How To Clean Velvet Upholstery

How To Clean Velvet Upholstery

Ashley Poskin
Dec 10, 2014
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

I don't buy into the I-can't-have-nice-things-because-I-have-a-pet hype. This is especially true when it comes to textiles in my home. So when I spotted a gorgeous velvet sofa on Craigslist for a song, I did my research and went for it.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Our sweet, slobbery dog isn't allowed on furniture (don't worry, he isn't neglected —he has a bed in every room and gets ample cuddle time each day) but that doesn't keep him from the occasional, stealthy snuggle on the sofa when our eyes are averted. So when I spied a few goobery areas on the velvet recently, I knew just how to go about cleaning it.

It's always important before you clean to first find out what the cleaning code on your piece of furniture is. I purchased my sofa used and was unable to locate the code under any cushions, but after some research found that it was still available for sale online, so I contacted the manufacturer for details. Velvet is most often a code "S" which means it must be treated with cleaning solvents (dry clean only) and will not react well with water (it flattens and damages the fibers, leaving behind a nasty white ring!). Since I'm heartily opposed to bringing harsh chemicals into my home, I tested the lemon juice and baking soda method and was very happy with the end results!

What You Need


  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice
  • Glass bowl
  • Washcloth or clean rag
  • Vacuum and brush attachment


As always, test an inconspicuous area on your furniture first, to see how your fabric reacts with the cleaning solution before cleaning the entire piece.

1. With your brush attachment, lightly vacuum your piece of furniture along the nap. This is a weekly cleaning method, and also the first step in spot cleaning stains.

2. Mix your solution of lemon juice and baking soda. For spot cleaning, I used about two tablespoons of baking soda and filled the bowl with lemon juice until I had a decent amount of foam to work with. If you are planning to clean an entire sofa, you'll want to use a slightly larger bowl and will probably end up mixing the solution a few more times.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Skim the foam with a soft cloth and wipe. Whatever you do, don't rub the solution into the velvet, stick with long, straight movements along the nap.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. The upholstery shouldn't take too long to dry, but I like to let mine sit for 3-5 hours just to be sure.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
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