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Upholstery Cleaners From Scratch

Does someone in your family have bad allergies that seem to get worse when they’re indoors? It’s possible that you have irritants such as dust mites trapped in your upholstery and it’s triggering their reaction!

Unfortunately, upholstery is a natural accumulator of these microscopic creatures, especially if you’re not giving everything a good cleaning every few months. Plus, we all know that areas like the sofa end up riddled with stains and trapped odors that aren’t pleasant to see and smell.

Now and then, you should bring in professional home cleaners to perform a deep clean. Homemade upholstery cleaner, in the meantime, will provide a nice touch-up to freshen your upholstery.

Read on to learn more about a few DIY upholstery cleaning tips!

Start with a Vacuum

Before you start scrubbing with your homemade upholstery cleaner, it’s important to break out your vacuum’s hose attachment. Sprays and pastes will help to shampoo the fibers and break up various oils and other substances that cause stains and odors. However, they won’t help you lift the dust and grime lying just beneath the surface.

When vacuuming your upholstered armchairs and sofas, be sure to remove the cushions and vacuum below them. Then, vacuum each side of the cushions as well as the back and arms of the furniture before replacing the cushions. If you skip this step, all of your scrubbings may just grind the dust further into the furniture!

Make a Homemade Upholstery Cleaner 

Once vacuumed, it’s time to mix up your cleaner! We’ve got a few different methods you can utilize with basic household staples like white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and more.

Keep in mind that whenever you’re trying out a new cleaner, you should always spot test it on a portion of the upholstery that is out of sight. (Consider the bottom of a cushion.) That way, you can make sure that the solution you’re using doesn’t affect the color or material before applying it to the rest of the furniture.

As a bonus, these methods will also work well on carpeting and drapes in addition to upholstery! 

The Rubbing Alcohol Mix

For this solution, you’re going to need rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, and clean water. We suggest mixing it in a spray bottle for easy application.

Mix 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and about 1 cup of water. Make sure to give it a good shake before applying it to your upholstery.

If you’re dealing with tough stains, you can add a little less water to your mixture. If the fabrics in question are delicate, you can add more water to dilute the solution.

Spray your upholstery with the solution and let it rest for about two minutes. Then, use a microfiber cloth and scrub in a circular motion. Allow the upholstery to air dry.

The Laundry Detergent Mix

If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol on hand, we’ve got another solution that involves an ingredient you almost definitely have at home: laundry detergent! This particular solution works best if mixed in a bowl rather than a spray bottle.

Mix 2 tablespoons of laundry detergent with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of baking soda, and 2 cups of warm water. If you don’t have baking soda, that’s okay, although baking soda does a great job of neutralizing odors!

Dip your microfiber cloth directly into the solution and rub it into your upholstery in a circular motion. Allow the upholstery to air dry.

Baking Soda Paste for Tough Stains

If you’re dealing with some deep, dark stains, try treating your upholstery with a baking soda paste.

To create your paste get 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl; add a few teaspoons of water to the bowl and mix everything. Continue to add more teaspoons of water as needed until you have a thick but spreadable paste.

Baking soda is an all-around miracle cleaner because it is a mild alkali that gets into grease and grime and breaks down those molecules. For your baking soda paste to be the most effective, apply a generous amount to upholstery stains and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then, start scrubbing it into the area with your microfiber cloth.

To remove the paste, you can use either of the above solutions and clean as instructed. Then, let the upholstery air dry.

Essential Oils That Will Add a Fresh Smell

Ingredients like rubbing alcohol and white vinegar have an odor of their own that you may not find favorable. It’s worth noting that after a few days, both of these scents will dissipate, taking any funky smells with them. However, there are a few essential oils that you can add to your DIY upholstery cleaner that will give it a great smell from the beginning. 

Citrus oils are always a great go-to because they smell fresh and possess their disinfecting abilities. We recommend lemon or orange if you prefer a citrus smell.

If you prefer something soothing, consider using lavender essential oils. Rosemary or lemongrass will also make a great addition to your upholstery cleaner.