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DIY Upholstery Cleaner: Deep Cleaning Your Furniture

diy upholstery cleaner
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Andrea Piacquadio

Upholstered furniture can easily stain. Save your couch, footstool, or favorite armchair with DIY upholstery cleaner. We’ll show you four easy recipes and share our best tips for how to use them.

To keep upholstered furniture in good condition, you should vacuum it regularly to remove dust and crumbs. This also helps to get rid of dust mites which may cause allergic reactions. While vacuuming is good for regular cleaning, it won’t help fight stains. If you spill something on your upholstered furniture, be sure to act quickly so the stain can’t set:

  • To keep the stain from spreading, remember to dab at it instead of wiping.
  • Before using, test your DIY upholstery cleaner in an inconspicuous area to make sure that it doesn’t have any unwanted effects on your particular fabric.

If a stain is too difficult for you to remove, contact your local professional upholstery cleaner. 

Upholstery Cleaning Basics: Water + Soap

cleaning upholstery
Often times, using a shop vac (or wet/dry vac) is the best way to clean upholstery at home. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - stevepb)

Many DIY upholstery cleaners include two simple ingredients: warm water, and fat-soluble dish soap. Often, they are all you need to remove stains. 

Note: it’s important to use filtered water to make your DIY upholstery cleaner – the minerals found in tap water could leave behind a stain of their own.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup water (or club soda)
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½  tbsp. dish soap

Combine the ingredients together in a spray bottle, and spray the surface of the affected upholstery until it is lightly soaked. Allow it to rest for a few minutes, then scrub with a cloth in a circular motion. Use a vacuum (or shop vac) to lift the remaining dirt and grime.

DIY Upholstery Cleaner: Dry Method

This method works best as a light cleaner for delicate fabrics that shouldn’t get wet.

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • small bit of water

Combine the ingredients to form a thick paste, then apply it to the affected area and allow it to dry. This should take approximately half an hour, and then you can vacuum it off.

Shaving Cream: DIY Upholstery Cleaner

diy upholstery cleaner
Did you know you can clean your upholstery stains with shaving cream? (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - stevepb)

Another chemical-free cleaning agent for upholstered furniture is shaving cream, which many of us have in our bathrooms already. All you need to do is spray the shaving cream on the stain and allow it to soak for 10 minutes. Then, brush out the cream using a soft brush – be sure to only brush in one direction! This method is especially good for removing red wine stains.

Clean and Brighten Fabrics

If you want to brighten up some fabrics that have become a bit dingy, you can use this DIY upholstery cleaner.

Note: For best results, you’ll want to use a shop vac, which you can rent at stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.

  • 1 cup hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • ½  tbsp. dish soap

Mix the ingredients together in a spray bottle and spray the fabric until lightly soaked. Allow it to rest for about five minutes before scrubbing in a circular motion with a rag or brush (for stubborn stains). Spray with water, and then use the shop vac to suck it dry.

Leather Furniture: How to Clean

Leather upholstered furniture should also be vacuumed regularly. In the event of a stain, it’s best to clean the leather with water and a sponge first (DIY upholstery cleaner won’t help you much with leather, unfortunately). Remember to use filtered water to avoid additional staining. You can protect leather furniture by using a natural leather care product.

This article has been translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can find the original here: Polstermöbel reinigen: so funktioniert‘s

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