How to Clean Velvet Upholstery


Lou asked: How do I clean food spills from velvet seat covers on our dining room chairs? Our dining room chairs have had food spilled on them over the years. The stains are dried on and we are hesitant to experiment with attempted cleaning. Short of having them reupholstered, are there any methods you can suggest for safely cleaning them?

Velvet upholstery is delicate and requires special care. However, it is not so difficult that it requires professional service. Here are some cleaning steps to clean your velvet upholstery and remove stains.

You Will Need:

  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Dry cleaning solvent.
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Soft cloths
  • Towels
  • Hair dryer
  • Fan

Steps to Clean the Velvet:

  1. As soon as spills happen, soak them up with some paper towels or soft cloths.
  2. For more persistent stains, mix some dishwashing detergent with water and agitate vigorously until suds fill the top.
  3. Use a soft cloth to apply only the suds to the stained area.
  4. Blot the suds onto the stains until they start to fade.
  5. Blot with a clean cloth to remove the remaining stain and any residue from the suds.
  6. Allow the area to dry completely, or dry with a hair dryer or fan.
  7. A second method involves using dry cleaning solvents to remove the stains.
  8. Apply the solvent to a moist cloth and blot it on the stain as before.
  9. Allow the solvent to dry on the fabric.
  10. A hair dryer can be used to speed up the drying process.
  11. Brush the surface of the fabric to restore the nap after it has completely dried.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Allowing stains to set on velvet not only affects its appearance, but it also affects the durability of the material. The food left on the fabric causes the fabric to weaken which takes away even more from the beautiful appearance.
  • When blotting stains, avoid using to much pressure as this can actually push the stain further into the fibers.
  • Use a steamer to restore the luster and shine of the velvet. Keep it moving in the direction of the nap.


  1. Carol says:

    I have a vintage doll dress that is made of navy blue velvet. I would like to clean it. The dry cleaner says they cannot do it. Someone suggested Woolite. Any ideas? Thank you.

  2. joanna says:

    I have just had my £4500 light velvet sofa delivered today. I had a ketchup stain on it from little fingers but I acted quickly with clean sponge and some water, and this seems to have been the worst thing I could have done. The area around the stain is white, which looks worse than the original stain. Is there anything I can do?

  3. Jai says:

    A red grape was dropped on my aqua velvet slipper chair and it left two small stains of juice. How do I clean it? It is a high quality of velvet.

  4. Maggie says:

    Will this work for animal urine? My cats have lost their minds!

  5. Melanie says:

    Yes, this should work to clean up cat urine. However, there could be some lingering odors that your cats can smell even if you can’t. Just sprinkle baking soda on the area and allow the powder to sit overnight, then vacuum or brush off the powder in the morning.

  6. Angela says:

    We bought a house with great velvet curtains, the only problem is that the lady cleaned the floor and didn’t pick up the curtains. Any idea if I can save them or how to clean them??

  7. Ewa says:

    I just did the mistake of trying to clean my grandmothers old blue velvet sofa with a steam cleaner. Made a mark on the fabrics and left it weird. The thing is that we have been moving it around quite a bit so it has lots of dust and some ugly “dusty” stains that I need to get out. I’m afraid now to do do anything that involves water! But you think this method can get it back to its original? Both cleaning and the pattern of the fabrics? THANKS!

  8. Simon says:

    I have a Sellotape mark on a black velvet sofa. What’s the best way to remove this without ruining the pile of the velvet?

    Check it out! We’ve answered your question! Yay!

  9. Carol says:

    Can velvet upholstery be treated with some type of water/spill repellent same as other upholstery fabrics? If so, what is the name of a repellent we can use?

  10. Chris says:

    How do I remove a water stain from a velvet chair?

    Check it out! We’ve answered your question! Yay!

  11. Alison says:

    I tried cleaning velvet chairs with a steamer and now the material looks changed. Would I be able to restore the material to its original appearance?

  12. Melanie says:

    This article might help: How to Remove a Water Stain from Velvet.

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