How to Clean Upholstery

By Sklar Furnishings

How To Guides & Product Care

August 11, 2016

Upholstered furniture tends to endure a lot of wear and tear and cleaning it can be a seemingly daunting task. The most important item to figure out when tackling the cleaning of upholstery is determining what kind of fabric you are working with so you can decide which products and cleaning methods to employ.

Do this by locating the care tag on the product. For couches, the care tag is usually under the cushion or on the platform the couch cushion sits on.

Once you locate the tag, these are the possible letters you will come across and what they mean:

W: Lucky you, you’re working with natural fabrics like cotton and linen which can be cleaned with water and water-based products. You can use a damp cloth to spot treat immediate stains, but remember not to rub on new spills as this can make them worse. With natural fabrics you can also use upholstery cleaners and their foaming attachments to clean the material.

S: You will need to use a solvent-based cleaning product to clean your couch. These are dry-cleaning products which be found at the hardware store and you will need protective gloves and ventilation when using them. These products are meant to be blotted on upholstery stains and once the stain is gone the solvent can be removed using a clean, wet, light-coloured rag.

S/W: You can use a water or solvent for cleaning these sorts of pieces, but it’s best to leave these sorts of materials with professionals to clean in order to determine the best approach. Spills on these fabrics should be spot treated immediately.

X: This means your furniture is vacuum-clean only. This label is usually seen on older pieces of furniture, so if you think the furniture is in need of more than just a vacuuming, it’s best to consult a restoration expert.

In addition to this, it is important not to forget to vacuum your furniture from time to time. Using a small handheld vacuum or the brush and crevice tools of a larger vacuum, clean the space beneath the cushions and the surrounding nooks of your sofas and chair for a look that feels brand new. Delicate pieces that you don’t use often can be vacuumed once a month, whereas furniture that is used more can be vacuumed during your regular cleaning routine.

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