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How To Clean Polyester Upholstery

How To Clean Polyester Upholstery: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you looking for the best techniques on how to clean polyester upholstery? Look no further. Cleaning polyester upholstery can be challenging and tedious, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can have your upholstery looking fresh and clean in no time. In this article we will discuss the necessary tools and products, explain how to spot clean, address problems areas and provide some tips and tricks to help you with any hard to clean areas. So, whatever your upholstery needs, you will be able to put our advice to good use and get your polyester upholstery looking perfect again.

What You Need to Clean Polyester Upholstery

Taking care of upholstered furniture is an important part of keeping it looking great for years to come. Of all the materials used for upholstering furniture, polyester is especially prone to dirt and stains. In this section, we’ll discuss what you need to clean polyester upholstery and how to do it properly. From the supplies you’ll need to the techniques to employ, we’ll make sure you’ve got all the info you need to make your furniture look as good as new.

Tools and Supplies

Before beginning, it’s important to have the right supplies and tools on hand to make your job as easy as possible. Here’s a list of items you’ll need to clean polyester upholstery:

  • Vacuum
  • Cotton cloths or sponges
  • Mild soap (dish soap is fine)
  • Water
  • Towel for drying

A vacuum is a great tool for removing dirt, hair, and dust that can accumulate, as well as dust mites. Thoroughly vacuum the furniture with an upholstery brush to get rid of debris. Then use a cloth or sponge dampened with warm water and a mild soap to clean the entire surface of the furniture. A towel is handy to use for drying off any moisture after cleaning. It is important to remember to never over-wet the furniture as it may cause water damage.

For more stubborn stains, you can use a few household products that may not have been in your list of necessary supplies. You can use white vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, water and mild detergent, and a non-abrasive scrub brush to tackle tough stains. Make sure to always spot-test a small portion of the furniture for colorfastness before using any product.

Optional Products for Specific Issues

If your polyester upholstery has stubborn or specific issues, there are several products available to help. Here is a list of the most popular options for dealing with these areas:

  • Vinegar: A mild acid solution, mix one part white vinegar with four parts lukewarm water. Suitable for treating water-based stains.
  • Stain removers: Dedicated spot remover spray that can be sprayed onto the area and brushed out. Be sure to use a product that is suitable for the fabric.
  • Steam cleaner: Used with an appropriate cleaning solution, this tool can be used for deep cleaning and for removing stubborn stains.
  • Oxiclean: A user-friendly and very effective oxygen-based cleaning powder. Dissolve it in water before using it and make sure to follow the package instructions.
  • Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide: This more natural solution is great for dealing with odors and pet stains. Simply mix 3/4 baking soda to 1/4 hydrogen peroxide and then apply to the affected area.

Depending on the issue, some of these solutions may work better than others. For example, use vinegar to treat water-based stains, steam cleaning for deep cleaning, or Oxiclean for general cleaning. If dealing with pet stains and odors, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are an effective combination. Be sure to test any product on an inconspicuous area before using it, and be mindful of any fading or discoloration of the fabric.

How to Clean Polyester Upholstery

Cleaning a piece of furniture with polyester upholstery doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right tools and easy-to-follow steps, you can have your furniture looking as good as new. Below, you’ll find all the information you need to spot clean stains, treat problem areas, vacuum, and finally, dry the furniture – plus, some handy tips and tricks to help you through the process.


Vacuuming your polyester upholstery is the best way to remove surface dirt, pollen, hair, and other debris that accumulates over time. Always use a soft, brush-attachment vacuum head to protect the fabric from scratches or pulls, and position the vacuum head perpendicular to the fabric to penetrate deep into the fibers. Be sure to cover the entire upholstery, including seams, corners, and edges, for the most thorough clean. You may also want to consider vacuum pressing the fabric afterward to restore its original shape. Depending on the type of polyester, you may want to invest in a handheld steam cleaner, which can help to remove tougher stains. Remember to always pre-test the steamer on an inconspicuous area of the fabric to prevent discoloration.

Spot Cleaning Stains

Polyester upholstery may suffer from occasional spills and stains. If you spot a stain, take care of it right away — the sooner it is treated the better. Depending on the type of stain, you may want to use traditional products or specialty cleaning solutions.

Tools and Materials

  • Clean cloths
  • Cloth towels
  • Vacuum
  • Sponge
  • Liquid detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Castile soap
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Chlorine bleach

Start by blotting up any liquid with a cloth towel, then use a sponge or cloth to apply gentle cleaning solution. Mix one teaspoon liquid detergent, one teaspoon white vinegar, and two cups of warm water. Gently rub the solution on the stain. It may be necessary to use a small brush to remove more stubborn stains.

To remove grease stains, combine two tablespoons of Castile soap and one tablespoon warm water and rub gently. For more difficult stains, mix hydrogen peroxide and a small amount of chlorine bleach to make a paste. To use this solution, apply it directly to the stained area and allow the paste to sit for several minutes before rinsing it away.

Once the deep cleaning is complete, use a clean cloth to wipe the area free of any residual cleaning agents. Vacuum the cleaned area to remove debris and fluff the surface of the upholstery. Finally, let the surface dry thoroughly before using the furniture.

Treating Problem Areas

Polyester upholstery is resilient and can usually be easily cleaned. However, there are times when it may need a bit more attention. The following steps can help resolve more specific issues on polyester upholstery:

  • For mildew or mold, treat with a mixture of one part bleach to two parts water, then rinse with water.
  • If fabric shows signs of sun fading, use a product designed to restore the fabric’s color, or try a fabric protection spray.
  • If the fabric is looking dull or flat, rub with a soft brush or vacuum after washing.
  • If you have removed the stain but are left with an area of discoloration, use a dye-setter that can help restore the fabric to its original color.
  • For tougher dirt and grime, scrubbing with an upholstery cleaner, mixed with warm water, can help break down dirt buildup.

It is important to note that when cleaning any type of upholstery, one should never use harsh cleaning agents or scrub the fabric too harshly. Doing so can damage the fabric and lead to permanent damage. If the care instructions don’t specify otherwise, it is best to use a mild detergent and gentle scrubbing motions. If a stain does not come out after treating and cleaning, it has likely become set in the fabric and can no longer be removed.

Overall Cleaning

Overall cleaning is the process of cleaning the whole piece of furniture. To do this we recommend foam upholstery cleaner with a soft scrub brush. When applying the cleaner, use mild, circular motions and do not use too much cleaner at once to keep from soaking the fabric. Work in small sections to ensure cleaner is not soaked through on one side before it is completely washed on the other.

When cleaning the fabric, it is important to be careful when agitating the fabric to get it clean. Excessive or forceful scrubbing may damage the fabric or even damage the seams. Using a soft, bristled brush is usually the best bet to avoid damage and provide effective cleaning.

The upholstery fabric can also be cleaned with a steam cleaner that uses a handheld steamer wand. This type of cleaner will work to break down some of the dirt, grime, and other material that has become embedded in the fabric over time. A handheld steam wand can even be used in addition to foam cleaner to help bring out a deeper clean.

When the cleaning process is complete, always be sure to vacuum the surface of the fabric to remove any excess cleaner or lint. Avoid using excessive force as this can cause damage.

After cleaning, it is important to allow the fabric to dry completely before setting anything on it or using it to sit on. To speed up the process, open windows, close the curtains and turn on fans to circulate the air, or use a dehumidifier.


After you clean your polyester upholstery, it’s important to dry it completely. Doing so prevents the formation of mildew, so use a fan to speed up the drying process. Set the fan to the lowest setting and place it about a foot away from the furniture to avoid causing any damage. You can also use the air conditioning or open the window to let in a breeze.

It’s especially important to dry water spots as quickly as possible to avoid staining. Keep patting away at these spots as you dry them using a dry towel. Additionally, you may use a hairdryer, set it to warm air and keep it at least eight inches away from the fabric to ensure there’s no excess heat. When drying water spots, it’s important to ensure the spot doesn’t remain damp.

For special areas and fabrics, you may want to avoid using direct heat. If you’d like to speed up the drying time without causing any shrinkage, try using a cooler temperature setting and check your fabric more often. Also, don’t forget to treat the underside of your cushions as well as the fabric that faces upward.

When finished, leave the furniture to air dry for around two hours or until it’s completely dried and free from any remaining moisture. Inspect your furniture afterward to make sure you didn’t miss any areas. Be aware that some fabrics may take longer to dry and may need even more air circulation to take out the moisture. If you’re dealing with polyester upholstery for the first time, these drying tips will help keep your furniture looking its best.

Troubleshooting Tips & Tricks

Troubleshooting techniques are essential when dealing with tricky fabrics such as polyester upholstery. No matter how careful you are, you can run into unexpected problems that need to be handled quickly and effectively. Whether you’re dealing with stubborn stains or hard-to-reach areas, the following tips and tricks will equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to keep your upholstery looking clean and fresh over time.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoiding common mistakes is crucial when it comes to cleaning your polyester upholstery. Here are the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:

  • Using excessive water: Too much water can damage the upholstery fibers and lead to watermarks and water staining, as well as mold and mildew growth. Only use enough water to make the cleaning solution work, and make sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions for how to use the product.
  • Using the wrong cleaning products: It’s easy to damage upholstery with the wrong cleaning product. Many products containing bleach and other harsh chemicals can damage the fibers and even discolor the fabric. If in doubt, test a small area first, and read the label to make sure it’s safe to use on polyester upholstery.
  • Not reading the care tag: Look for care tags on your upholstery, which will give you important information on how to clean the fabric. For instance, some fabrics may not be suitable for machine washing or certain solvents, so it’s important to double-check the care tag before cleaning.
  • Leaving the fabric wet: Leaving upholstery wet can cause water stains, mildew and odor. When you’re done cleaning, make sure to dry the fabric thoroughly using clean, absorbent towels. Also, avoid using a hair dryer or other heating methods as these could damage the fibers.
  • Using too much soap: Too much soap can leave a residue on your upholstery that attracts dirt. Work up a small lather with just a few drops of soap, and make sure to rinse off any excess.

By following these guidelines and avoiding these common mistakes, you can help keep your polyester upholstery looking great for years to come.

Tips for Hard-to-Clean Areas

Cleaning polyester upholstery can be tricky, especially in hard to reach spots. Here are some tips to make it a smoother process:

  • Use a handheld vacuum to get at hard to reach spots between cushions and along seams.
  • To help loosen embedded dirt, use a soft bristled brush to work over the upholstery fabric in small, circular motions.
  • Be sure to check your vacuum brushhead. If the bristles are clogged, take the brush off and clean out any collected dirt or pet hair.
  • For particularly stubborn stains, such as dried mud or food, use a dabbing motion with a damp cloth to remove them rather than rubbing. This will help avoid further spreading the stain.
  • If using a cleaning solution or shampoo, spot-test it on an inconspicuous area of the upholstery first.

In between using the vacuum and the brush, use the crevice attachment of your vacuum on seams, tufts and folds to pull out any trapped dirt. Consider using a steam cleaner on especially padded areas of the upholstery, as it can help loosen dirt and eliminate odors. However, it’s best to check with upholstery-care experts first to make sure that you’re not going to damage the fabric. Finally, look down the sides and backs of furniture, as these areas are often overlooked.

Using Solvents Safely

When it comes to using solvents to clean polyester upholstery, it is important to make sure that you are taking the necessary precautions to handle them safely. Solvents can be hazardous to your health and cause damage to your upholstery if they are not used properly. To ensure your safety and the safety of your fabric, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always read product labels carefully and follow the safety instructions listed.
  • Solvents should never be used on upholstery that has already been treated with a protective coating, such as Scotchgard or fabric-guard.
  • Always wear protective gloves and clothing, such as long sleeves and pants when using solvents.
  • Always use solvents in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.
  • Keep solvents away from any open flame or heat source.
  • Check for colorfastness before you begin to apply any solvent to your upholstery.
  • Never leave a solvent sitting on your upholstery for an extended period of time.
  • Always spot test in an inconspicuous area to make sure that the solvent you are using will not cause damage to the fibers.

By following these tips and taking extra caution when using solvents, you can ensure the safety of yourself, your fabrics, and your upholstery. Solvents can be an effective way to remove tough stains, but if they are not handled with care, they can cause extensive damage.