How to Clean Cloth Upholstery

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Kaye asked: How to clean cloth upholstery? I need to clean my couch and chair. They are not suede or anything like that. I want to get the dust, dirt, pet hair and some stains off of them.

Cloth upholstery is one of the easiest types of furniture to clean. With daily use, stains and dirt can build up fast. A steam cleaner is the best tool for getting a deep cleaning of your furniture. These steps will help you complete the task quickly and thoroughly.

What You Will Need:

  • Vacuum
  • Soft cloth
  • Steam cleaner with upholstery attachment (available for rent at many grocery stores or Wal-Mart)
  • Upholstery cleaner (optional)
  • Spot cleaner for upholstery
  • Water

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by vacuuming the entire piece to remove any loose dirt from the surfaces.
  2. Remove any cushions that are not attached and set them off to the side.
  3. Use the attachments on your vacuum to get into the corners and crevices.
  4. Next, vacuum each cushion that was removed on both sides.
  5. Now you are ready to assemble the steam cleaner and fill with water and cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for this step. We recommend starting with a small amount of cleaner so it is easier to remove.
  6. Start with the cushions that have been removed.
  7. Use the soft cloth and spot cleaner to spray any stained areas. Gently rub with the soft cloth.
  8. Next, using the upholstery attachment on the steam cleaner, spray the surface and promptly suction the water back out. Avoid spraying too much water or allowing the water to set for too long. It will soak further into the cushions and will be difficult to remove, requiring a longer drying time.
  9. Work in small sections until the entire cushion has been cleaned.
  10. Prop it up against a wall or chair so that air can reach all sides until it has dried completely.
  11. Repeat until all cushions have been spot cleaned for stains and cleaned overall with the steam cleaner.
  12. After the cushions are complete, it’s time to work on the rest of the piece. Again, work in small sections.
  13. Treat all spots and stains first followed by the steam cleaner.
  14. It is often unnecessary to go over the entire piece again with clean water to rinse, but it is an option if there is a lot of soap residue on the piece.
  15. Allow all sections to dry completely before reassembling and using the furniture.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Avoid mixing too much soap with the cleaning water initially. It is often easier to clean a spot a couple of times rather than rinse out excess soap from the entire piece of furniture.
  • Cleaning your furniture on a warm, sunny day is preferable. The warmth will help the sections to dry more quickly. Rainy days often have so much humidity in the air that it takes longer to dry.
  • Fans can be used to circulate the air and speed up the drying time.
  • Deep cleaning furniture should be done at least twice a year and vacuumed in between to maintain the cleanliness. It may be helpful to clean it more often if you live in a dry, dusty environment and/or you have pets, etc. and the furniture gets soiled more quickly.

Comments

  1. Jason says:

    I have furniture with a cotton liner backing. Can I wet clean it with a steam cleaner?

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