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Natural Homemade Upholstery Cleaner: DIY Spray

  • 12 min read

Upholstery cleaner doesn’t need to be expensive.  You can make your own homemade upholstery cleaner that is much less expensive than in stores and can be just as effective.

You really only need a few ingredients for homemade upholstery cleaner like, vinegar, baking soda and dish soap. Find out more about this natural cleaner and gain the knowledge you need to tackle those stubborn stains and refresh your furniture with ease!

In a Nutshell

  • Choose a homemade upholstery cleaner that’s right for your fabric type & cleaning code.
  • Make DIY cleaners with essential ingredients like vinegar, baking soda & dish soap.
  • Follow pre/post cleaning steps to effectively use the cleaner and prevent discoloration/damage.

Choosing the Right Homemade Upholstery Cleaner

A person cleaning upholstery with a homemade upholstery cleaner

We all want our furniture to look fresh and clean, but finding the right homemade upholstery cleaner can be a challenge. The secret lies in taking into account the fabric type, cleaning codes, and stain severity when considering stain removal methods.

Homemade upholstery cleaners offer numerous benefits. For instance, they are typically made from readily available household items, making them cost-effective and eco-friendly. Plus, they can be quite effective in tackling tough stains. In this guide, we will explore various recipes for homemade cleaners, such as the Best Brightening Upholstery Cleaner and the Best Dry Upholstery Cleaner.

Fabric Types and Cleaning Codes

Before diving into homemade upholstery cleaners, it’s crucial to understand the different fabric types and their corresponding cleaning codes. These labels, found on upholstery fabric, indicate the appropriate cleaning method to use, ensuring that your furniture remains in impeccable condition.

For instance, you might come across cleaning codes such as “S” (dry clean only), “W” (clean with water-based cleaners), or “X” (clean by vacuuming or brushing gently). It’s essential to follow these guidelines and avoid cleaners that may damage your upholstery.

For example, when cleaning “W”-labeled fabrics, be cautious not to overload the fabric with water, as it may result in water stains.

Stain Severity

It’s not just about the fabric and cleaning codes; the severity of the stain also plays a role in determining the right homemade upholstery cleaner. Stain severity refers to how deep a stain has penetrated the fabric or surface. The longer a stain sits on the fabric, the harder it becomes to remove.

As a result, you may need to call in a professional upholstery cleaner for particularly stubborn stains. However, many people have reported success using homemade cleaners for stain removal, even on tough stains.

Essential Ingredients for DIY Upholstery Cleaners

Now that we’ve covered the importance of choosing the right cleaner, it’s time to discuss the essential ingredients for DIY upholstery cleaners. Three common ingredients in homemade cleaners are distilled white vinegar, castile liquid soap, and warm water. The solution works by decreasing surface tension on stains, making them easier to remove.

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Some other handy ingredients to have on standby include hydrogen peroxide, which can break down stains on upholstery, and dishwashing liquid, which acts as a surfactant to help get rid of stains on fabric.

In this section, we’ll dive deeper into the benefits and uses of vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap in homemade upholstery cleaners.


Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent made from fermented alcohol, boasting an acidic kick and antibacterial properties. Using vinegar as an upholstery cleaner can help freshen up your furniture and eliminate bacteria, but be cautious not to use it on soft fabrics.

One recipe that utilizes vinegar is Upholstery Cleaner #5, which combines a tablespoon of white vinegar with two-thirds of a cup of rubbing alcohol. This versatile cleaner can help tackle various stains, making it a valuable addition to your cleaning arsenal.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another powerful ingredient in DIY upholstery cleaners. It serves as a natural solution for eliminating odors and absorbing moisture from upholstery. Additionally, when mixed with water to form a paste, baking soda can effectively remove stains.

Another baking soda-based cleaner is Upholstery Cleaner #6, which consists of half a cup of baking soda, half a cup of cornstarch, and a bit of water. This cleaner is ideal for light cleaning and suitable for fabrics that shouldn’t get too wet.

Dish Soap

Dish soap plays a crucial role in homemade upholstery cleaners, acting as a surfactant to help remove stains on fabric. Castile liquid soap is an excellent choice for homemade upholstery cleaners, but other concentrated dish soaps, such as Dawn Ultra or even laundry detergent, can also be used to achieve similar results.

Dishwashing liquid works by reducing the surface tension of stains, making them easier to remove. Combining dish soap with other ingredients, like hydrogen peroxide, can create a simple yet effective cleaner to dissolve stubborn stains on upholstery.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Own Upholstery Cleaner

Armed with the knowledge of essential ingredients and their benefits, it’s time to create your own homemade upholstery cleaner. In this section, we’ll provide a detailed guide on making cleaners for various upholstery types, including fabric and faux leather, microfiber and synthetic, and leather upholstery.

Each type of upholstery requires a slightly different approach and ingredients, but all can benefit from the power of homemade cleaners. With a little patience and persistence, you can effectively clean and refresh your furniture using these DIY solutions.

Fabric and Faux Leather Upholstery Cleaner

For fabric and faux leather upholstery, a simple homemade cleaner can be made by combining half a cup of distilled white vinegar, a teaspoon of castile liquid soap, and a cup of warm water in a spray bottle. This cleaning solution is suitable for various fabrics, such as cotton, linen, and blended fibers, as well as vinyl or faux leather upholstery.

When using this homemade cleaner, make sure to test it on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration. Apply the cleaner gently to avoid pilling or other damage to the fabric.

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Microfiber and Synthetic Upholstery Cleaner

For microfiber and synthetic upholstery, a DIY cleaner can be created using a solvent-based cleaner for microfiber and a blend of warm water and gentle dish soap for synthetic upholstery. Depending on the cleaning code of your upholstery, you may need to use suds made with dishwashing liquid for “W” or “W-S” tags, or isopropyl alcohol for “S” tags.

Always test the cleaner on a hidden area of the fabric first, and remember to follow the recommendations for the specific cleaning code to ensure the best results without causing any damage.

Leather Upholstery Cleaner

When it comes to leather upholstery, a homemade cleaner and conditioner can be made by mixing half a cup of olive oil and a quarter cup of distilled white vinegar. Olive oil helps keep the leather soft and supple, while vinegar acts as a natural cleaner.

Apply the homemade cleaner to a microfiber cleaning cloth and gently wipe the leather surface. Clean the surface with a damp cloth. Buff it with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any streaks and restore the shine. Be sure to test the cleaner on a small, hidden spot before applying it to the entire piece of furniture.

How to Use Homemade Upholstery Cleaners Effectively

Now that you know how to make your own upholstery cleaner, it’s time to learn how to use it effectively. Properly applying and cleaning with homemade cleaners can make a significant difference in the appearance and longevity of your furniture.

In this section, we’ll explore the pre-cleaning steps, application and cleaning process, and post-cleaning tips to ensure you get the best results with your homemade upholstery cleaner.

Pre-cleaning Steps

Before using any homemade upholstery cleaner, it’s essential to take some pre-cleaning steps. First, vacuum the upholstery to remove any loose dirt or debris. This will make the cleaning process more effective and prevent dirt from getting further embedded into the fabric.

Next, sprinkle baking soda on the upholstery to help eliminate odors and absorb moisture. Finally, always perform a spot test on an inconspicuous area of the fabric to ensure the cleaner won’t cause any damage or discoloration.

Application and Cleaning Process

When applying your DIY upholstery cleaner, follow these steps:

  1. Shake the mixture to ensure all the ingredients are well combined.
  2. Begin with a small area and lightly spray the cleaner onto the fabric.
  3. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe down the fabric to remove dirt.
  4. Gently scrub any heavily stained spots.

For more challenging stains, you may need to apply additional cleaner and scrub with a soft brush. Remember to rinse the brush in plain water and shake it off periodically to prevent the fabric from getting too wet during cleaning.

Always follow the specific cleaning recommendations for your upholstery’s cleaning code to avoid any damage.

Post-cleaning Tips

After cleaning your upholstery with a homemade cleaner, it’s crucial to allow the fabric to dry out completely. You can speed up the drying process by using a fan or opening windows to circulate air. Avoid using the furniture until it’s completely dry to prevent any damage or stains.

Once the upholstery is dry, vacuum it or use an upholstery brush to fluff up any matted fibers. Regular cleaning and maintenance will help keep your furniture looking fresh and prolong its lifespan.

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Troubleshooting Common Upholstery Cleaning Issues

Even with the best homemade upholstery cleaners, you may still encounter some common cleaning issues. In this section, we’ll address these challenges and provide solutions for dealing with stubborn stains, safely cleaning delicate fabrics, and preventing discoloration and damage.

By understanding these common issues and how to troubleshoot them, you’ll be better equipped to tackle any cleaning challenges that may arise, ensuring your furniture remains in excellent condition.

Dealing with Stubborn Stains

Stubborn stains can be a headache, but with the right techniques and some patience, they can be conquered. For tough stains, try scrubbing with a soft brush or using a stain remover designed specifically for upholstery.

If you’re still struggling with a persistent stain, consider calling in a professional upholstery cleaner. They have access to specialized equipment and techniques that can help remove even the most challenging stains.

Safely Cleaning Delicate Fabrics

Delicate fabrics require special care to avoid damage during the cleaning process. Always check the fabric label for cleaning instructions and test a small, hidden area with a mild detergent and water before proceeding.

When cleaning delicate fabrics, opt for mild detergents or specialized upholstery cleaners, and avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners. By following these precautions, you can safely clean delicate fabrics without causing any damage.

Preventing Discoloration and Damage

To prevent discoloration and damage when using homemade upholstery cleaners, always follow the specific cleaning recommendations for your upholstery’s cleaning code. Additionally, vacuum your upholstery regularly to remove dirt and dust that can contribute to a dingy appearance or cause damage.

Protect your upholstery from direct sunlight by hanging heavy drapes or moving the furniture, such as dining room chairs, into the shade. This will help prevent fading and maintain the vibrant colors of your fabrics.

Circling Back Around

Homemade upholstery cleaners offer an effective, eco-friendly, and budget-friendly solution to maintaining the appearance and longevity of your furniture. By understanding the importance of choosing the right cleaner, using essential ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap, and following proper application techniques, you can tackle even the most stubborn stains and keep your furniture looking fresh and clean. So why not give homemade upholstery cleaners a try and experience the benefits for yourself?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best homemade upholstery cleaner?

For the best homemade upholstery cleaner, mix equal parts white vinegar and isopropyl alcohol and spray onto a stain. Let it soak in for 1-2 minutes, then apply baking soda if odors persist before vacuuming.

Can you use Dawn to clean upholstery?

Yes, you can use Dawn to clean upholstery – just mix it with hydrogen peroxide and spray on the upholstery, let sit for a minute or two, lightly scrub with a microfiber cloth, and allow to dry for about 24 hours.

How do you clean upholstery on a couch naturally?

Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a bucket, dampen a microfiber cloth with the solution, then wipe the couch and rinse the cloth.

Finally, dry the couch off with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.

What are the benefits of using homemade upholstery cleaners?

Using homemade upholstery cleaners can save you money, help the environment, and tackle tough stains with ease.

Making your own upholstery cleaner is a great way to save money and reduce your environmental impact. It’s also an effective way to tackle tough stains that store-bought cleaners can’t handle.

How can I choose the right homemade upholstery cleaner?

When choosing the right homemade upholstery cleaner for your needs, factor in the type of fabric, cleaning codes and severity of the stain.

These three elements will help you determine the best cleaning solution for your furniture. Consider the fabric type, such as cotton, wool, or synthetic. Different fabrics require different cleaning solutions.

Cleaning codes are also important.

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