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The Upholstery Handbook: Expert Advice for Beautifully Clean Furniture

TL;DR: Admiring your neighbor’s spotless furniture? Achieve the same look with expert upholstery cleaning tips. Essential tools include vacuum cleaners with upholstery attachments, specialized cleaners, soft brushes, and microfiber cloths. Regular vacuuming, immediate stain removal, and deep cleaning (including professional services every 12-18 months) keep your furniture looking new. Handle common stains like food, ink, and pet accidents promptly and use fabric protectors, throw blankets, and designated pet zones for prevention. For top-notch results, consider professional services like Certified Clean Care in Knoxville, TN, for a clean and healthy home.


Have you ever envied your neighbor’s impeccably clean and stylish furniture? It’s incredible how they manage to keep it looking so perfect. We’ve all been there, admiring the fresh, vibrant look of well-maintained upholstery and wishing our own home could look just as inviting. But how could you afford new furniture when prices are constantly increasing?

In March 2024, for instance, the consumer price index showed a 3.5 percent increase compared to only 12 months before, reflecting the inflation changes in the United States. However, here’s the good news: you can achieve that same desirable look in your own home with some expert advice on cleaning and maintaining your upholstered furniture. 

We’ve got all the guidance you need to make your furniture the talk of the neighborhood.

Essential Upholstery Cleaning Tools

With the right cleaning tools, you can follow all the necessary procedures for maintaining your upholstered furniture in between professional appointments. Let’s see all the essential items you’ll need when you are cleaning your upholstery.

Vacuum Cleaners

A high-quality vacuum cleaner with specific upholstery attachments is indispensable. These attachments allow you to get into the nooks and crannies, removing dust, dirt, and debris from both the surface and the deeper layers of your furniture. For delicate fabrics, a soft brush attachment is ideal, as it cleans effectively without causing damage.

Cleaning Solutions

Specialized upholstery cleaners can help you handle stains and dirt without damaging the fabric. For natural fabrics, opt for gentle, plant-based cleaners that are effective yet mild. For synthetic materials, look for solutions that target tough stains while being safe for the fabric.

Soft Brushes

Soft-bristled brushes are excellent for gently agitating the fabric to lift dirt and stains without causing wear. These brushes can be very practical when you are dealing with more delicate materials that require a softer touch.

Microfiber Cloths

Microfiber cloths are ideal for blotting down and spot-cleaning upholstery. They are highly absorbent and can pick up dirt and moisture without leaving lint behind. Use them to blot spills, apply cleaning solutions, or gently scrub away stains.

Cleaning Techniques

There are a few cleaning for your upholstered furniture that can help you maintain its beauty and extend its lifespan. Here’s a detailed look at effective deep-cleaning techniques to keep your furniture looking pristine:

Full Surface Cleaning

Every few months, a more thorough cleaning is necessary. Use a steam cleaner specifically designed for upholstery to deep clean the fabric. Steam cleaning helps remove embedded dirt, allergens, and bacteria without harsh chemicals. 

Ensure your fabric can withstand the heat and moisture before proceeding. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your steam cleaner, and move it slowly over the fabric to allow the steam to penetrate deeply. After cleaning, allow the upholstery to air dry completely before using it again to prevent mold and mildew growth. 

Professional Cleaning

Professional cleaning is recommended for particularly delicate or heavily soiled furniture. Professionals can handle dirt and stains in a way that you cannot. It is recommended to schedule a professional cleaning every 12 to 18 months or more often for frequently used items. This service can revitalize your furniture, bringing back its original luster and extending its longevity.


Over time, upholstery can absorb odors from pets, food, and general use. To keep your furniture smelling fresh, the best thing you can do is sprinkle baking soda all over the fabric and let it sit like that for several hours. Make sure you vacuum thoroughly after that to remove the residuals. 

For a more fragrant solution, consider using upholstery-safe fabric fresheners or essential oil sprays, but always test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t stain.

Handling Common Stains

Upholstery stains can happen no matter how careful you are. But with the right techniques and prompt action, you can tackle common stains and keep your upholstery looking fresh and clean.

Food and Beverage Stains

Dealing with food and beverage stains, such as coffee, wine, or sauces, requires immediate action to prevent permanent damage. Blot the spill gently with a clean, dry cloth to absorb the liquid. 

After blotting, use a homemade solution with equal parts mild dish soap and lukewarm water to gently dab the stained area. 

Ink and Marker Stains

The best thing you can use for ink and marker stains is rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball or a white cloth. Blot the stain gently and repeat until the ink lifts. Once you have managed to remove the stain, clean the area with mild soapy water and blot dry.

Grease and Oil Stains

For grease and oil stains, sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the stain and let it absorb the oil. After 15-20 minutes, vacuum the baking soda or cornstarch and stain residuals. Using a small amount of dish soap, gently scrub the stain with a soft brush. Rinse with warm water and blot dry to remove any soap residue.

Pet Stains

Pet stains not only leave unsightly marks but can also cause odors. Blot the stain as soon as you can to absorb moisture. Apply an enzymatic cleaner specifically formulated for pet stains to break down proteins and eliminate odors. After that, blot the area with a clean cloth and give it some time to air dry.

General Tips for All Stains

Regardless of the type of stain, you need to act quickly. Always test cleaning solutions at a hidden spot on your furniture to avoid damage. Blotting rather than rubbing prevents spreading and fabric damage. After cleaning, make sure you give the furniture some time to air dry. Make sure no one in your family uses it before it’s thoroughly dry to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Protecting Your Upholstery

Protecting your upholstery from daily wear and tear can help you maintain its appearance and longevity. By implementing a few strategic measures, you can make sure you are doing the best you can for your upholstery.

Using Fabric Protectors

These fabric protectors create an invisible barrier that repels liquids, preventing dirt from embedding into the fibers. 

It’s important to reapply fabric protectors every six months or after each professional cleaning for optimal protection. This ensures the barrier remains intact and provides an effective defense against potential damage.

Throw Blankets

Using throw blankets and slipcovers can significantly extend the life of your upholstery, especially in high-use areas such as couches and armchairs. Additionally, throw blankets and slipcovers come in various styles and colors, allowing you to refresh the look of your furniture while protecting it.

Pet-Friendly Zones

To minimize damage caused by pets, designate specific pieces of furniture as pet-friendly zones. Train your pets to use these designated areas by providing comfortable and appealing options such as pet beds or blankets. This strategy helps contain fur, scratches, and potential stains to specific items, making it easier to manage and clean. 

Certified Clean Care for Best Results in Your Home

Maintaining beautifully clean upholstery is a blend of routine care, timely intervention, and preventive measures. With this expert advice for beautifully clean furniture, you can enjoy a fresh, attractive home with improved comfort and aesthetics. For best results, make sure to call in the professionals regularly.

Certified Clean Care is a company in Knoxville, Tennessee. We offer a wide range of services, including carpet, tile and grout, upholstery, hardwood floor cleaning, and more. 


We use non-toxic, child and pet-friendly solutions to ensure a safe and healthy post-cleaning environment. Experience the best in cleaning services today! Schedule your appointment with Certified Clean Care.