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How To Clean Upholstery: Tips and Tricks

Did your furniture take a beating over the holidays with parties, guests, family and friends visiting? Maybe you had a couple of accidental spills on your couch and you need to tackle the stains. Keep your upholstery clean with these tips!

It's easy to keep your upholstered furniture clean by vacuuming it regularly. Vacuuming can help keep fabric in good shape and prevents dust and crumbs from settling. Break up cracked on spots with the edge of a spoon before you vacuum. Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum and work in short strokes from left to right. It may be surprising how well a simple vacuuming can help fade a stain, so vacuum first to suck up loose particles and reveal the true nature and damage of a stain.

Check your furniture for cleaning codes. Whether its W for a water-based solution, S for a water-free dry cleaning solution, or WS for both, don't forget to spot test. Steaming can also loosen up particles and make a stain more responsive to treatment, and the steam setting on your iron works just as well as a steamer!

Phase one of upholstery cleaning just involves a little bit of water and mild dish soap or castile soap. Remember to blot the stain with a dry cloth to absorb as much as you can before treating, and then blot with a wrung out sponge and soapy mixture. Be gentle, don't damage fabric by rubbing. Blot again with just water to get any soap out, and pat dry with a cloth. Try water, vinegar, and even vodka on a spot before reaching for the chemical solutions - any smell will disappear when dry.

Phase two includes involving the heavier duty cleaning agents. Check the furniture's cleaning instructions, and remember to spot test on an inconspicuous area. Resolve, Tuff Stuff, Folex, and Wine Away are all great options for getting out stubborn stains, especially if you have pets or children prone to spilling. Repeat this process for the best results.

You can use an upholstery or scrub brush to brush fibers to fluff fabric up. A lint roller is an easy way to prevent pet hair and oils from building up over time. If you're treating grease stains, sprinkle cornstarch over the spot and let it sit for about thirty minutes to absorb the oil, and then vacuum it up! You can also use a can of compressed air to blast away dust in  tiny crevices like button tufting.

Don't use too much water, it can cause rings to show or fabric to shrink. Blot stains from the outside inward to prevent rings from forming. Avoid getting water on metal components. A leather cleaner and leather conditioner easily cleans leather upholstery. If your furniture has X as a cleaning code, leave major stains to professionals and stick to vacuuming and brushing. To speed up the drying process, use a fan.

Whether you do it yourself, call a professional, or throw a slipcover in the washing machine, you don't have to live with stains!

Next Up: Try This Trim: A Guide to Embellishments