How to deep clean upholstery

Written by jennifer kothe
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Deep cleaning your upholstered furniture can help keep it looking new. Learn how to deep clean your upholstered furniture in just 10 steps.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Rough cloths
  • Soap flakes
  • Boiling water
  • Borax
  • Oscillating fan
  • Vacuum attachments for upholstery and corners
  • Large bucket
  • Tuff stuff or other upholstery spray

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  1. 1

    Remove any covers or cushions.

  2. 2

    Thoroughly vacuum the entire surface including the sides, arms, both sides of the cushions the base as well as any corners and creases using an upholstery or crevice vacuum attachment.

  3. 3

    Replace the cushions.

  4. 4

    Check your furniture's label for cleaning instructions before washing. Some solutions can damage delicate fabrics.

  5. 5

    Test the shampoo and stain treatments by applying a small amount to the back of the furniture. Check for fading, discolouration or shrinking.

  6. 6

    Spot treat any existing stains with a stain remover like Tuff Stuff, or another spray upholstery cleaner.

  7. 7

    Heat 1 pint of water until boiling. Remove the water from the stove. Add 6 tablespoons of soap flakes (you can buy them or make them yourself using a grater and plain bar soap) and 2 tablespoons of Borax. Mix together, and let cool until the mixture thickens. Whisk until it foams. Pour shampoo into a large bucket. While cleaning you may need to reheat the soap to get more foam.

  8. 8

    Use a rough cloth or brush to clean the upholstery but gently putting part of the cloth into the soapy solution. Do not to soak the fabric.

  9. 9

    Use a clean damp cloth to soak up the dirty soap, and rinse with a damp cloth.

  10. 10

    Let the furniture dry overnight with an oscillating fan pointed at the wet furniture to help it dry more quickly.

Tips and warnings

  • For dry-clean-only fabrics, you can do a lighter cleaning using Dryel dry clean cloths.
  • Fresh stains can be removed with baby wipes.
  • Remove any pet hair using a sticky lint brush.
  • Check your manufacturer's care instructions before cleaning as some fabrics have to be cleaned professionally.
  • Try to keep the furniture as dry as possible while cleaning. Do not soak the fabric.

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