Upholstery is the most commonly suffered item in our homes, constantly bearing daily wear and tear. Whether it is pet hopping onto your couch or you binge-watching your favorite TV show on the sofa, dirt, grime, and spillages find their way on the upholstery anyways.
With so much exposure to dust, you would certainly want to take the best care of your upholstery to not only maintain its shine but also make it last longer. So, here is the best way to clean upholstery and keep its aesthetic value intact for years.
How To Clean The Upholstery The Best Way Possible?
1. Vacuum Thoroughly
No matter what you clean, the procedure always starts with a comprehensive vacuuming process. Use a dry vacuum with an upholstery attachment or a brush to loosen up and eliminate all the debris and food particles on the surface.
Make sure you clean every corner to remove the dust particles clinging everywhere on the upholstery fibers.
Vacuuming is recommended to be done at least once every week for routine upkeep of your upholstery.
2. Check The Cleaning Label
Before you proceed to a thorough cleaning, it is essential to read/see the manufacturer’s label attached to the upholstery indicating what type of cleaning will be appropriate specifically for your upholstery material.
Following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions is the best way to clean upholstery so as to provide proper care tailored for your upholstery fabric.
These are the tags and their cleaning instructions. Keep them in mind while you clean your upholstery.
Code W: Use water-based cleaning solvents.
Code S: Use dry-cleaning or water-free solvents.
Code W/S: Either water-based or solvent-based cleaning is acceptable.
Code X: Do not use any cleaning agents. (Only vacuuming or professional care)
3. Treat The Stains First
The next step is to assess your upholstery for any spillages or stain spots. You will need to clear the stains as soon as possible to avoid spreading them further during the later cleaning process.
You can easily remove most stains using basic household products. However, it is recommended to use the below solutions only when your upholstery states a W or S/W code.
Here is how to handle different stains on your upholstery:
- Common food stains and mud: For general stains, dip a sponge in dish soap and rub it lightly. Clean with a wet cloth and blot dry the area.
- Greasy stains: Spread a generous layer of baking soda on the stain. Let it sit for about 20 mins to absorb all the oil. Vacuum it later after it dries.
- Beverages: Take warm water combined with vinegar in a 3:1 ratio. Dab the solution on the area until it vanishes. Clean with a plain water-dipped cloth and then blot dry the area.
- Wine or pet urine stains: Dabbing with an undiluted plain vodka or rubbing alcohol-dipped sponge can remove such tough stains.
- Blood stains: Blot with 3% hydrogen peroxide and then water.
- Wax or Gum: Harden the wax or sticky gum by placing an ice bag on it. Scrape off with a dull knife and clean the rest of the stain with dish soap, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol.
If your upholstery has any other stubborn stains, refer to this A-to-Z Stain Removal Guide.
4. Start The Thorough Cleaning
After you have vacuumed up your upholstery, determined which cleaning method is suitable for your upholstery fabric, and removed all the stains with spot cleaning, you have made half of your cleaning job easier.
Now, you need to thoroughly clean your upholstery to get rid of all the dust and grime it has been accumulating.
Note: If your upholstery requires solvent-based cleaning, follow the product label instructions for proper cleaning.
If water-based cleaning is acceptable for your upholstery material, the best way to clean upholstery is through a dishwashing mixture. Follow the below instructions for further cleaning.
- Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing dishwashing liquid with warm water in a 1:4 ratio. You can increase this concentration if your upholstery is grimier.
- Whisk the mixture a bit to form some froth.
- Dip a sponge in this mixture and gently rub over the fabric to dampen and remove the dirt build-up in the upholstery fibers.
- Keep using the froth until you have covered all areas and the dirt stains start vanishing.
- Lastly, use a cloth dipped in plain water to wipe away all the detergent solution.
Make sure you clean the fabric in small and manageable sections; this will prevent the applied solution from drying and causing water stains.
You can then blot away all the excess moisture using fresh pieces of cloth and let the fabric air dry.
So, these were the steps for a thorough upholstery cleaning at your home. If you work deeper, and clean regularly, providing appropriate care suitable for your upholstery material, you can easily maintain your sofas, couches, ottomans, etc., to retain their spotless and pristine look and feel.
Moreover, with routine cleanup, it is also important to deep clean your upholstery (especially if your upholstery has an X code) through annual or biannual professional cleaning to make it last longer and keep it intact for years to come.