All-Natural Upholstery Cleaner

By Lara DeHaven

Some friends of ours generously gave us a couch and love seat set.  The colors and the floral pattern on the fabric looks great in our home.  The couch is very comfortable.  The set definitely looks better and feels better than the couch we used before.

This couch looked like the top cushion. Now the bottom cushion looks like the matching love seat.

Once we removed the other couch and set these up in our living room, I noticed in our light that one couch was used more than the other.  The love seat appears to be virtually unused.  On the other hand, the long  couch seems to be the preferred seating in the other house.  The fabric appeared discolored.  It looked gray instead of the creamy yellow color of the love seat.

Upon closer examination, I determined that the couch was just dirty.  The cushions and arm rests were discolored by dirt and grime.  I wondered what to do.

Like most Americans these days, I googled “the best way to clean upholstery.”  I was not necessarily seeking an all-natural way, but an effective way.  In our house the difference between the two couches was completely noticeable.  I had to do something if I was going to keep this gift.  Seeing how we had already given away our old couch, the pressure was on.

I read information from several different sites.  The very first site described how to make your own spray cleaner, but it used ammonia.  I don’t have ammonia on hand, and I know that it irritates me with its strong odor.  So I modified their recipe making an all-natural and safe upholstery cleaner that works.

I combined 2/3 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of white vinegar.  Then I added 5 cups of warm water and 6 drops of lavender essential oil.  I stirred until the baking soda dissolved and poured it into a spray bottle.

The top of a dirty arm rest.

I began with the arm rest and one cushion.  I sprayed them down and then wiped them down with a white rag.  My rag did not stay white for long.  Both sides of it turned brown.  At least now I knew that the cleaner was removing dirt.  I continued to spray it down and wipe.

My husband remembered that my mother had purchased a steam cleaner years ago.  He retrieved it for me, but the machine for whatever reason would not spray the cleaner.  It will only suck up the liquid.  So, I continued spraying down the cushion and arm rest by hand allowing it to set for about 10 minutes.  Then using the machine, I sucked up the liquid.

The water looked like thin mud at first.  Slowly it began looking more like water.  At this point, I left it alone to completely air dry.  This morning I was so excited by what I saw.  The cushion and arm rest look just like the love seat.  My cleaner worked!

I still have a lot of work to do to restore the last three cushions and one arm rest to its original color, but I am thrilled that I will be able to do accomplish the task.  In addition, the lavender oil gives the couch a nice, fresh scent.  If you have any upholstery to clean or refresh, try my all-natural recipe.  Let me know how it does for you.  For me, you can literally see the difference.

The top of a now clean arm rest.

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10 Responses to “All-Natural Upholstery Cleaner”

  1. […] All-Natural Upholstery Cleaner | Texas Homesteader […]

    #1178
  2. Thanks for sharing this Lara. I’m going to remember it :)

    #1179
  3. Irma

    Laura — did you rinse the upholstery with clear water at the end, or was that unnecessary?

    This sounds like exactly the treatment I need for our family room couch, which used to have a creamy background (before kids and dog!)

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    #1202
  4. Lara DeHaven

    I did not rinse the upholstery, but it would not hurt.
    Lara

    #1208
  5. Wow! What a difference.

    #1230
  6. […] All-Natural Upholstery Cleaner | Texas Homesteader […]

    #1394
  7. I realize I’m late to the party, but I have a question: I do not own a steam cleaner or wet/dry vac to suck up the extra liquid. Do you think I could still do this, but take a little more time with it? Like spraying and wiping, but then letting it air dry, then spraying and wiping again, etc.? I sure don’t want to ruin our couch and loveseat by making them too wet, but they sure do need cleaning!

    And to share: I’m a subscriber of yours, but obviously hadn’t made it this far back in time. So I googled “cleaning couch armrests” and picked one of the first links that wasn’t an ad, and here you are!! I’m glad I found a site that I trust!

    #3899
  8. Lara DeHaven

    Kelly,

    I would be afraid of making your couch too wet. I also think that part of the work the wet/dry vac did was help remove the dirt. I would be leery. If you do decide to try it, definitely try it on a small, more hidden spot. If it works there, then it should work elsewhere.

    Thanks,
    Lara

    #3923
  9. Freida

    I have the exact same fabric on my sofa. An Ex-boyfriend, who lived with me, would come in from working in the yard and sit on the couch. I had the couch cleaned by a professional yesterday, but she said she was afraid to get it any wetter and had gotten most of the dirt out. I was a bit disappointed! This is lovely couch and matches a chair I have. I know it will cost as much to reupholster as to buy a new couch. I think I’m going to try your recipe before I decide to purchase a couch or reupholster it. i certainly hope it works!

    #5243

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