How Can I Clean Cotton Upholstered Furniture?


Quick Answer

Cotton upholstered furniture is best spot cleaned with a solvent-based cleaner that is marked safe for cotton fabrics. Before you begin, place a dropcloth or a large sheet of plastic under the furniture to avoid getting cleaner on the floor, and open a window for ventilation. Vacuum regularly and clean up spills promptly to minimize the need for future cleanings.

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Full Answer

  1. Brush the furniture lightly to loosen dirt

    Brush the upholstery gently with a soft brush in a circular pattern to loosen dirt. Focus on areas that are heavily soiled.

  2. Vacuum

    Thoroughly vacuum the entire piece of furniture using your vacuum's brush attachment. Use a crevice tool to get into tight spaces.

  3. Test the cleaner in a hidden area

    Apply a mild, solvent-based cleaner to an inconspicuous portion of the upholstery. Rub it in with a clean cloth. Let the area dry. If there is no damage or change to the color of the fabric, move on to the next step. Otherwise, contact a professional about further cleaning.

  4. Spot clean the upholstery

    Apply the cleaner to any stains or heavily soiled areas. Rub the cleaner into the fabric with a soft cloth in a circular motion. Switch to fresh areas of the cloth as it becomes soiled. Keep working until all soiled areas are treated.

  5. Allow the upholstery to dry

    Let the furniture item sit until it is completely dry. If any areas are still dirty, clean a second time. Use only as much cleaner as is necessary to blot the dirt off the item with a clean cloth.

  6. Treat with a fabric protection product

    Cleaning cotton upholstery damages any previously applied stain repellents or fabric protectors. Refresh yours by spraying it with a commercial stain repellent evenly after the item is clean and completely dry.

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