Take a look at how to clean upholstered furniture, including kitchen chairs and sofas. Get tips for dealing with fuzz and how to get stubborn stains out of upholstery.
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If you have any kind of upholstered furniture and you live with kids or pets (or just messy people)…you are a brave soul. Upholstered everything is all the rage right now, but it can be kind of a pain to keep clean. Adding a regular cleaning for both the sofa and any upholstered chairs is a must!
I try to keep cleanings of my heavily-used upholstered furniture on a rotation. I've got a task for cleaning furniture built into Journey to Clean (during the living areas week). One month I'll clean the couch; the next I'll clean the kitchen chairs. That way, I don't have a ton of work to do in any given month (and we have a dry place to sit on cleaning day 😉).
Let's take a look at how I clean upholstered furniture!
Step 1: Protect the upholstery before it ever gets dirty.
As soon as we purchase any kind of furniture, I give it a good spray with Scotch Guard. I try to repeat this once a year. It's not 100% going to eliminate stains, but it does help repel liquids before they soak into the fabric. I think it's worth a $10 can every once in awhile! One can usually covers all 4 of my kitchen chairs…my sectional sofa typically requires 2 cans.
Step 2: De-fuzz and de-string.
Before I get to the cleaning part, I like to get rid of any kind of piling, fuzz, or strings hanging out of the upholstery.
My couch is notorious for this. When you have an old dog that doesn't take no for an answer and likes to sleep on the couch, this is bound to happen.
First, I simply cut the loose strings out of the couch (carefully, not pulling them when cutting).
Then, I take my trusty fabric shaver to get rid of the piling and fuzz balls. This is a little rotating set of razor blades covered by a protective plate that cuts off anything that's not flat on your couch (so I don't recommend it for any kind of super fuzzy upholstery…only flat!).
Simply rub it over the top of your upholstery and it takes care of anything sticking out.
Kind of gross, but that's how much fuzz I typically get off of my couch monthly.
Step 3: Give it a shampoo and rinse.
(Note: this was my month to clean my kitchen chairs instead of my couch, so I'm switching to the chairs for this part.)
My kitchen chairs get dirtier than basically any other upholstery in my house. I mean, with reason – kids eat there a few times a day right now. It's to be expected.
Even with Scotch Guard, you're going to have spills and stains if you have upholstery – it's just part of owning chairs like this. Luckily, it's really easy to clean!
I've had this upholstery/carpet cleaner for years and I absolutely love it. I think anybody that has kids or pets should own one of these. You can use basically any cleaner you want in it (more on that in a minute) and it's no more difficult to store than a vacuum cleaner. Warning: you will be totally and completely grossed out by the water you pour out of this thing every time. But I'm glad that nastiness is in the throw-away water, rather than my furniture!
Start with the machine on the wash mode with your upholstery attachment (included when you buy the cleaner). I fill my machine with warm water (it seems to lift stains better) and I use my tried-and-true favorite Totally Awesome cleaner (undiluted) in the cleaner tank. I buy this at Dollar Tree – yes, it's only a dollar and it's one of my favorite cleaners ever!
The upholstery attachment has a sprayer a brush, and a vacuum to lift the dirty water. Go over the entire seat, spraying everything and concentrating on the stained areas by brushing back and forth a few times. I like to go in lines on the seat to make sure I get every little bit.
Then, going in the opposite direction, don't press the trigger to turn the sprayer on. Just run the attachment over the wet upholstery; this will suck up a lot of the extra cleaner.
I usually just do this to the seat part (because it's always the dirtiest); I might spot clean the back of the chair, but it needs cleaning a lot less.
Then, flip over to the rinse cycle and repeat the process.
Spray the seat really well in lines, concentrating on any remaining spots. Then, go over the seat with the attachment (not spraying) in the opposite direction to get as much water out of the upholstery as possible.
Allow your seats to dry for 6-8 hours and you'll notice a huge difference!
This is an easy cleaning task that makes such a massive difference – try putting it on your schedule once a month! Once you learn how to clean upholstered furniture the easy way, it's so simple to integrate into your cleaning schedule.
Catch up on the rest of the Cleaning 101 series with the links below!
How to Clean Upholstered Furniture (you're here!)