What Is Upholstery Cleaning

Hey there! If you’re wondering what exactly upholstery cleaning is all about, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about professional upholstery cleaning services so you can decide if it’s something you want to get done for your home.

Why Upholstery Cleaning is So Important

I know, I know – cleaning your couch or chairs probably isn’t high on your to-do list. But upholstery cleaning is actually super important for your health and for keeping your furniture looking its best! Here’s why you should consider getting upholstery cleaning done regularly:

  • Improves Indoor Air Quality. All the dirt, dust mites, pollen, and other allergens that get buried deep in your upholstery get stirred up into the air you breathe every time you plop down on the couch. Getting a deep clean helps trap all those nasty particles so they don’t end up in your lungs.
  • Removes Allergens. For anyone suffering from allergies or asthma, upholstery cleaning can make a huge difference. Thorough steam cleaning or hot water extraction removes way more dust, pet dander, mold spores, and other allergens than trying to vacuum it yourself.
  • Eliminates Odors. Even a freshly laundered blanket can start to smell funky if it’s been draped over your couch for a few days. Upholstery cleaning banishes odors that accumulate in fabric over time. No more stinky sofa!
  • Makes Furniture Look Brand New. Once you see how grimy your upholstery gets on the inside, you’ll be shocked. Professional cleaning restores the vibrancy of the fabric and makes your furniture look like new again.
  • Extends Life of Upholstery. All the dirt and oils that build up degrade fabrics over time. A good deep clean helps preserve upholstery by removing abrasive particles before they can damage fibers.

Now that you know why upholstery cleaning matters, let’s go over what exactly is considered upholstery.

What Qualifies as Upholstery?

When you hear the word upholstery, you probably think first of your couch or armchair. But upholstery is actually any fabric that covers furniture. This includes:

  • Sofas
  • Loveseats
  • Chairs
  • Ottomans
  • Headboards
  • Footboards
  • Dining chairs
  • Bar stools

Upholstery can be made from natural fabrics like cotton, linen, or silk, or synthetic fabrics like polyester, microfiber, vinyl, or leather. If you can sink into it, it likely needs professional upholstery cleaning!

How Often Should Upholstery Be Cleaned?

So when’s the right time to call in the pros for some upholstery TLC? Here are some good guidelines on frequency:

  • If You Have Kids or Pets: Aim for a thorough upholstery cleaning every 4-6 months. All the spills, accidents, and fur can really add up!
  • For Most Households: An annual upholstery cleaning is ideal for keeping your furniture fresh.
  • Signs It’s Time: If you notice visible dirt, stains, or pet odor coming from fabric, it’s definitely time for a cleaning.

Upholstery cleaning isn’t usually something you need to do super frequently. But it makes a world of difference when it comes time to do a deep clean!

DIY Upholstery Cleaning vs. Calling the Pros

When upholstery cleaning is needed, you might be tempted to just rent one of those carpet cleaning machines from the grocery store and DIY it. I totally get the desire to save money – but unfortunately, DIY upholstery cleaning just doesn’t cut it.

Here’s why you’re better off calling in professional upholstery cleaners:

  • Special Equipment. Professionals have high-powered steam cleaning machines and industrial vacuums for deep cleaning. DIY machines are pretty wimpy in comparison.
  • More Thorough Clean. The hot water extraction method pros use removes up to 4X more dirt, dust mites, and allergens than DIY methods.
  • Won’t Damage Fabric. All that steam and suction can damage delicate upholstery if you aren’t trained. Professionals know how to avoid ruining your furnishing.
  • Removes Stubborn Stains. Professional strength cleaners and stain removers mean even red wine or grease stains don’t stand a chance!
  • Cost Effective. Considering the equipment and cleaning solution pros use, it’s actually more economical than renting a machine and buying all the products yourself.

Take it from me – leave upholstery cleaning to the experts so you get a deep clean without damage!

Step-by-Step Process of Professional Upholstery Cleaning

Wondering what exactly goes on when you book professional upholstery cleaning service? Here’s a typical step-by-step process:

  • Inspection. Technicians first inspect fabric for any flaws or damage that should be avoided during cleaning.
  • Pre-Treatment. Stubborn stains may be pre-treated to help lift them during the main cleaning.
  • Vacuuming. A thorough vacuum removes surface-level dirt and debris. This prepares the fabric for a deeper clean.
  • Steam Cleaning. Truck-mounted wands blast hot, pressurized water deep into fabric to loosen dirt from the base of the fibers.
  • Powerful Suction. Simultaneously, powerful vacuum suction extracts all the grime and moisture in one swoop.
  • Detailing. Technicians go over high-traffic areas like cushions multiple times to lift away the most concentrated dirt.
  • Rinsing. Upholstery is thoroughly rinsed with clean water to remove any traces of soap residue.
  • Sanitizing. A sanitizing solution is applied to kill germs and bacteria and deodorize.
  • Drying. High-powered air movers speed up drying time so furniture is usable again ASAP.
  • Grooming. Once totally dry, upholstery is groomed to restore a smooth, fresh look.
  • Final Inspection. Technicians give furniture a final look-over before wrapping up.

That’s a lot more thorough than just hitting your couch with a carpet cleaner rental, huh?

Upholstery Fabric Types & How to Clean Them

Believe it or not, not all upholstery can be cleaned exactly the same. The fabric type and material determines the best cleaning method and products to use:

Cotton and Linen

  • Clean With: Gentle detergent-based or water-based cleaners

Microfiber and Polyester

  • Clean With: Solvent-based cleaners that won’t damage synthetics

Leather and Vinyl

  • Clean With: Conditioners and protective solutions to avoid drying


  • Clean With: Specialized silk fabric cleaners only

Velvet and Chenille

  • Clean With: Gentle brushing with the grain – no scrubbing! Steaming only.

Reputable upholstery cleaning companies know which products and methods are safest for your particular upholstery fabric. Yet another reason to let the professionals handle it!

Upholstery Cleaning Aftercare Tips

To keep your furniture looking fresh longer after a professional cleaning, here are some helpful aftercare tips:

  • Vacuum regularly using the soft brush attachment to remove surface dirt before it accumulates.
  • Immediately spot clean any spills, smears, or pet accidents. This prevents staining and odor buildup.
  • Rotate cushions to evenly distribute wear and extend lifespan.
  • Inspect for pests like bed bugs inside cushions every so often. Catch any signs early.
  • Avoid direct sunlight on upholstery which can cause fading over time.
  • Consider a fabric protector like Scotchguard to create an invisible shield against future stains.

Following these simple suggestions will keep your upholstery cleaner longer after a professional cleaning!

Know When to Call the Pros

As you can see, upholstery cleaning is incredibly important for your health, your furniture’s condition, and your home’s air quality. Here are the best times to pick up the phone and call professional upholstery cleaners to your home:

  • For a thorough deep clean 1-2 times per year.
  • If DIY cleaning efforts just aren’t getting your furniture as clean as you’d like.
  • If you have tough pet urine stains or set-in stains that need removal.
  • If you notice any strange odors coming from fabric.
  • If you or anyone in your home has severe allergy sensitivities.

In Summary

I hope this overview gave you a better understanding of upholstery cleaning – what it is, why it matters, and how the pros get it done. Keeping your upholstery deep cleaned is one of the best things you can do for your indoor air quality and the longevity of your furniture.

Aim to get professional upholstery cleaning done about once a year, or every 6 months if you have kids and pets. And don’t try to DIY it – leave it to the experts to give your upholstery a Total Refresh!