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Cleaning Upholstery Tips

Posted on June 2, 2017

Your upholstery deserves general cleaning just like the rest of your home.  Too often, we ignore our fine furniture until there is some mishap like a spill, or other damage.  With a little time and a few common supplies, you can do a great job of freshening up the furnishings, and keeping everything looking new.  Not only is this convenient, but it will save you a good deal of money.

What you need:

  1. A vacuum (either hand held or with attachments)
  2. Stack of clean white cloths
  3. Gentle dish soap (clear is best),
  4. A stiff upholstery brush (not wire)
  5. A bowl for mixing, and a small bucket for water.
  6. Optional item: canned air, a fabric refresher spray, stain remover for upholstery

Before proceeding, check the manufacturers tag to see if your piece requires special care.

For Cloth Furniture

  • Make your DIY environmentally safe, upholstery cleaner with one cup of warm water, 1/4 cup of dishwashing soap and 2 tablespoon of fabric refresher (optional) blend will in a mixing bowl till foamy.
  • Test cleaning products on a hidden spot to check for colorfastness. (Refer to the tag chart above for cleaning warnings!)
  • Vacuum surfaces thoroughly with vacuum attachment, making sure to remove all cushions. Clean deep in crevasses and folds too!
  • With your brush, gently rub foam cleaner onto fabric.
  • Remove any excess foam with a clean damp (not wet) cloth.
  • Keep cleaning wiped off any wood trim.
  • Let dry completely.
  • Brush with dry brush or re- vacuum after it is completely dry
  • If you have a tough stain, you may wish to use stain remover before cleaning

Leather upholstery

  • Vacuum or brush off the entire piece of furniture
  • Make your own leather cleaner by using a few drops of moisturizing soap to a slightly damp washcloth. Alternatively, use a gently foaming face body wipe.
  • Gently wipe a section of the leather upholstery in circular motions with your cleaning cloth, use a clean yet slightly damp washcloth to remove the cleaner, and then buff the leather with a dry cloth.  Repeat this process until the entire piece is clean.

In between cleanings, vacuum both cloth and leather upholstery every two weeks, and treat any stains as they happen.  For spills blot the moisture with paper towels, remove any solids (like food particles), and treat with your DIY cleaner.  Gently wipe the area clean, and allow drying.  If a tough stain should appear, it might be time to use a commercial stain remover according to the manufacturer’s directions.

If you find yourself cleaning upholstery that has gone through some type of disaster such as a fire or flood, your cleaning methods may not be adequate.  You may find that a professional service is your only hope of saving the items.  These professionals will have the proper machines and chemicals to remove odors and contaminates safely.


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