture Looking New

Published Date: June 18, 2024

Keeping your furniture clean can feel like a never-ending battle, especially if you have kids, pets, or just a busy household. But fear not! With the right upholstery cleaner and a few handy tips, you can keep your furniture looking as good as new. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about upholstery cleaners, from choosing the right one to mastering the cleaning process.

Understanding Upholstery Cleaners: What They Are and How They Work

An upholstery cleaner is a product designed specifically to clean fabric-covered furniture. These cleaners can come in various forms, like sprays, foams, and machines, each suited to different types of fabric and stains. The goal is to remove dirt, stains, and odors without damaging the fabric.

Types of Upholstery Cleaners

Spray CleanersSpray cleaners are great for quick spot treatments. If you’ve ever had a moment where your kid spills juice on the couch and you need to act fast, a spray cleaner is your best friend. They’re easy to use and perfect for targeting small stains.

Foam CleanersFoam cleaners are ideal for larger areas and more thorough cleaning. The foam penetrates deep into the fabric, lifting dirt and stains. I remember using a foam cleaner on our old loveseat that had seen better days. It was amazing to watch the foam lift out years of dirt and grime, making it look almost new again.

Machine CleanersFor a deep, thorough clean, machine cleaners are the way to go. These machines use water and a cleaning solution to get deep into the fibers of your upholstery. They’re fantastic for larger pieces of furniture or when you need to do a serious cleaning overhaul.

Choosing the Right Upholstery Cleaner

Choosing the right upholstery cleaner depends on several factors, including the type of fabric, the nature of the stains, and your cleaning preferences. Let’s break it down.

Identify Your Upholstery Fabric

Knowing the type of fabric you’re dealing with is crucial because different fabrics require different cleaning methods.

  • Cotton: Durable and breathable but can stain easily.
  • Leather: Needs special cleaners and conditioners to prevent drying out.
  • Microfiber: Stain-resistant but can be tricky to clean.
  • Velvet: Luxurious but delicate, requiring gentle cleaning.

Consider the Stains

Different stains need different approaches. Here are some common types of stains and the best ways to tackle them:

  • Food and Drink Stains: Enzyme-based cleaners are excellent for breaking down organic matter like food and drink spills.
  • Ink and Dye Stains: Alcohol-based cleaners can help lift these stubborn stains.
  • Pet Stains: Look for cleaners with odor-neutralizing properties to tackle both the stain and the smell.

Evaluate the Cleaning Method

Do you prefer a quick spot clean or a thorough deep clean? Spray and foam cleaners are great for quick fixes, while machine cleaners are better for deep, comprehensive cleaning.

Top Upholstery Cleaners on the Market

There are plenty of upholstery cleaners out there, but here are a few of the best:

Bissell SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner

This machine cleaner uses heatwave technology to maintain water temperature, ensuring a deep clean. It’s perfect for tackling tough stains and is portable, making it easy to use around the house.

Resolve Multi-Fabric Upholstery Cleaner

A versatile spray cleaner that works on various fabrics, Resolve is excellent for removing tough stains and odors. It’s a go-to for quick spot cleaning.

Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner

This foam cleaner penetrates deep into fabrics, lifting dirt and stains effectively. It’s a great option for regular maintenance cleaning.

Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator

Ideal for pet owners, this enzyme-based cleaner neutralizes odors and removes stains, making it a lifesaver for dealing with pet accidents.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Upholstery Cleaners

Now that you know what cleaners to use, let’s go through the steps to clean your upholstery effectively.

  1. Vacuum the UpholsteryBefore applying any cleaner, vacuum the upholstery to remove loose dirt and debris. This step is crucial because it prevents dirt from spreading or embedding further into the fabric during cleaning.
  2. Test the CleanerAlways test the cleaner on an inconspicuous area of the fabric first. This ensures it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage. Apply a small amount and wait for it to dry before proceeding.
  3. Apply the CleanerFollow the instructions on the cleaner’s label. For spray cleaners, apply directly to the stain and blot with a clean cloth. For foam cleaners, apply the foam and gently scrub with a brush. For machine cleaners, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal results.
  4. Blot and RinseAfter applying the cleaner, blot the area with a clean, damp cloth to remove the cleaner and lift the dirt, rinse the cloth frequently to avoid reapplying dirt to the fabric.
  5. Dry the UpholsteryAllow the upholstery to air dry completely. Avoid using the furniture until it is fully dry to prevent re-soiling or mold growth.

Maintaining Your Upholstery

Regular maintenance can prolong the life of your upholstery and keep it looking new. Here are some tips for ongoing care:

Regular VacuumingVacuum your upholstery at least once a week to remove dust and debris. Use a brush attachment to avoid damaging the fabric.

Rotating CushionsRotate and flip cushions regularly to ensure even wear and prevent indentations.

Addressing Spills Immediately – Blot spills immediately with a clean cloth to prevent stains from setting. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the stain deeper into the fabric.

Using Fabric ProtectorsConsider applying a fabric protector to your upholstery to create a barrier against stains and spills.

DIY Upholstery Cleaning Solutions

If you prefer natural cleaning solutions, here are some DIY recipes for effective upholstery cleaning:

Vinegar and Baking SodaMix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Sprinkle baking soda on the stain, then spray the vinegar solution. Blot with a clean cloth. This combo works wonders on many stains, and I’ve used it countless times on our dining chairs.

Dish Soap and Warm WaterCombine a few drops of dish soap with warm water. Dip a cloth in the solution and blot the stain. Rinse with a damp cloth. This is a simple yet effective method for most spills.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Dish SoapMix one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with two tablespoons of dish soap. Apply to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then blot with a damp cloth. This solution is great for tough stains, but always test it first to ensure it doesn’t bleach the fabric.


Keeping your upholstery clean not only enhances the appearance of your furniture but also extends its lifespan. By choosing the right upholstery cleaner and following proper cleaning techniques, you can maintain a fresh and inviting home environment. Whether you opt for commercial products or DIY solutions, regular cleaning and maintenance are key to preserving the beauty and functionality of your upholstery.

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