Restore the clean shine of your upholstery May 17, 2016 – Posted in: General – Tags:

Cleaning Upholstery

We all love the look and smell of new, clean furniture, but what happens when your once pristine sofa has a few small stains or dirt spots on it? It’s not dirty enough to warrant getting a professional cleaning service to clean it, but naturally, these little spots of dirt are all you see when you look at the piece, so we’ll show you how to get your upholstery back to its once immaculate glory.

First things first, give your sofa or chair a good scrub with a dry brush to get all the ‘bits’ left by everyday life off and out of the crevices. Next up, you’ll want to run a vacuum cleaner over your piece (some models come with an upholstery attachment), even better if you have a mobile or small cordless vacuum that can get into all the furniture’s creases (you might even find some long lost treasure in there too). If you’re concerned with your vacuum cleaner sucking up metal or solid objects, pop some old stockings over the nozzle to prevent this.


Next up, check to see if your piece of furniture has any cleaning tags (usually hiding away or underneath) with upholstery codes on them, this will indicate what types of detergents are recommended. Generally speaking, the codes indicate the following:

  • W – use a water-based detergent
  • WS – use either water-based detergent, or water-free cleaning methods
  • X – professional cleaning required

If your sofa doesn’t have a tag then ask around for specific advice, or do some internet research before starting, especially if the upholstery is antique, ornate or specialised fabric. It is always a good idea to test the detergent on the upholstery in an inconspicuous spot to gauge the outcome before taking it to the whole piece.

Some of the most effective fabric cleaners are ones you can make with ingredients from your kitchen, so if your furniture doesn’t require any sort of special cleaning, like dry cleaning, then making your own cleaning solution is usually the best (and most cost effective) way to go.

For particularly stubborn dirt, a cleaning paste is suggested. Mix ⅓ cup of baking soda with ⅓ cup of corn starch and water to form a paste, apply the paste onto the dirty areas and let it dry (about half an hour), then carefully brush or scrape the paste (and stain) off, vacuuming up any left overs.


For leather upholstery: mix ⅔ cup olive oil and ⅓ cup white vinegar in a spray bottle, shake well to combine. Spray soiled surfaces lightly, rub with a clean cloth, the vinegar will clean the dirt and evaporate while the oil moistens the leather. Finish off by buffing the sofa with a clean cloth.

For fabric upholstery: mix ⅓ cup white vinegar, ⅔ cup warm water and a teaspoon of liquid soap into a spray bottle, shake well to combine and then target soiled areas. Work up a lather with a small brush (an old toothbrush can work well here), reapply until the area is clean. Dry the area with a clean, lint free cloth.

For synthetic upholstery: mix ⅔ cup white vinegar with one cup of warm water (if the upholstery is very dirty then add a teaspoon of liquid soap to this mix), and shake well to combine. Spray the dirty spots lightly but thoroughly and work in the solution with a soft, lint-free cloth until the area is clean.

Enjoy your clean and fresh furniture once again.