Professional upholstery cleaning can be expensive -- with a typical 8-foot-long sofa costing about $150. That may be worth it for the level of service and expertise you're getting, but if you know what you're doing you can
DIY furniture cleaning
For small furniture messes, DIY cleaning upholstery can save you money and preserve your furniture. Learn what the upholstery tags on your furniture mean before you DIY (look under cushions or check manufacturer’s website):
|Code||What it means|
|W||The letter stands for "water," meaning it can be cleaned with water-based cleaning products, so it is a good option for DIY.|
|S||This should only be cleaned with a "solvent" or water-free product, like a dry-cleaning solvent. Using water-based produce could leave a water ring or fade the dye. If you use a dry-cleaning product be sure to read the label because the chemicals can be hazardous if not used correctly.|
|WS or SW||This means that either water-based or dry-cleaning products could be used. However, there is some risk of damaging the fabric. Either have this professionally cleaned or carefully spot test in an inconspicuous area before using any product.|
|X||Cleaning fabric with this tag is a challenge even for professionals because neither water nor standard dry-cleaning solvents can be used. Definitely not a DIY job.|
Follow these furniture cleaning tips:
Test cleaning products for colorfastness and shrinkage in an area you can’t see before spot-cleaning upholstery and furniture. Here’s how to make your own non-toxic, environmentally-safe water-based cleaner: mix one cup of warm water with ¼ dishwashing soap in a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat until liquid becomes a thick foam.
- Remove furniture cushions
- Vacuum surfaces thoroughly with vacuum attachment
- With a soft-bristled brush, rub foam cleaner onto fabric
- Remove foam with a spatula
- With a clean, damp cloth, and wipe away remaining suds
- Use care: Too much water can leave stains and cause fabric shrinkage
- Keep cleaning solution away from wood accents
- Let dry completely
For leather upholstery:
Make your own cleaner by adding a few drops of moisturizing soap to a damp washcloth.
Wipe the off the soap solution gently and rinse with another damp washcloth
Buff with a dry washcloth
Other furniture cleaning tips:
To extend the life of your upholstery, clean it every 18 months or more frequently. In between cleanings, vacuum thoroughly every two weeks and treat stains right away. Use a paper towel or washcloth, blot wet stains, avoid rubbing; it can be abrasive and damage the fabric. Work your way from the outside in to avoid spreading the stain more.
For solid food spills, scoop up with a spatula, the spot-treat with a stain remover.
Is your furniture under warranty?
Cleaning warrantied furniture on your own may invalidate the warranty. Re-read the warranty and if professional cleaning is required, discuss the warranty with the professional upholstery cleaner before work begins. Still uncertain? Call the company that holds the warranty.
For more information, see 5 DIY tips for cleaning household upholstery.