What products are safe to use when cleaning your upholstery?

Whether it’s a red wine stain, or a year’s worth of grease and grime, there comes a point where your sofa or chairs will need cleaning.

However, not all cleaning products are safe to use on your upholstery and understanding exactly what can and can’t be used for upholstery cleaning is crucial if you want to avoid permanently damaging the fabric.

Many shops sell cleaners which are suitable for use on most fabrics. The following natural products can all be found in your home and are generally safe to use on upholstery. Whether you choose to use a shop bought cleaner or one of these products, it is always advised to conduct a patch test to ensure it works with the particular fabric of your furniture.

White wine vinegar

White wine vinegar can help to remove both stains and odours from your furniture and can be picked up for under £1. The acid in the vinegar works by cutting through and dissolving grease, as well as acting as a disinfectant. To use for stain removal, simply dilute with water and spray or dab on the affected area and leave for ten minutes before absorbing the excess liquid with a towel.

Baking soda

Baking soda is another cupboard ingredient that is an effective upholstery cleaner. It works by absorbing funky smells and neutralising them permanently, rather than temporarily masking smells like a fabric spray would. Its abrasive texture also helps to lift dirt from fabric – even if it is deep rooted. Sprinkle the baking soda on the fabric, leave to sit for at least 30 minutes and then vacuum. If your sofa needs a deeper clean, gently rub the baking soda in the fabric and leave it overnight before vacuuming.

Washing up liquid

Much like it can be used to break up grease on pans and trays, washing up liquid can break up grime and dirt on your sofa. It is best to dilute the washing up liquid to avoid leaving liquid-coloured stains on the upholstery; a tablespoon of washing up liquid in a cup of warm water should be effective enough for most stains. For more stubborn stains and spillages, add white wine vinegar to the soapy water and leave on for ten minutes before soaking up the excess water.

Olive oil

Water based cleaners shouldn’t be used on leather upholstery as they can leave watermarks. For any leather furniture, olive oil mixed with a little lemon juice works well as a natural cleaner and has the added bonus of conditioning the fabric. To use, gently buff in a little of the mixture with a cloth, leave for 30 minutes and wipe off the excess.


When all else fails, or if your upholstery is in serious need of a deep clean, taking the fabric to be professionally cleaned is an easy and effective way of making the furniture look and feel brand new, without the risk of leaving unsightly marks or damaging the fabric.

Author: Editor

Share This Post On