How to Clean Velvet Upholstery

Updated February 21, 2017

Velvet is a luxurious textile created by a complex double weaving process that results in a densely plush nap. It is not an easy fabric to maintain because the smooth surface can become permanently crushed through typical cleaning processes. While velvet garments can be dry cleaned, it is very difficult if not impossible to care for upholstery using the same process. However, there are a variety of techniques that can be used to maintain velvet upholstery.

Brush off any dust or debris, using a soft bristled hair brush or cloth.

Vacuum any accumulated dust or dirt with a special upholstery attachment for velvet. This will also remove any fuzz that has formed on the surface of the fabric. Run the attachment back and forth over the velvet until the dirt and fuzz are removed. This attachment can be purchased at appliance stores where vacuums are sold or at fine furniture stores.

Brush fabric in the direction of the nap with a velvet brush or soft bristled hair brush.

Use a steamer to remove creases from the fabric. Hold the steamer nozzle right up to the velvet and move at a moderate pace across the crease and in the direction of the nap, until it disappears.

Try to remove as much liquid from the upholstery as possible. If the spill is on a cushion or other removable piece, shake to remove excess.

Gently soak up any additional liquid from the surface of the fabric, using a dry absorbent cloth. Be very careful not to add too much pressure, as you might push the moisture further into the velvet.

Mix a small amount of warm water and a few drops of dish washing detergent in a bowl. Cover the bowl and shake the mixture to create suds. Using a soft cloth, apply the suds the stain, taking great care not to over wet the fabric. Continue to dab the stain lightly until stain is lifted. If this process doesn't remove the stain, use a dry cleaning solvent.

Follow the directions on the dry cleaning solvent packaging for mixing instructions. Apply a small amount of solution on a cloth and dab into the stain in the same manner as the suds mixture.

Allow fabric air dry. If you wish to speed up the drying process, use a hair dryer. Set the hair dryer on low heat and hold about five inches from the fabric. Keep the dryer moving so you do not damage the fabric.

Use a steamer if the velvet has lost lustre during the cleaning process. Move the steamer nozzle across velvet at a moderate pace going with the nap.

After the velvet is completely dry, brush it in the direction of the nap, using a soft bristled hair brush or velvet brush.


Never put an iron on velvet. This would permanently crush the nap.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft absorbent cloth
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Dish washing detergent
  • Hair dryer
  • Steamer
  • Soft bristled brush or velvet brush
  • Fuzz reducing vacuum attachment
  • Vacuum
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About the Author

Shelly Schumacher has a diverse writing background that includes work in print as well as electronic publications. She has been writing for over 18 years and enjoys working with a variety of different clients on both writing projects and as a marketing and public relations consultant. Schumacher holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Wisconsin.