You might not think about it while you’re lounging around the house, but your couches and chairs are repositories for dirt and grime. Pets, food stains, and every day wear and tear mean your furniture needs to be cleaned on an annual basis. While you might want to call in the pros for extremely soiled upholstery, you can use these four DIY tips to make your settee spotless.
- Wet or Dry?: Chances are there’s a care label attached to you couch cushions with a code that states, “S,” “W,” or “SW.” The “S” indicates the upholstery can only be cleaned with solvents. The “W” stands for water-based cleaning and “SW” means either water- or solvent-based cleaning will work.
- Shampoo Your Sofa: If your upholstery is “W” or “SW” it is suitable for water-based cleaning. Mix mild dish soap or a professional upholstery shampoo with water in a bucket. Using a slightly damp sponge, scoop out the soap suds only and apply the bubbles to the fabric in a circular motion. When a section is complete, blot up the excess suds with a clean terrycloth towel.
- Steam Away the Dirt: If you’re truly ambitious, you can rent a steamer for water-based cleaning. Remove cushions and save them for last. Place towels on the floor around the piece to catch drips. Attach the upholstery wand to the steamer and begin furthest away from yourself. Pull the wand towards you while pulling the trigger to release the cleaning solution. When done, make several dry passes over the fabric with the wand to suck up excess water.
- Solve It With Solvent: If your fabric is S-rated, you need a cleaning solution that does not form suds. There are many commercial solvents available for upholstery cleaning. Most are applied with a sponge and blotted dry with a towel. Solvents often contain toxic chemicals and should only be used in a well-ventilated area.