Oops! Accidents may happen, but how do you clean them out of your upholstered furniture?
Worry and fuss all you want to about your furniture, but spills and accidents are just a part of life whether we like it or not. While you can try to keep stains away by enacting a ban on food and pets from the living room, you still need to know what to do when stains happen.
Because they will, no matter what you do to prevent them. However, if you clean your upholstered couch or recliner regularly, know how to care for it, and work quickly, you’ll never need to worry about losing your favorite sectional or club chair to spills and stains.
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Cleaning Upholstered Furniture
In a nutshell, here’s what you’ll need to do to clean your upholstered couch, recliner, or pretty much any other type of upholstered furniture:
- Check care instructions.
- Spot clean.
Upholstered furniture should be vacuumed regularly since dirt can affect the appearance of your sectional or loveseat and wear away upholstery fibers.
Vacuuming your sofa or club chair is your first defense against stains. You’d be surprised how much a simple vacuuming can help to fade even set-in stains.
Use a clean, dry upholstery attachment or a stiff-bristle brush to loosen dried dirt, dust, and crumbs. Use the crevice tool for hard-to-reach spots like between the cushions.
2. Check Care Instructions
Check your couch or recliner for cleaning codes. These are small symbols that can usually be found on a tag that’s been sewn in at an inconspicuous spot.
Some upholstery can be cleaned with water, other types will require a multi-step process with various solvents.
If you can’t find your furniture’s cleaning code or it doesn’t have one (this is often the case with vintage and antique furniture), start by doing a spot test on a hidden piece of upholstery fabric.
It does add a little time to cleaning, but it’s important to test anything you plan to use when cleaning the upholstery, including water.
Make sure your test spots have dried completely and haven’t changed the look or feel of the upholstery before using whatever you tested on the rest of the couch or ottoman.
Always spot test any piece of upholstered furniture first before cleaning it. A cleaning product that works like magic on your vintage sectional sofa could bleach out your spouse’s favorite chair.
3. Spot Clean
Try a specially formulated dry solvent or spot remover first. If your furniture can be cleaned with water, start with a little carbonated water. Gently dab the upholstery with the cleaning solution of your choice using a clean, soft cloth.
You can also try a little vinegar or vodka, leaving it to sit for about 15 minutes before blotting with water, or a drop of dish soap and some water.
Be careful not to rub or scrub the fabric when cleaning and drying. It can be tempting, especially with tough stains, but doing so will actually grind the stain further into the fibers and damage the upholstery.
Blot your upholstery dry with a soft, clean, absorbent cloth or towel. Try to get everything as dry as possible by blotting (remember: no scrubbing!) Be sure to dry any cushions or throw pillows thoroughly, as leaving them damp can lead to mold.
Even if you used very little liquid, it’s a good idea to bring a fan in and aim it at the area you were just cleaning. You can also use a hairdryer, as long as you set it to the lowest heat setting and don’t keep it pointed at the same spot for long.
If the upholstery fabric feels stiff after cleaning and drying, use a soft brush to gently loosen the fibers. If you used vinegar or vodka to clean with, the smell should go away when the fabric is dry.
If any dirt or stain has stuck around through the cleaning process, you’re looking at a second round. As exhausting and annoying as the process can be, doing it all over again can get your couch or ottoman looking the way you want.
It could take two or three full passes before set-in stains come out. You’ll probably find yourself thinking there’s no way those stains are ever going away, but remember that perseverance usually pays off.
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What to Do When You Can’t Get a Stain Out
If your upholstered sofa or recliner just won’t come clean or it’s too much to deal with, you could try having it reupholstered. If you’re handy with a needle and thread, you may want to try doing it yourself.
The drawback here is that it can be rather expensive to have a piece of furniture reupholstered. Professional reupholstery can easily cost just as much, if not more, as purchasing a new sofa or loveseat.
Even if you decide to try your hand at recovering the piece, the cost of fabric and materials will quickly add up. You’ll need at least 15 yards of fabric to reupholster a standard couch and at least 6 yards for a typical chair.
Upholstery fabric usually costs around $35 a yard, and if you’d like something a little more on-trend and stylish, you’ll be looking at a minimum of about $70 per yard.
Once you add the cost of any foam or padding, upholstery thread, upholstery needles, plus any embellishments or other notions and equipment, you can expect to spend anywhere from $200 – $2k on your DIY reupholstery project.
Unless you’re just absolutely in love with the shape and framing of your chair or loveseat, you probably ought to consider cutting your losses and replacing it with a new piece of furniture.
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What to Do with Old Upholstered Furniture
When replacing your upholstered furniture, you’ll also need to consider how you’re going to get rid of the old furniture. You’d probably prefer not to throw it away since an old sofa or recliner will cause environmental damage in a landfill.
You may be able to donate your used sectional or upholstered chair to a local charity. However, if it is stained or damaged, charities near you likely won’t accept your furniture donation.
This can be quite frustrating, especially since the whole reason you decided to replace your upholstered furniture in the first place was to save money, time, and effort.
The best way to save yourself the hassle of getting rid of your old sleeper sofa or recliner is to use a furniture removal service like LoadUp to handle the task for you.
Furniture Pickup & Disposal Services
LoadUp will pick up and haul away any number of upholstered furniture items or other junk you have, with no minimum fee. Most other junk removal services refuse to take just 1 item unless you pay for a full truckload.
Unlike other junk removal companies, LoadUp offers honest, up-front pricing and next-day pickup when you book your furniture removal service with them.
All of LoadUp’s independently-contracted junk removal professionals are fully background-checked and are completely insured for any accidental damage to your property under a minimum $1 million policy, so you know you’re getting upholstered furniture removal you can trust.
Because LoadUp believes that honest customer feedback is the best marker for success, after your furniture has been picked up you’ll receive an email from LoadUp with a link to rate and review the service you received.
Best of all, LoadUp offers furniture pickup and removal near you at a price that’s 20-30% lower than what most other furniture removal companies charge.
If you’d like to learn more about the removal and disposal services LoadUp offers in your area, take a look at the areas we serve here.