How Do I Choose the Best Upholstery Cleaner?

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  • Written By: Britt Archer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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There is a wide array of upholstery cleaners on the market today. It can be daunting to choose one upholstery cleaner out of this assortment. To help, there are a couple of key points to consider when choosing, including price, the type of upholstery, what type of stain is present and how old the stain is, as well as personal preferences concerning scent, environmental impact and availability.

Commercial furniture cleaner is available for a wide variety of fabrics. Leather upholstery cleaner is different, for example, than wool upholstery cleaner. It is advisable to choose a fabric cleaner based upon the type of upholstery. If an individual is unsure what fabric the item he is cleaning is made of, most manufacturers, and even professional cleaners, advise testing the cleaner on an inconspicuous spot. Testing the chosen cleaning solution in a small spot also allows the consumer to see whether or not the fabric is “colorfast,” meaning the dyes in the fabric will not run or fade.


Leather upholstery cleaning can be particularly tricky, as can cotton, and for these it is recommended to use a product specifically designed for them or, if possible, see a professional upholstery cleaner. Increasingly, people are turning to homemade solutions to clean other types of upholstery, which is often seen as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to get things done. For upholstery that is particularly soiled and safe to wet clean, a steam-cleaning machine may come in handy. On the other hand, for products that are labeled as “no water” only, dry cleaning products are available commercially to help as well.

If one is unsure of the fiber content, worried about undesirable results or unsure of the best way to proceed, it's best to consult a professional upholstery cleaner. When working with cleaning chemicals in the home, it's always recommended to work in a well-ventilated area and to consult a doctor if side effects like dizziness, headache or nausea occur. Some chemicals may be caustic, so it's advisable to wash the cleaning solution from any exposed skin or clothing as soon as is possible.


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Post 3

I'm glad that you advised people to seek professional help if they're not really sure how to proceed about cleaning upholstery.

I work for a professional upholstery steam cleaner company, and you would be amazed at the damage that people do to their upholstery -- albeit with the best of intentions -- before they bring it to us and then expect some magical fix.

And while sometimes we can do miracles to get certain kinds of stains out, a lot of times the fabric is just too damaged by all the things that the customers have put on it to try and get the stain out before.

So, I would just like to repeat, people, see an upholstery cleaner

if you're not sure. You can very well end up doing permanent damage to your fabrics if you don't use the right cleaner in the right amount, and even then it's risky.

We're here to help, but there's only so much we can do, so if you are at all in doubt about cleaning your upholstery, seek professional help.

Post 2

Excellent post -- I was looking for information about car upholstery cleaners, since my seats have been looking a little ratty lately, and this gave me all the information I could possibly want.

I do have one question regarding furniture upholstery cleaner though. I've noticed that a lot of upholstery cleaners are very chemical based, which makes me worried about the effects on my health. Are there any good upholstery cleaners that are made from completely natural ingredients?

If so, I would be delighted if someone could send me a recipe. I've just recently discovered the joys of using homemade cleaners, and I'm now trying to apply the homemade/natural principle to other places in my life.

Anyway, if you've got any advice, lay it on me!

Post 1

Hello -- I was wondering if you could advise me as to which cleaner I should use for antique upholstery.

I recently inherited several lovely old couches and ottomans from my grandmother, and they are beautifully upholstered, but unfortunately very dirty, and a bit smelly, to be honest.

My grandfather smoked like a chimney, so they've got all sorts of cigarette smells, and also some interesting stains from pets on the cushions.

I really want to get rid of all the smells and stains, but I'm afraid to use too strong of a cleaner since the upholstery is so old.

So what should I do?

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