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July 14, 2021

DIY Green Upholstery Cleaning- Is it Possible?

We surround ourselves with many objects as we want to feel the most comfortable in our homes. From curtains that keep the sunlight away to carpets that keep our feet warm, there are so many decorative items that make us feel cosy in our most intimate space. Upholstery is yet another element that is both decorative and functional. The sofa is probably the most used piece of furniture, and it gets dirty more often than other things. Bed bugs, dust mites, stains, and dirt accumulate in time and cleaning the sofa becomes necessary.

Regular cleaning is much needed, but you don't want to use commercial detergents all the time—they can cause health issues. Any now and then, you should call the professionals for upholstery cleaning. Sil All Services offers many deep cleaning services in Northampton, such as the end of tenancy cleaning, one-off cleans, after builders cleaning, after party cleaning, move-in/out cleaning, spring cleaning, etc. Upholstery cleaning is one of the chores on the checklists we use for such services. Until our professionals come in, you could try to revive the colours in your upholstery with DIY cleaning methods. Look for green solutions as they're less harsh on the fibres and not harmful to your health.

Read also: 22 amazing cleaning hacks from the professionals

What do you need for DIY green upholstery cleaning?

You only need a couple of items from your pantry to make upholstery cleaners for your pieces, regardless of the fabrics they're made of. Here's what you will need:


  • Spray bottles
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Electric hand mixer/whisk
  • Large mixing bowls or buckets
  • Vacuum with upholstery attachments
  • Label maker, permanent marker, and masking tape
  • Soft-bristled scrub brush


  • Baking soda
  • Castile liquid soap
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Dishwashing liquid

See also: 12 Ways to Keep Your Mattress In Good Shape

Before You Begin

The most crucial step to take when cleaning the upholstery on your own is to identify the fibre content of the fabric and the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning. Certain materials don't take water-based cleaners, so you need to be careful. Look for the tag on your upholstery to see what fabric has been used for it.

  • Code S: You can only use dry cleaning or water-free solvent to remove soils and stains
  • Code W: You can use water-based cleaning solvents
  • Code W-S: You can either use water-based or solvent-based products
  • CodeX: Don't use any cleaning agent. Hire professionals for upholstery cleaning. At Sil All Services Northampton, our cleaners are experienced and know which products and methods to use to leave your upholstery fresh smelling and sparklingly clean.

If your piece of upholstery doesn't have a tag, you should test it in an inconspicuous area to check out how the fabric reacts with the water-based cleaner.

One of the essential tips for DIY green upholstery cleaning is to never over-saturate it with moisture. If you use too much water, mould might grow, and it's almost impossible to remove it from your upholstery.


When you don't want to clean the upholstery, but only to freshen it up a bit, you can sprinkle some baking soda over it. Cover the fabric about one-quarter inch deep. Let it sit on the surface for eight hours and vacuum it afterwards. The upholstery will look bright and smell fresh as the baking soda absorbs the oils and odours.

Remove all the dust

Many people don't realize that dust can be quite harmful to health and well-being, especially for children and people with allergies. Dust and small dirt particles can lead to numerous respiratory problems, such as breathing difficulties, irritations, and even asthma. Cleaning the upholstery should always begin with vacuuming. However, you don't just go ahead and vacuum the sofa. You start with breaking out the vacuum's hose attachments.

When you vacuum a sofa, you have to put the pillows aside and clean underneath them as well. Go over every side of the cushions, the back, and arms of the sofa before you put the pillows back in place. You should be meticulous and never skip vacuuming with upholstery cleaning.

How to DIY green clean upholstery

As pieces of upholstery are made with various materials, they need different green cleaning products. Details come next.

Fabric and faux leather upholstery

You can use the cleaning solution for linen, cotton, and blended fibre upholstery. The solution works to clean faux leather and vinyl upholstery as well.

What’s in it

Combine one-half cup distilled white vinegar, one cup of warm water, and one teaspoon Castile liquid soap. Label the bottle, especially if you plan on using it later in the feature.

How to use it

After vacuuming the upholstery, spritz on the cleaner, starting at the top. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the fabric, and scrub the stained areas gently.

Rinsing and drying

Dampen another microfiber cloth with some clean water and wipe down to "rinse" the fabric. Let your upholstery air dry.

Microfiber and Synthetic Upholstery

You can safely use water-based cleaners on some synthetic fibres. Synthetic fibres labelled with W or W-S tag take on suds made with dishwashing liquid. You can use rubbing alcohol to clean S-tag fabrics.

What’s in it

Pour four cups of warm water into a large bowl or bucket. Add one-fourth cup dishwashing liquid and use a whisk/electric hand mixer to obtain the soapy suds.

How to use it

You have to dip the soft-bristled scrubbing brush only in the soap suds. Begin at the top of your upholstery and spread the suds evenly. Rinse the brush in clean water from time to time and make sure it’s as dry as possible.

Rinsing and drying

After you clean a section, dampen a microfiber cleaning cloth with some water and wipe down the cleaned area. Let the fabric air-dry entirely. You can fluff the fibres later on with a vacuum or upholstery brush.

Cleaning Solution for S Tag Fabrics

For Stag fabrics, you only need some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Remember always to label it.


Never use rubbing alcohol/dry cleaning solvents close to open flames. Always open the windows or turn the fans on to ensure efficient ventilation.

How to use it

Spritz the fabric from the top of a section. When the fabric is damp with rubbing alcohol, you can remove the soil with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse the brush very often with plain water and remove as much water as you can before cleaning.


You let the upholstery air-dry and use a vacuum/upholstery brush to lift the matted fibres.

Leather Upholstery

Even if the following DIY green solution is efficient, you should never use it on natural suede leather upholstery. Ask the professionals such as those at Sil All Services Northampton to clean suede leather upholstery. Should the leather upholstery be filthy, you need to use saddle soap and some water to remove the heavy soil before applying the DIY green cleaning solution.

What’s in it

Add one-half cup olive oil and one-fourth cup distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Don’t forget to label the bottle.

How to use it

Shake the spray bottler so that the ingredients mix. Work in small areas, and spray the leather upholstery lightly. Remove the soil with a microfiber cloth. Use another one to buff the cleaned area; it’s an important step to restore the shire and remove any streak. The olive oil in the mixture will make the leather supple and soft.

Essential oils for a fresh smell

Even if ingredients such as rubbing alcohol and white vinegar remove stains, they have a specific odour that isn't very pleasant. After a couple of days, the two smells will fade away, together with the funky smells. However, you can add few essential oils to the DIY upholstery cleaner.

Citrus oils are unique because they smell fresh and have disinfecting abilities. For a citrus smell on your upholstery, lemon or orange are always excellent. Add lavender essential oils if you look for a calming feel. Lemongrass and rosemary are also very pleasant.

Do you need professionals’ help?

Sil All Services Northampton includes upholstery cleaning with deep cleaning services of all kinds. We come for the end of tenancy cleaning, deep cleaning, spring cleaning, move-in/out cleaning, after builders cleaning, after party cleaning, etc. Please call for further information and get your free quote for the job.

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