Natural tricks for cleaning your upholstery are not only better for the environment, but they're also less likely to damage your fabrics. Before you start cleaning, pay close attention to the symbols on the care instructions (look them up if you have to), and always test a hidden area to make sure your chosen cleaning method won't damage the fabric.
Keep your sofas and chairs looking sharp with some eco-friendly upholstery cleaning options that won't harm your pets, your kids, or your budget.
Baking soda is probably already on your shelf, cost-effective, and excellent at absorbing stains, oils, and odors. To remove a stain, make a paste using equal parts of baking soda and water. Apply it to the stain in a thick layer and let the paste sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum it away and pat the area with a dry cloth. To deodorize your upholstery, sprinkle a layer of baking soda, and let it sit for 30 minutes to absorb light odors or 8 hours to absorb strong odors and oils. Vacuum thoroughly to leave your upholstery smelling fresh and revitalized.
White vinegar is an effective stain remover, especially for coffee, tea, grass, and juice. Vinegar also deodorizes your upholstery and kills bacteria. Make sure you use white vinegar and not white wine vinegar. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spray the stain, and then use a clean microfiber cloth or paper towel to blot the solution until the stain disappears. Repeat as necessary.
To remove sticky stains, such as chewing gum or glue, apply a few drops of lavender essential oil. Use it undiluted and rub it into the stain, then wait about 20 minutes before blotting with a paper towel. After the sticky stain has disappeared, spray the vinegar and water solution mentioned above onto the area and then blot it dry. To deodorize your upholstery, mix one cup of warm water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle. Mist this over your upholstery regularly to keep it smelling fragrant.
If you'd rather buy a premade product, there are many good, natural or natural-leaning options on the market these days that can be used to spot clean upholstery and carpet stains. Many contain no heavy metals, phosphates, or dyes, are biodegradable, and are safe to use around kids and pets when used as directed.
Apply undiluted lemon juice directly to grease stains and let it sit for 10 minutes before blotting it with a microfiber cloth. For rust stains, mix a paste with equal parts cream of tartar and lemon juice; let it sit it on the stain for 30 minutes, vacuum the paste off, and blot the area with a microfiber cloth or paper towel.
Hydrogen peroxide breaks down the compounds in blood. Act fast, if possible, before the blood dries. First, add a little cold water but try not to spread it. Blot the stain to remove most of it. Then add a hydrogen peroxide 6% solution directly to the fabric. Wait 10 minutes and then blot. Repeat this process until the stain is gone.
Pet urine is one of the toughest stains to get rid of due to its lingering, unmistakable odor. The best solution is an enzyme-based cleaner that will break down the bacteria and ammonia in the urine. Blot the area while it is still damp and reapply the cleaner until your upholstery smells clean and the stain is gone.
Mud is a difficult stain to remove. Let it dry first, then use a vacuum or bristle brush to suck up or scrape off as much as possible. Mix one tablespoon of a mild dish soap, such as Dawn, with two cups of cold water and spray or sponge it on. The mixture will lift the mud from the fibers of the upholstery. Blot it carefully with a cloth.
Blueberry, blackberry, or mulberry stains are extremely tough to eliminate unless you know this natural trick. Heat half a cup of milk and carefully pour it on the stain. The milk will dissolve the pigments in the berry juice. Blot and repeat until the stain has disappeared. You’ll then need to remove the milk with hot water so that it doesn’t remain in the fibers of your upholstery. Use a microfiber cloth the soak up the water.
Steam cleaning is a great way to remove dirt, dust, and other debris from fabrics. To steam clean your upholstery, you’ll need to rent or purchase a steam cleaner. Follow the instructions that come with the machine. Once you’ve finished, let the fabric dry completely before using it.