How to Clean Upholstery

If your furniture is looking grimy or stained, you don’t necessarily have to throw it out. While reupholstery is a great option for helping your furniture look new, you may also simply need to clean it.

Below, you’ll learn how often you should clean your upholstery and how to determine which cleaning solutions are safe for which pieces of fabric. As well, we’ll guide you through the process of cleaning your upholstery.

cleaning upholstery in Morristown, New Jersey
Dry cleaning worker removing dirt from sofa indoors

How Often Should You Clean Your Upholstery?

We recommend vacuuming upholstery once a week, as this helps prevent too much dust or dirt from clinging to your furniture. Stains should be addressed on an as-needed basis.

Understand What You’re Cleaning

Before you can start the actual cleaning process, you should understand the material you’re working with. This allows you to understand which cleaning materials are safe to use. There are four different codes that can go on these tags: W, S, W-S, and X.

W stands for water and means that water-based cleaning solutions can be used. S stands for water-free, which means that water-free cleaning solutions or dry cleaning are recommended. W-S means that water or water-free solutions can be used.

If your furniture has an X tag on it, you shouldn’t use home cleaning solutions. If vacuuming isn’t enough to get the upholstery clean, you should call a professional.

If your furniture was manufactured before 1969, it may not have this tag. In this situation, you’ll want to spot test a small area of the fabric that isn’t easily visible. This will allow you to determine which cleaning materials are safe to use.

How to Clean Your Upholstery

The first step to cleaning your upholstery is clearing it of any dirt or dust. This can be done with a vacuum or a steam cleaner. It’s a good idea to visually examine the upholstery beforehand to avoid sucking up coins.

When trying to get rid of any stains, the next step is to apply your cleaning solution. You want to make sure to apply just enough to cover the stain: any more and you risk over-saturating the fabric.

If the stain still isn’t out, you can apply the same amount of solution a second time. If it still isn’t out after you’ve applied the solution twice, you’ll need to either call a professional cleaning service or get the piece of furniture reupholstered.

If you’re cleaning a piece of furniture with a W or W-S tag, you may also want to do an overall cleaning. In this case, you’ll want to dilute your cleaning solution with water and use a cloth or sponge to clean the entire surface. Make sure to avoid metal and wood during your cleaning.

Looking for Reupholstery Services in Morristown, New Jersey?

Even with the proper maintenance, your upholstery won’t last forever. That said, it is possible to reupholster your furniture instead of buying new pieces altogether. In fact, that’s The Decorating Store’s specialty.

If you have any questions about our reupholstery services, you can reach out to us by calling (908) 688-9416 or emailing us at Along with reupholstery, we also offer window treatments, furniture, and more.


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