Cleaning Tips Your Upholstery Wishes You’d Follow

upholstery cleaning tips, upholstery cleaning codes

How clean is your couch? As one of the most-used pieces in your home, your beloved seat is collecting hair, dust, oils, and grime every time someone pops a squat. Gross, right?

Before you go wild vacuuming your cushions (which you should do monthly anyway), consider doing a deep clean. Below, we share upholstery cleaning tips to revive any soiled seats in your home. Follow these pointers once or twice per year to keep your upholstered furniture looking vibrant and fresh.

How to Vacuum Your Upholstery

Vacuuming is one of the most important upholstery cleaning tips. This removes top-level dirt and grime, keeping it from being further worked into your upholstery when washing.

Most vacuums come with an upholstery tool that has a flat head and sometimes includes brush bristles. You can use this on your couch’s cushions, corners and crevices or use a small hand-held vacuum.

Slow, short strokes work best. Vacuum with caution around button tufting or other special upholstery details. Pay special attention to the arms and back cushions, where oils from your hands and hair accumulate.

If you’re brave enough, check out your dust bag afterward to see what you’ve been sitting on all this time. Now that all surfaces are vacuumed, it’s time to deep clean. Before doing anything else, find your upholstery’s cleaning code.

What are Upholstery Cleaning Codes?

Upholstery cleaning codes tell you which products to use on your fabric. Muster up all your courage and lift up those cushions. Turn a blind eye to the rogue M&M’s and look for a tag. Under your cushions or beneath your furniture, there should be a tag that reads W, S, S/W or X.

Here’s what those upholstery cleaning codes mean:

W: use water-based cleaners only
S: use solvents only, no water-based cleaners
S/W: use a combination of solvent and water-based cleaners (if you’re unsure, stick to a solvent)
X: vacuum only! Don’t use water-based or solvent cleaners. Usually, it’s best to hire a professional cleaner for these uncommon pieces.

Some tags may not include the cleaning code, but they should at least tell you the fabric content. This can be helpful in determining the best cleaning agent.

Can’t find a tag or cleaning code? Don’t hesitate to call us. We can reference your furniture’s upholstery to our in-store swatch collection and find the corresponding code.

Upholstery Cleaning Tips

If you’ve purchased a furniture protection plan, call Guardsman at 1-800-253-3957 before attempting any cleaning. You don’t want to accidentally void your protection plan.

If you don’t have an upholstery protection plan, reference the upholstery cleaning code for instructions. Every fabric requires different care. Some are resilient to strong cleaners while others require a more delicate cleaning process.

Contact your furniture sales specialist, a professional cleaning service or the manufacturer for guidance if you’re unsure about anything.


When cleaning upholstery yourself, spot test any products in a hidden area before using them on more visible spots.

Upholstery protector can be a great investment. Instead of spills absorbing into your fabric, liquids will bead up and easily wipe off. This kind of protection dramatically increases your upholstery’s lifespan.

At Homemakers, we carry Guardsman fabric protector at the front of the store, by our cashier stations. You can also buy Guardsman leather and wood cleaning products at our store. If you can’t make it to our store, call Guardsman to find the nearest place where you can purchase their products.

Daily Spills & Stains

There are bound to be accidents. When minor spills occur on your upholstery, use a dry, clean cloth to blot (not rub) the stain. If you’ve purchased a Guardsman protection plan, call them to request service within 30 days of the stain. They will ask what caused the stain and your plan number, so have that information ready.

If you don’t have a protection plan, you can always call your sales specialist or our customer service department for advice at 1-888-967-7467.

More Cleaning Tips

Curious about maintenance for other furniture? Check out our leather care tips or read our post on how to care for outdoor furniture.

Do you have a genius furniture cleaning tip? Share with us in a comment below!

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