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How do you clean upholstery?

By Jeff Frank

“How do I clean my sofa (or chair?) is an extremely common question.

The answer depends on what type of fabric you have and whether your problem is “dirt” or a specific type of stain.

Fabric mills and upholstered furniture manufacturers often supply cleaning codes to specify a general cleaning method.

  • W stands for water-based cleaners (such as upholstery shampoo)
  • S is for non-water-based solvents.
  • WS means either is OK.
  • X means that there is no recommended cleaning method. (Silk and embroidered fabrics usually fall into this category.)

These codes were developed long ago, before the introduction of the internet, at a time when information was not as easily available.

There is now a much better way to determine how to clean upholstery.

  1. Go to Google (or any other search engine.)
  2. Search for how to clean your specific type of stain from your specific type of fabric.

For example, when I googled “What is the best way to clean vomit from a microfiber sofa?” I came up with the following responses on the first page:

The internet will almost always provide you with excellent and specific advice on how to clean almost any combination of stain and fabric.

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