All About Cleaning Upholstery

Good Ideas from Apartment Therapy's Archives

In our house, furniture gets lived in. Really, really lived in. We sit, lay, sleep, cuddle, and occasionally eat and jump on our couch (not to mention our 50 pound dog and his penchant for wiping his face on the sofa) which is why we appreciate a good idea when it comes to keeping our sofa clean.

Over the last few years Apartment Therapy has posted some great tips on keeping furniture tip-top. Between internet finds, contributor ideas, and reader contributions, we've compiled a great list of tips on keeping one of the most used pieces of furniture nice.

• By now almost everyone should know to dab, not to blot, in the event of a spill. For those who haven't heard the difinitive word on spills, always dab and absorb as much of the spill as possible. Always double check (preferably prior to a spill) whether you should clean your upholstery with a water-based or solvent-based cleaner (a good rule of thumb if you're not sure is that cotton and other natural fiber-based fabrics ought not be cleaned with water, and synthetic fibers can. Microfibers are typically pretty versatile.) before adding anything to clean with. Less is always more, so start with nothing, and work up from there. Mild cleaners is the way to go.

• In terms of products to use post-spill, readers have heavily recommended The Nature's Miracle line, especially in response to pet messes and odors. Other well received products in response to getting odors out of upholstered goods are Zeropetodor and Simple Solutions. All of these products have been touted in response to our posts about cleaning upholstery

• Retail outfit Room & Board suggests unscented baby wipes for soiling that doesn't blot right out. The gentle cleaning action of the wipe is enough for many stains and spills, without being overkill.

• It is also a general consensus that vacuuming your upholstered chair once a month helps keep a large amount of dust away, keeps pet hair at bay, and helps keep odors to a minimum. For quick spot vacuums, the Shark Cordless Handvac and the Dustbuster are crowd favorites. Here's a great post on five great pet products, including the Shark.

• Most retail stores and many commenters on Apartment Therapy will still maintain, however, that for tough stains and to really maximize the life of your upholstered furniture, professional cleaning is the way to go. Too much spot cleaning can leave "clean spots" on your furniture. Also, once you've had your sofa cleaned professionally, it often feels like you're left with a brand new couch!

Do you have any helpful hints to add? Let us know what works for you and your upholstery!