Over the years, your upholstered furniture gets dirty from built-up dust, debris and spills. You can take your upholstered furniture to a professional to clean, but this can be expense. If you want to save some money, you can clean it yourself.

If your upholstery has a care tag, check it for specific cleaning instructions. If there is no tag, clean your upholstered furniture based on the material it is made from. Test any cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area to make sure it won't harm the fabric.

Before you apply the cleaning solution, vacuum your furniture thoroughly to remove any loose debris. Use your vacuum attachment to reach down into all the corners and cracks. Use a slightly damp cloth to remove any solid matter from the fabric.

Cleaning Upholstered Furniture

For most upholstered furniture, you can use a commercial upholstery cleaner or make your own. Follow the mixing and cleaning directions on the bottle exactly. Use warm water, not hot, or you may ruin your fabric. If you want to make your own upholstery cleaner, mix 1 cup of warm water with 1/2 cup liquid dish or laundry soap. Mix vigorously until suds form on top of the liquid. Scoop the suds off and rub them into the fabric with a clean cloth. Scrape off dirty suds with a spatula. Wipe with a wet cloth to rinse. Let the upholstery dry completely before you replace any cushions. Set up a fan to help it dry faster. Use only white wash clothes on your upholstery so there is no chance that the color in the wash cloth will bleed onto your furniture.

Cleaning Leather Furniture

If you have leather furniture, you will need to take more care because too much water and many cleaning products can damage the leather. Vacuum the leather furniture thoroughly; if your vacuum's suction is too strong, use a smaller vacuum so you don't leave a mark. Use a cleaning product designed specifically for leather. You can also make your own leather cleaning solution by putting a few drops of moisturizing soap, such as Dove, on a slightly damp washcloth. Wipe the cloth over the leather gently. Wipe the suds off with another damp cloth and buff the area dry.

Maintaining Upholstered Furniture

You can keep your upholstered furniture clean by vacuuming it regularly to remove any dust. Treat spills immediately so that they don't stain. You can also use a slipcover to make your upholstery cleaning easier. Most slipcovers are machine washable, so you can just take them off and throw them in the laundry.