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September 30, 2020 5 min read

How to Clean Furniture Fabric Upholstery
How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery

Shopping for new living room furniture can be quite the task. There are a multitude of factors that you have to take into consideration, and one of those is whether or not to get fabric upholstery.

Fabric upholstery is an excellent option for your living room furniture, but the decision to go with fabric brings up several questions. How do you keep fabric upholstery from staining? If the material does get stained, how do I fix it? How do I clean fabric upholstery?

At Furniture Fair, we’ve been selling upholstered furniture for over 50 years, and we have seen all manner of fabric styles come and go. We’ve fielded many questions about care and maintenance with fabric upholstery, and we want to share our knowledge with you!

If you are concerned with fabric upholstery’s care and cleaning, read on to discover how to clean and maintain your new furniture covering.

This article will cover the four main ways to clean fabric for furniture.

How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery
How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery

Prepare Your Piece For Cleaning

Before you do any thorough cleaning of your upholstery, you need to make sure that any loose dust, hair, and other stuff that accumulates between couch and recliner cushions is cleaned.

If you skip this step, you will be having a more difficult time getting any dirt and grime off.

How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery

Vacuum

Get that loose dirt out of your furniture by using a good quality vacuum cleaner. You will want to use a vacuum cleaner with detailing attachments such as nozzles that allow you to get into tight spaces and crevices. Be sure to vacuum under the cushions if you can.

Thoroughly vacuum the cushions and the sofa areas that don’t get noticed as much during your daily cleaning routines.

Vacuuming your furniture will help cut back on loose dirt or other gunk that can get in the way of cleaning your upholstery.

How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery
How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery

Protect Any Wood Finishes

If your furniture has wood finish of any kind on it, you might want to consider covering it from chemicals that you might use to clean the upholstery. Chemicals that clean upholstery or liquids may be best left off of wood finishes.

Try using a protective tape that will not leave any residue on the wood and cover any edges that run into the upholstery. The tape will ensure that the wood finish is protected from the cleaning chemicals or water damage.

This is also a good time to clean your wood finish using a high quality wood polish. Check for nicks and scratches and fill them in using a finish touch-up marker in the color that matches your wood finish.

If you want further upkeep methods for wood furniture, check out our article on maintaining a wood dining set.

How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery

Look for Damage

Before cleaning your upholstery, check your cushions for any splits in the seams, or any holes in the fabric.

Holes and splits can grow larger if not mended, so consider having them repaired or reupholstering if the damage is extensive.

How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery
How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight can cause the color of your upholstery to fade over time, and leave odd discoloration patterns that can't be cleaned by any of the methods here.

Make sure that you have your curtains drawn when your room is not in use for long periods of time.

Keeping furniture away from direct sunlight will keep your upholstery free of sun-fading, and make sure you don't need to reupholster anytime soon.

How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery

Clean Using Manufacturer or Furniture Tag Instructions

Now that we’ve covered the preliminary steps, let’s look at the most common types of upholstery cleaning methods. Be sure to clean your fabrics regularly and your furniture will maintain its new look for much longer.

All spills should be cleaned immediately, start by blotting the spill using a clean, absorbent cloth. If stain remains, please follow the care instructions below according to the type of fabric on your upholstery.

Check the instructions for care and cleaning from the furniture manufacturer. However, If you have an older piece of upholstered furniture, this might not be an option. If you aren’t sure how to properly clean your upholstery consult a professional cleaning service.

If your manufacturer website doesn’t have instructions for cleaning fabric upholstery, check the underside of your piece or check under any cushions for care instruction tags. Most instruction tags come with simple letter-based formulas that will tell you what is safe to use on the fabric.

How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery

S = Solvent Based

Spot clean only with a water-free dry cleaning solvent. Pretest a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding.

Do not saturate. DO NOT USE WATER. Pile fabrics may require brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to restore appearance.

Cushion covers should not be removed and dry cleaned. To prevent overall soiling, frequent vacuuming or light brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to remove dust and grime is recommended. When cleaning a spill, blot immediately to remove spilled material.

Clean spots or stains from the outside to the middle of the affected area to prevent circling.

WS = Water or Solvent

Spot clean with upholstery shampoo, foam from a mild detergent, or mild dry cleaning solvent. Pretest a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding. Do not saturate. Pile fabrics may require brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to restore appearance.

Hot water extraction of steam cleaning is not a recommended cleaning method. Cushions casings should not be removed and laundered or dry cleaned.

To prevent overall soiling, frequent vacuuming or light brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to remove dust and grime is recommended.

When cleaning a spill, blot immediately to remove spilled material. Clean spots or stains from the outside to the middle of the affected area to prevent circling.

W = Water Based

Spot clean only with water-based shampoo or foam upholstery cleaner. Pretest for color loss and fabric compatibility.

Do not over-saturate with water. Use professional upholstery cleaning service for overall soiling.

X = No Liquids Or Chemicals

Clean only by vacuuming or light brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush. Do not use any water or solvent based cleaner.

If your fabric has an X mark on it, and is thoroughly stained, you will need to have it cleaned by a professional cleaning service.

How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery

Consult A Professional If You Aren’t Sure Which Method Is Right For You

While you might think that you know the best method for cleaning your upholstery, The last thing that you need is to accidentally ruin your furniture by using the wrong cleaning method.

Don’t be afraid to get a professional cleaner’s opinion on your piece so that you can clean with confidence.

Ready To Get The Most Out Of Your Upholstery?

If you consider purchasing upholstered furniture we hope this article has helped give you a guide for care and maintenance. If you follow the simple steps listed on the manufacturers website or on your cushion tags or bottom sticker, you’ll get that piece cleaned in no time.

Remember to follow the four letter-based codes for cleaning methods and to consider consulting a professional if you feel that the stain or grime is out of your experience level. Don’t forget to dust and vacuum regularly to get the most longevity out of your sofa.

If you are considering purchasing a new upholstered sofa, consider checking out our article on finding the best couch for your needs.

Furniture Fair has options for upholstered sofas, chairs, loveseats, ottomans, and sectionals at the guaranteed lowest price in the tri-state area. In addition to low prices, we also offer many delivery options, including our new Curbside Delivery option. Check us out today!

How-to-Clean-Furniture-Fabric-Upholstery


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