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Cleaning Your Fabric Furniture In 6 Easy Steps

TLDR: By gathering some simple tools you can find in most homes and a few basic ingredients, this 6 step process can help keep most furniture types clean and stain-free.

Furniture gets a lot of use in your home and most of us want to keep it looking nice and like new for as long as possible. Since we humans tend to carry dirt, oil, and other particulates around with us it can be a challenge to get stains or other hard-to-clean messes out of your furniture. Thankfully with a few easy steps and some household cleaners you can clean most fabrics and keep your furniture in pristine condition.

From Upholstery To Polyester Cleaning

Certain fabrics have specific ways they are meant to be treated. While things like vinegar, baking soda, and non-ammonia-based detergents are relatively safe to use on most furniture it’s critical to check the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

Protip: Any detergent or clean that has ammonia in it will be labeled. Anything with ammonia should NEVER be combined with other cleaners or it is highly likely you will accidentally create dangerous fumes. 

Most sofas and couches have tags placed by the manufacturer that tells you which cleaners are safe to use on the material. Here are the three most common cleaning codes and what they mean:

  • W – “Water-based cleaner”. This kind of solution is made primarily out of water and reacts when applied to dirt and oils. 
  • S/W – “Solvents and Water-based cleaners”. When you see this, that means that both water-based and solvent cleaners are okay to use. 
  • S- “Solvents”. Finally, solvent only means that water-based cleaners are not good for the fabric as solvents do not need water present to be effective. However, be careful as solvents are chemical based and can be more harmful to skin and bodily orifices. 

The Basic Tools For Cleaning Furniture

Once you know which kind of cleaners are okay to use it’s time to assemble! The other tools you will need, that is. Combining various tools and what they do best will provide a better result from your cleaning. So, before we start the process, make sure you have on hand:

  • A Dry brush
  • Vacuum
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar (or whichever cleaner is manufacturer recommended)
  • Water
  • Drying Towel
  • If you have one available, a handheld or portable steamer

Protip: If you don’t have any steam-producing device handy you can still get your furniture clean without one. However, steam cleaning is a superior way of tackling hard stains. You can always call Carpet Advisors for a free quote and borrow their steam machines instead!

6 Easy Steps For Cleaning Furniture

Now we are ready to get to cleaning! When tackling furniture cleaning it is extremely important that you begin cleaning immediately after the spill occurs if you want to avoid staining. Knowing the manufacturer’s recommendations ahead of time is a good idea so when spills or messes happen you’re ready to jump into action.

Protip: Always spot test ANY cleaning solution before applying it to a larger portion of your furniture. 

  1. Brush away the big particles: Using the dry brush listed above remove any large particles that would otherwise obstruct proper cleaning. A stiff brush usually works best for this.
  2. Vacuum: Scrubbing or applying solution while there is still dirt or small crumbs will make a bigger mess so we have to clear those out. Thoroughly vacuum out the smaller particles so you can focus more on the rest of the mess.
  3. Apply your cleaner of choice: Per the manufacturers instructions use either a water-based cleaner or a solvent. On most fabrics, if you have nothing on hand and it is safe to use water-based cleaners, mixing equal parts baking soda and vinegar will give you a powerful odor and stain remover that can be applied for 15-20 minutes before being vacuumed away.
  4. Clean up the rest with water: Use water to lift up any remaining stains that were loosened by the application of cleaner. Once again, only if water is safe to use on your fabric. Thankfully solvents do not need water in order to be effective so if you only used solvents you can skip this step. 
  5. Remove excess moisture: Take the dry towel mentioned above and pat down the area you just cleaned. This will absorb excess moisture and keep your furniture from becoming stiff. 
  6. Air Dry: The final step is to allow the area to air dry, preferably overnight. Some spots may return after the drying is complete but you can redo this process until you see the results you want.

Key Takeaways:

From small messes to deep-rooted stains your furniture needs quick attention to maintain its pristine look. With the 6 steps above you can quickly and easily keep most fabric furniture clean with just a few simple tools and some elbow grease.

Remember to always check the tag underneath your sofa to make sure you are using the proper cleaning agent and be careful to avoid harmful chemicals when it isn’t necessary.

Logan Allen Baker
Logan is a home-service enthusiast that uses, promotes, and helps connect consumers with carpet cleaning companies across the globe.

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