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How To Clean Furniture [20 Helpful Furniture Cleaning Tips]

How To Clean Furniture [20 Helpful Furniture Cleaning Tips]
By RST Brands
February 21, 2018

Different types of furniture require different types of care, but you can clean furniture such as upholstery, wood, and metal by creating custom cleaning blends that will make surfaces shine like new. One approach is to use a soft-bristled brush and a water-based cleaning solution of water and dish soap to clean furniture. A second approach is to use specialized cleaner for the type of material your furniture is made out of, like wood, and cleaning by polishing the furniture. A third approach would be to use an upholstery attachment on your carpet cleaner and use that to clean your upholstered furniture. There's nothing like a deep cleaning to give you a mood boost and make your home sparkle. Here are some tips for getting any type of furniture back to peak condition.

Furniture Cleaning Tips

Cleaning your furniture regularly will preserve the quality of your pieces, bring a noticeable lift to your room, and even reduce symptoms for those who suffer from allergies and asthma. To best care for any type of furniture, consider these tips:

    • Give surfaces a basic clean up by vacuuming upholstery or dusting off glass and wood.
    • Always check cleaning instructions on the furniture before you begin.
    • Start with gentle cleaners to see if they will remove stubborn stains. You can always move on to something more powerful if it doesn't work.
    • Regularly rotate cushions to redistribute the wear and tear.
    • Repeat the cleaning process for a more powerful effect.
    • Spot clean surfaces as soon as a spill happens to avoid long-term stains.

    Cleaning Upholstery

    Cleaning upholstery by hiring a professional can be an expensive undertaking, but luckily any layman can do the job by learning a bit about different fabrics. Upholstery tags can be an excellent indicator of how to care for your sofa or chair, so start by looking for a tag to advise on how to clean your piece. Here are the steps to follow once you've ensured the piece can be cleaned at home:
      • Make your own water-based upholstery cleaner by mixing one cup of water with ¼ cup of dish soap.
      • Beat the liquid with a mixer until it turns into a thick foam.
      • Vacuum all sides of cushions and detach anything that can be taken off the furniture.
      • Use the cleaner in a discreet place to make sure your fabric does not water stain or have any other unpleasant changes.
      • Use a soft-bristled brush to rub the foam around on the cushions in a circular motion, especially focusing on any furniture stain areas.
      • Remove all the foam and wipe away with a washcloth. Keep liquid and foam away from wooden parts of the furniture.
      • Allow the cushions to dry before replacing.

    Cleaning Wood Furniture

    Years of polish buildup will leave your furniture looking dull. Here's how to revive your wood furniture to bring it back to its original state:
      • Remove old polish by soaking a washcloth in tea and wiping it aggressively on the furniture.
      • Remove water stains with the help of non-gel toothpaste wiped around the spot with a washcloth.
      • Ink marks and other stains can be removed with one tablespoon of baking soda mixed with one teaspoon of water.
      • Add a new layer of polish by using lemon oil or one cup of olive oil mixed with ¼ cup white vinegar to buff until shiny.

    Cleaning Metal Furniture

    Cleaning metal coffee tables, dining tables, or other furniture is a relatively easy task since it can be done with materials you most likely already have at home. Here's how to go about it:
      • For steel, galvanized metal, or tin, you can simply dust the surface, run a wet cloth over the top, and finally use a general household cleaner to pick up spots or spills.
      • Toothpaste or stainless steel cleaner can be used for added shine.
      • If you have a copper tabletop, you will need to use cleaner specifically made for copper furniture. Another option is to cut a lemon in half and dip it in salt to scrub the surface clean.

    What Can I Use to Clean My Couch?

    Your couch is where you go to unwind after a long day at work, chat with friends and family, or enjoy a good Netflix binge. But when your couch starts to smell musty, you know it’s time to give it some TLC.

    So what can you use to clean your couch? Turns out, there are many solutions you can try, whether you’re looking for an all-natural cleaner, a heavy-duty cleaner, or something in between. The best option for your couch ultimately depends on the type of material the couch is made from and the couch tag’s cleaning instructions.

    Some couches can be cleaned with mild or dry detergents, while others can be cleaned with water, and still others should only be cleaned with a vacuum. Check the tag before trying one of these couch cleaning methods at home:

  • Baking Soda: Apply baking soda to stubborn stains, let it soak for 20-30 minutes, then vacuum clean.

  • Steam Cleaner: Rent or buy a steam cleaner to deep-clean an upholstered couch. (Do not attempt on leather.)

  • Machine Wash Couch Cushions: If the couch tag says that cushions are machine washable, you can remove the cushion covers and wash them on a gentle cycle to remove stains. Air-dry outside on a warm day.

  • All-Natural Cleaner: Even tougher stains can be treated with an all-natural cleaner. Use a spray bottle to apply the mixture and then let it soak:

    • ¾ cup water

    • ¼ cup vinegar

    • 1 teaspoon dish soap

  • Can I Use Laundry Detergent to Clean My Couch?

    You see stains all over your couch and notice it’s starting to smell. Clearly, it’s due for a cleaning. But you may be wondering: Can you use laundry detergent to clean your couch?

    The answer depends on the instructions on your couch tag, usually found on the bottom of the couch or inside one of the couch cushion covers. The tag will usually include an upholstery cleaning code that lets you know if laundry detergent is safe for your couch. Here is what each of the cleaning codes means:

  • W: Water-based cleaners, like laundry detergent and dish soap, are okay for cleaning your couch, as long as they are diluted with water.

  • S: Avoid water-based cleaners, and instead use chemicals or dry-cleaning agents.

  • WS: Both water-based cleaners and chemical-based cleaners are safe for your couch.

  • X: Your couch cannot be cleaned with any cleaning solutions. Instead, opt for gently scrubbing or vacuuming.


    So how can you disinfect your sofa at home? Here are a few ways:

  • Dish Soap: Combine hot water and a small drop of dish soap, then spray on your couch and let it soak.

  • Rubbing Alcohol: Combine 1 cup of water with 2 cups of rubbing alcohol to create a disinfectant spray for your couch.

  • Vinegar: Combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of vinegar and spray.

  • Steam Clean: Rent or buy a steam cleaner to disinfect your couch.

  • UV Rays: The sun’s UV rays can disinfect your couch cushions on a hot day. Try this method by removing cushions and hanging them on a line on a warm, dry day.

  • How Do You Clean a Fabric Couch without Water?

    From microfiber to leather, couches come in all types of materials, and some of them could be damaged or ruined if you attempt to clean them with water. So how do you clean a fabric couch without water? Fortunately, there are several options, including:

  • Spot clean areas with crumbs or dirt with a gentle scrubbing brush.

  • Vacuum the couch using an upholstery attachment.

  • Flip the cushions to refresh the couch’s appearance and ensure even wearing.

  • How Can I Disinfect My Sofa at Home?

    Cleaning off visible couch stains is important, but sometimes, your cleaning needs to go even deeper. Only a true disinfecting process can get rid of the bacteria that could be thriving in a well-worn couch. And while you could take your couch to the dry cleaner to disinfect it, sometimes you may not want to go to all that hassle (and expense).

    Time To Get Cleaning

    With these tips, we've covered how to clean living room furniture of all types. It may be overwhelming to think about cleaning your furniture, but with additional information and tips, it's something that can easily be done. Hopefully cleaning your furniture will be a less overwhelming task from here on out.