The Dos and Don'ts of Furniture Cleaning

furniture cleaning

Have you invested in a luxurious sofa that's starting to lose its lustre? How can you restore its beauty? 

Will your first step be searching for a furniture cleaning guide, or perhaps considering asking around or scouring the internet for tips and tricks? 

In this guide, we'll explore everything you need to know to keep your beloved furniture looking its best for years to come. 

If you're dealing with upholstered sofas, wooden chairs, or mattresses, proper cleaning techniques are essential for maintaining their appearance and longevity. 

From dos and don'ts to special considerations for different types of furniture, we will cover all of them here. 

So, if you're ready to learn how to tackle stains, spills, and dirt like a pro, let's explore the world of furniture cleaning together!

What is the best way to clean a couch?

man cleaning the couch

Cleaning a couch effectively requires careful consideration of its upholstery type and proper techniques. Here's a general guide:


Begin by thoroughly vacuuming the couch to remove loose dirt, dust, and debris. Utilise a soft brush attachment to prevent damage to the fabric and ensure a gentle yet effective clean.

Spot Cleaning

Address any stains or spills promptly by spot cleaning them with a mild detergent or upholstery cleaner. Before application, conduct a patch test in an inconspicuous area to ensure the cleaner doesn't cause discolouration or damage to the fabric.

Overall Cleaning

For a deeper clean, consider using a steam cleaner specifically designed for upholstery. Follow the manufacturer's instructions meticulously to avoid over-saturating the fabric, which could lead to water stains or damage.


After cleaning, allow the couch to air dry completely before using it again. Avoid sitting on damp fabric to prevent the growth of mould or mildew, which can compromise both the appearance and integrity of the upholstery.


Implement regular maintenance practices to preserve the couch's condition. This includes regularly fluffing and rotating cushions to promote even wear and maintain their shape. Additionally, consider using armrest covers or throws to protect high-contact areas from accumulating dirt and oils.

Consult Manufacturer's Instructions

Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions and any tags attached to the couch for specific cleaning recommendations tailored to its upholstery type. When in doubt or dealing with stubborn stains, seeking the expertise of a professional upholstery cleaner is advisable for safe and effective cleaning.

Following these comprehensive steps can effectively clean your couch and maintain its appearance and longevity for years to come.

While we have a general idea of how to clean a couch effectively, let's explore the dos and don'ts to ensure it stays in good shape for longer use.

The Dos of Furniture Cleaning

When it comes to keeping your furniture looking its best, there are some key things we should do. Let's have a look into the dos of furniture cleaning to ensure we're giving our beloved pieces the care they deserve.

Choose the Right Cleaning Products

Opt for gentle and non-abrasive cleaning products that won't harm your furniture.

Before using any new product, test it on a small, hidden area to make sure it won't cause any damage.

Use Proper Cleaning Techniques

Regularly dust your furniture with soft cloths to remove dirt and debris without scratching the surface.

Vacuum upholstered furniture to lift away dirt and dust, keeping it fresh and clean.

Immediately attend to spill by spot cleaning them to prevent stains from setting in.

Protect and Maintain Wooden Furniture

wooden furniture

Apply furniture polish sparingly to wooden surfaces, avoiding excessive build-up.

Use coasters and mats to protect wood from moisture and scratches, preserving its beauty for longer.

Periodically apply a wood conditioner to keep the wood hydrated and prevent drying and cracking.

Implement Regular Maintenance Practices

Rotate cushions and pillows regularly to ensure even wear and maintain their shape.

Clean and condition leather furniture to prevent drying and cracking, using products specifically designed for leather care.

Keep furniture away from direct sunlight and heat sources to prevent fading and damage.

Following these simple dos of furniture cleaning can actually help keep your pieces looking their best and ensure they last for years to come.

The Don'ts of Furniture Cleaning

Now, let's talk about what we shouldn't do when it comes to cleaning our furniture. Avoiding these common mistakes will help prevent damage and keep your furniture looking great.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Abrasive Materials

Stay away from cleaners that contain harsh chemicals like ammonia and bleach, as they can cause discolouration and damage.

Say no to rough sponges and scrub brushes, which can scratch and mar the surface of your furniture.

Avoid using abrasive cleaning pads or steel wool, as they can leave scratches on surfaces like wood and metal.

Don't Overuse Cleaning Products

Resist the urge to over-saturate upholstery with cleaning solutions, as this can lead to water stains and fabric damage.

Be cautious when using oil-based cleaners on wood, as they can leave behind a greasy residue and attract dust.

Be cautious when using all-purpose cleaners on delicate surfaces, as they may strip away finishes or cause discolouration.

Avoid using too much polish on wooden furniture, as excessive build-up can attract dust and leave a sticky residue.

Don't Skip Regular Maintenance

Don't neglect to dust or vacuum your furniture regularly, as accumulated dirt and debris can lead to premature wear and tear.

Avoid placing hot or wet items directly on wood surfaces, as this can cause heat marks or water damage.

Don't ignore signs of damage or wear, such as loose joints or fraying upholstery, as they can worsen over time if left untreated.

Address stains promptly to prevent them from becoming set-in and more difficult to remove.

Avoiding these don'ts of furniture cleaning can keep your furniture looking beautiful and well-maintained for years to come.

Special Considerations for Different Types of Furniture

Now, let's talk about how to care for specific types of furniture to ensure they stay in tip-top shape for as long as possible.

Upholstered Furniture

Different fabrics necessitate varying care methods, so it's crucial to identify the fabric type of your upholstery. 

Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for tailored guidance on cleaning and maintenance.

For heavily soiled or delicate upholstery, consider professional cleaning services to ensure a thorough and safe cleaning process that preserves the fabric's integrity.

Wooden Furniture

Wood finishes span a spectrum from glossy to matte, necessitating different care approaches. 

Identify the type of finish on your wooden furniture to apply appropriate cleaning and maintenance techniques.

Antique or fine wood pieces require gentle cleaning and preservation techniques to safeguard their value and beauty. 

Avoid harsh cleaners or abrasives that could damage or degrade the wood over time.

Leather Furniture

leather sofa

Leather furniture demands specialised care to maintain its luxurious appearance and longevity. 

Use a mild leather cleaner and conditioner regularly to moisturise the leather and protect it from drying and cracking.

Avoid placing leather furniture in direct sunlight or near heat sources, as this can cause fading and damage to the leather surface.

Metal Furniture

Metal furniture, such as wrought iron or aluminium, benefits from regular cleaning to prevent rust and corrosion. 

Use a mild detergent and water solution to remove dirt and debris, and consider applying a protective coating to prolong its lifespan.

Avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools that could scratch or damage the metal surface, and promptly address any signs of rust to prevent further deterioration.

Considering these specialised care techniques for different types of furniture can help ensure they retain their beauty and functionality for years to come, enhancing the ambiance and comfort of your living space.

What is the best thing to clean furniture with?

The best thing to clean furniture with depends on the type of furniture and the material it's made of. 

In general, a mild detergent mixed with water or a specialised furniture cleaner is safe for most types of furniture. 

Always check the manufacturer's recommendations and test any cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it won't cause damage or discolouration. 

Also, using soft, lint-free cloths or microfiber towels is ideal for wiping down furniture without scratching or leaving residue.

There are times when you might feel unable to tackle the task on your own. In such cases, seeking professional assistance is not only prudent to save you from hassle, but also to prevent any further damage.

However, at times, we find ourselves curious about…

What do professionals use to clean furniture?

Professionals often use a combination of specialised cleaning solutions, professional-grade equipment, and expert techniques to clean furniture effectively. Some common tools and products professionals use include:

Professional Upholstery Cleaners

These specially formulated cleaners are designed to effectively lift dirt and stains from upholstery fabrics without causing any damage. 

They are gentle yet powerful, ensuring thorough cleaning without compromising the integrity of the fabric.

Steam Cleaners

Professional-grade steam cleaners are indispensable for deep cleaning upholstery. 

Using the power of steam, these machines penetrate deep into the fabric, effectively killing bacteria and eliminating embedded dirt and odours. 

Steam cleaning not only cleans but also sanitises, leaving upholstery fresh and hygienic.

Vacuums with Upholstery Attachments

High-powered vacuums equipped with specialised upholstery attachments are essential for removing loose dirt and debris from furniture surfaces. 

These attachments are designed to gently yet effectively lift dirt and dust without causing any damage to the fabric or surface.

Mild Detergents and Solvents

Professionals may utilise mild detergents or solvents specifically formulated for upholstery cleaning to tackle tough stains and spills. 

These products are carefully selected to ensure they effectively remove stains without compromising the colour or texture of the fabric.

Soft-bristled Brushes

Soft-bristled brushes are employed to gently agitate upholstery fabrics, helping to loosen dirt and grime effectively. 

These brushes are designed to be gentle yet effective, ensuring thorough cleaning without causing any damage to the fabric.

Microfiber Cloths

Microfiber cloths are used to wipe down furniture surfaces and remove excess moisture after cleaning. 

These cloths are highly absorbent and soft, making them ideal for gently drying and polishing furniture surfaces without leaving behind any lint or residue.

Overall, professionals have access to specialised tools, products, and expertise that enable them to clean furniture thoroughly and safely, ensuring exceptional results every time.

But we still insist on asking… 

Does professional sofa cleaning work?

The answer is “yes”. 

Professional sofa cleaning can be highly effective. Professional cleaners have the expertise, specialised equipment, and professional-grade cleaning solutions to thoroughly clean sofas and remove dirt, stains, and odours. 

They can often achieve results that are difficult to replicate with DIY methods, especially for heavily soiled or delicate fabrics. 

Professional sofa cleaning can help restore the appearance of your sofa and prolong its lifespan.

Keeping Your Pieces Pristine

Taking care of your furniture is essential for maintaining its beauty and longevity. 

Following the dos and don'ts of furniture cleaning can ensure that your pieces remain in top condition for years to come. 

Remember to choose the right cleaning products, use proper techniques, and address any spills or stains promptly. 

Also, be mindful of special considerations for different types of furniture, such as upholstery and wood. 

And when in doubt, don't hesitate to seek professional assistance to ensure thorough and effective cleaning. 

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the thought of remembering all the dos and don'ts of furniture cleaning, it's perfectly okay to seek help from Cleaning Contractors NI.

Our Upholstery Cleaning service is designed to tackle all your upholstery woes, from stubborn stains and spots to lingering odours and embedded dirt. 

We understand the importance of maintaining the cleanliness and longevity of your favourite furniture pieces, whether it's your cosy sofa or your comforting mattress.

With our top-quality cleaning solutions, we'll breathe new life into your upholstery, leaving it fresh, clean, and ready to be enjoyed once again. 

Say goodbye to DIY remedies that just don't cut it and hello to professional-grade cleaning that gets the job done right the first time.

Our Upholstery Cleaning service offers:

  • Elimination of embedded dirt, stains, and odours
  • Extension of the lifespan of your furniture
  • Eradication of harmful bacteria and bugs
  • Fast drying times, so you can get back to using your upholstery in no time
  • Human and pet-friendly cleaning solutions
  • Safe treatment for all types of upholstery, ensuring no damage to delicate fabrics

At Cleaning Contractors NI, we're committed to delivering exceptional results and exceeding your expectations. 

Our team is highly trained and accredited, with certifications from prestigious organisations like the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and WoolSafe®. 

What more? 

We're the only WoolSafe® approved technicians in Northern Ireland, ensuring that your carpets and rugs maintain their warranty with professional cleaning.

So why wait? Contact us today for a FREE quote and let us help you breathe new life into your upholstery!

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Reliable, flexible and professional cleaning company based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Belfast: The Mount, 2 Woodstock Link, Belfast, BT6 8DD

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