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An essential guide to cleaning upholstered furniture

Furniture maintenance is an important point to consider when buying new furniture. The more sophisticated and beautiful it looks, the more likely it is that it will require heavy maintenance. This article could help you understand how to clean your upholstered furniture, whether it is leather or fabric. 

Cleaning leather upholstered furniture


Leather furniture looks bold, luxurious and gives a sophisticated appearance.  However, for your leather furniture to continue to contribute to the style quotient, it is crucial to keep it clean and take good care of it. The look of leather upholstery Improves with time. but compromising on its maintenance is not an option. 

  • Vacuuming: Be sure to vacuum the undersides of your couch and chair as well as the cushions. 
  • Wipe out any stains with the help of a soft muslin cloth dipped in warm water and soap mixture. Ensure that the cloth is damp and not wet before cleaning out the stain in small circular motions. 
  • Do not skip out on drying the couch or chair. Water, if left to dry on its own on the leather couch, can weaken the material thereby ruining a perfectly good couch. Dry the piece of furniture entirely with the help of a dry cloth. 
  • Once the couch/chair has been sufficiently dried, the next step would be to apply a good quality leather cleaner. One should never directly apply the leather cleaner to the couch or chair. Rather, spray the solution onto a clean cloth and then proceed to wipe the cloth onto the piece of furniture.
  • The final step would be to apply a leather conditioner. Apply the conditioner onto a clean cloth and buff the couch or the chair sufficiently. Leather conditioning is an important step as it leaves your furniture looking brand new and smelling fresh. 
  • Once buffed, let the furniture dry for at least an hour. 

There you have it! A perfectly cleaned leather couch or chair that looks just as new as the day you bought it!

Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash

Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash

Additional tips to ensure that your leather remains as good as new:

  • Leather furniture - whether they are couches, chairs or settees, requires dry dusting at least once a week. 
  • Always test out a cleaning product in a small and inconspicuous spot before applying over the entire furniture. 
  • Effective layout planning must be undertaken in terms of placing the leather furniture. Never place leather furniture directly under an air-conditioning unit. Also, ensure that the leather furniture is not exposed to direct sunlight. 
  • Lastly, applying a leather conditioner once in 6-12 months will help keep the leather furniture fresh and clean.
Cleaning fabric upholstered furniture



Most homes house a fabric upholstered sofa. They’re soft, comfortable and blend in with a house’s decor quite easily. However, fabric upholstered couches require more effort while cleaning as compared to leather upholstered furniture. Fabric upholstered couches can either be cleaned with the help of vacuums or can be cleaned with the help of a steamer. 

 Vacuuming a fabric couch:

  • Vacuuming your fabric couch at least once a week is a good idea to ensure the overall cleanliness of the furniture. 
  • Using the right vacuuming attachments and tools is important to get out all the dirt and debris stuck within your couch. 
  • Do not skip out on vacuuming the back as well as the sides of the couch. If ignored, the dust in these areas would keep getting accumulated and could potentially ruin your couch (and be a problem for people with dust allergy too)
  • The crevice tool is designed specifically to clean the nooks and crannies of the couch. Therefore, ensure that you use the crevice tool and get out all the dirty debris stuck within the cushions and the frame of the couch. 

Steaming a fabric couch

If you wish to clean your fabric couch with the help of a steamer, following the manufacturer’s instructions is a must. Following these instructions would then make-up the cleaning procedure for the couch. However, the following steps can be undertaken for a more comprehensive couch cleaning procedure:

  • Vacuum the couch once before steaming as well as after. 
  • While steaming the couch, allow good air circulation in the room by keeping the windows open. 
  • Allow sufficient time to let the couch air-dry, preferably overnight. Do use the couch until it is completely dry. 


Upholstered Dining Chairs

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

  • Before cleaning any part of fabric-upholstered chairs, ensure that the cleaning product is appropriate for the type of fabric being cleaned. Check the cleaning product itself or check the chair tags to decode the type of cleaning agent the material can withstand.
  • Vacuuming your chair regularly is a good idea to ensure that no dirt or debris gets accumulated. This is especially important for dining chairs, where there is potential for food and other particles to get stuck in gaps between upholstery.
  • Fabric chairs can be cleaned with the help of a simple DIY cleaning solution. 
  • If the fabric can be cleaned with the help of a water-based solution, simply make a soap and water solution. 
  • Dip a cloth into this solution, wring it and blot the stain with the cloth. Ensure that you use only a small amount of the solution to blot the stain.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is another good solution to get any stains out of fabric chairs. Apply a generous amount (in case of big or heavily soiled areas) of hydrogen peroxide to the stain and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then, with the help of a microfiber cloth, blot the stain. Test out the hydrogen peroxide in a smaller, more hidden spot to ensure its compatibility with the chair’s fabric. 
  • Lastly, deep clean the chair with the help of a steamer and allow it to dry completely.
Cleaning upholstered furniture requires attention to detail but contrary to popular belief is not an impossible task! To keep your upholstery maintained and fresh, follow the tips given below:
  • Never scrub a stain out of a soiled upholstered piece of furniture. Rather, use a soft muslin or microfiber cloth to blot out the stains.
  • As surprising as it may sound, baby wipes are incredibly effective for cleaning upholstery.
Before applying any cleaning product to the upholstery, take a look at the label or sticker attached to the piece of furniture. These labels usually have an initial printed on them, communicating the specific way in which that piece of furniture must be cared for. 
  • W:  The furniture can be cleaned using only a water-based cleaner. 
  • S or P: The furniture can be dry-cleaned only with the help of a solvent-based cleaner
  • WS: The furniture can be cleaned with the help of water or solvent-based cleaner. 
  • X: Furniture must be cleaned only through vacuuming. Neither a solvent nor a water-based solution must be applied. 

A simple guide to cleaning your beautiful furniture, wrapped and completed - So, make sure you have that cleaning schedule in place and you will be all set to have good looking furniture for a long, long time!