5 Mistakes When Cleaning Upholstery and How to Avoid Them

by | Feb 20, 2024 | Uncategorized

Mistakes When Cleaning Upholstery and How to Avoid Them

Cleaning your upholstery is necessary to maintain your home’s comfort and aesthetics. However, the process isn’t always straightforward. Many unknowingly commit errors that can lead to damage, degradation, or unsatisfactory results. 

This guide will explore common mistakes when cleaning upholstery and provide insightful solutions to ensure your furnishings remain in optimal condition.

Top Mistakes When Cleaning Upholstery

We often make certain blunders in our attempts to maintain a clean and refreshing living environment. Let’s delve into some of these cleaning upholstery mistakes and their effective remedies.

Utilising the Wrong Cleaning Products

Using incorrect or harsh cleaning agents is one of the leading causes of upholstery damage. These products can lead to discolouration, fabric degradation, and structural damage. Always ensure that you’re using a cleaning product specifically designed for your upholstery fabric. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek professional advice if unsure.

Excessive Water Usage

A common misconception is that more water equates to a deeper clean. However, over-saturation can be harmful to your upholstery. It can lead to water stains, mould growth, and fabric shrinkage. Instead, utilise a spray bottle for even application and consider spot cleaning for minor spills and stains.

Neglecting Regular Maintenance

Many wait until a significant spill or stain occurs before cleaning their upholstery. This reactive approach can make cleaning more challenging and potentially lead to permanent staining. Instead, adopt a proactive maintenance schedule to keep your furnishings in peak condition.

Scrubbing Stains Aggressively

Scrubbing vigorously is a good way to get rid of stubborn stains, but it can damage fabric. Instead, gently blot the stain with a clean, dry cloth to absorb as much of the spill as possible before applying any cleaning solution.

Ignoring Fabric Cleaning Codes

Each piece of upholstered furniture comes with a fabric cleaning code. These codes provide guidelines on what cleaning methods are safe for your specific furniture piece. Ignoring these codes can result in irreversible damage. Always check and adhere to these guidelines to ensure the longevity of your upholstery.

Advanced Tips to Avoid Mistakes When Cleaning Upholstery

The key to successful upholstery cleaning is knowledge, patience, and technique. Here are some advanced tips to thoroughly clean without making common mistakes.

Conduct a Spot Test

Before applying any cleaning solution to a large area, performing a spot test is always advisable. Apply a small amount of your chosen cleaner to a discreet area and wait for it to dry. This test will ensure the product won’t cause any unwanted reactions.

Use a Soft-Bristled Brush

Consider using a soft-bristled brush to remove dust and loose dirt for regular maintenance. This method is gentler on the fabric and less likely to cause damage.

Employ Professional Services

In some cases, professional upholstery cleaning services may be necessary. This is particularly true for antique, luxury, or delicate pieces. Professionals have the knowledge and equipment to clean these items without causing harm.

DIY Vs Professional Upholstery Cleaning

Cleaning upholstery is a job you can do yourself, but is it always the right choice? Let’s examine the pros and cons of both.

DIY Upholstery Cleaning

DIY upholstery cleaning can be cost-effective and convenient. Here are the pros and cons to consider:


  • Cost-effective: You’ll save on service costs by handling the task yourself.
  • Flexibility: Clean whenever it suits your schedule.


  • Risk of damage: Without the proper knowledge or tools, you risk damaging your upholstery.
  • Time-consuming: Depending on the extent of cleaning required, it can be quite time-consuming.

Professional Upholstery Cleaning

Hiring professionals for upholstery cleaning has its advantages and drawbacks:


  • Expertise: Professionals have the knowledge and equipment to handle a variety of fabrics and stains.
  • Deep cleaning: They can provide a deeper clean, prolonging your upholstery’s life.


  • Cost: Professional services come with a price tag.
  • Schedule: You’ll need to work around the service provider’s schedule.

Preventative Measures to Avoid Stains and Damage

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few preventative measures to help keep your upholstery clean and prolong its life.

Use Upholstery Protectors

Upholstery protectors create a barrier against spills, dirt, and wear, providing an extra layer of protection for your furniture.

Regular Vacuuming

Regular vacuuming is key to maintaining the cleanliness of your upholstery. It helps to remove dust, dirt, and allergens before they have a chance to become embedded in the fabric.

Keep Food and Drinks Away

As much as possible, try to keep food and drinks away from upholstered furniture to prevent accidental spills and stains.

Rotate Cushions Regularly

Rotating cushions can distribute wear evenly and prolong the lifespan of your upholstery.


In conclusion, avoiding mistakes when cleaning upholstery is crucial for maintaining your furniture’s look, feel, and longevity. By recognising these common errors and implementing the right strategies, you can ensure that your upholstery remains top-notch. With this guide, you can now clean your upholstery efficiently and effectively, saving time and potential expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Clean My Upholstery?

The frequency of cleaning your upholstery depends on its usage and exposure to dirt and allergens. However, a general rule is to vacuum your upholstery weekly and deep clean it every 12-24 months.

Can I Use Household Cleaners on My Upholstery?

While some household cleaners may work, using products specifically designed for upholstery is advisable. Using the wrong cleaner could cause damage.

How Do I Handle Delicate Upholstery Fabrics?

Delicate fabrics like silk, wool, or vintage materials may require special care. Always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or hire a professional service to avoid causing damage.

What Is the Best Method to Remove Stains?

Always blot, don’t scrub, and use an appropriate cleaning agent. It’s also crucial to address stains immediately to prevent them from setting.

How Do I Keep My Upholstery Fresh Between Deep Cleans?

Regular vacuuming, spot cleaning, and the use of fabric fresheners can help keep your upholstery fresh and clean between deep cleaning sessions.

Is It Worth Hiring a Professional Upholstery Cleaner?

In many cases, yes. Professionals have the right tools and knowledge to deal with various upholstery types and stains. They often achieve better results and prevent common cleaning mistakes.