Despite how much effort you put in cleaning and maintaining the upholstery of sofa or armchairs, accidents do happen. When a spill occurs, the reaction time is of the essence. In fact, soft furniture is bound to become dirty from general use with time – that’s certain! Spills, stains, and accumulated dust and dirt can cause the fabric to look worn out and shabby.


Learning how to clean and maintain the upholstery is crucial if you want to keep your furnishings looking beautiful, neat and well cared of. This is why we have gathered these useful tips on cleaning the most common kinds of upholstery materials fast and effective.

Understanding Different Upholstery Fabrics

There are a few pretty basic rules when it comes to cleaning upholstered furniture. Frequent vacuuming is a must if you want to prevent dust from setting deeply into fabric and stuffing. Quick spot removal is the best way to clean spills before they become stubborn stains. Yet the similarities end at this point. Different fabrics and materials require different care. Knowing how to handle the cleaning of the specific upholstery you have can help you avoid colour bleeding, shrinking and other damages and get great results when cleaning your furniture.

Synthetic Upholstery

Upholstery produced from man-made fibres, such as polyester, nylon, acrylic or olefin, are relatively easy to clean. They stand water well, which lets you use a wide variety of water-based cleaning products. If the synthetic upholstery is detachable, you can even toss it in the laundry machine. Nevertheless, checking the tag on the furniture to read the manufacturer’s instructions for specific treatment or product is always a smart move. If you are not sure how to proceed, just test the cleaning product you have on a small, inconspicuous area. This way, you will see if there is shrinkage or discolouration of the upholstery. If these occur, you should try another furniture cleaner.

Natural Upholstery

A lot of upholstery types are made from 100% natural fibres like cotton and wool, and less often – silk, velvet or linen. When properly maintained wool is one of the most durable upholstery materials. Typically these fabrics quickly absorb water, so washing is not the best idea. However, steam upholstery cleaning would be appropriate for most natural fibres. Most of the time, you can clean these kinds of materials by yourself unless the manufacturer’s label points otherwise. When you deal with natural fabrics, you will do fine with a water-based cleaner, but use it with moderation. Too much moisture can cause shrinking or deforming of the upholstery.

Combined Upholstery

Very often, upholstery material is a combination of man-made and natural threads. They are quite durable and come in a variety of textures and designs. Usually, cotton or wool are blended with some synthetic fibres. The safest choice when dealing with mixed fabrics is to book a professional upholstery cleaner. Combined materials typically require specific treatment to prevent damage, unless the tag points what their DIY cleaning method is.

Microfibre Upholstery

Microfibre is a beautiful, durable and easy to clean upholstery material. A small area of this fabric consists of a large number of fibres. This density is the reason dust almost never penetrates deep into the tissue. Usually brushing off the dirt and thorough vacuuming is sufficient to keep microfibre clean. For stain removal, you should check the label of the furniture to select a suitable product for your upholstery.

Leather Upholstery

Typically leather requires only to be wiped to remove the dust and dirt, as well as occasional conditioning to keep the tissue elastic and smooth. If however, you have to deal with a spot on your leather couch, you should consider hiring a professional company to treat the stain.

NB! When cleaning leather upholstery, you should avoid getting water and cleaning detergents onto frames and legs of the furniture. These parts are usually made from metal or wood, and fluids can cause them to corrode, rust, change their colour and even stain the leather. This definitely is an issue you don’t want to deal with.

Cleaning and Maintenance Tips for All Types of Upholstery

There are some general rules you should know before cleaning any type of upholstered furniture. Here are a few things that apply to all kinds of fabrics and materials:

  • Regular vacuuming will help you deal with surface dirt and dust. Don’t skip it! This cleaning step helps maintain the upholstery in good shape for an extended period.
  • When vacuuming your furnishings, don’t forget to use the appropriate attachments. It is no coincidence they exist – each nozzle is designed for a different purpose. Using them will help you clean hard to reach places and folds – basically every nook and cranny or the furniture.
  • Never apply too much water when cleaning the upholstery. Over-soaking the material can cause shrinking, colour bleeding, change in shape, and other damages you want to avoid.
  • Never rub when removing a stain from the upholstery. If you need to remove a spill from the furniture arm yourself with a soft clean towel and carefully blot until you get as much of the substance as possible. Rubbing can stretch the fabric and even push the dirt deeper into the upholstery fabric and material.
  • You can easily remove dust and pet hair with a brush. Tight woven fabrics can be cleaned with any kind of brush, but for delicate upholstery like velvet, suede and leather, you should use a soft brush, preferably with natural hair.
  • Never use hot water on the upholstery, unless the label states it’s safe. Extremely high temperature can cause shrinking and colour bleeding.
  • When your furniture needs a deep cleanup, it is always a good idea to hire a professional upholstery cleaning service. These companies specialise in taking care of different fabrics and materials. Professionals will choose the best procedure and product to make sure your furnishings are sanitised and look great without damaging the upholstery material.

We hope this guide will help you take care of your furnishings with ease. Nevertheless, if you don’t have the time to deal with the task yourself, you can always book our professional upholstery cleaners.