Before you begin, take a moment to find the care instruction tags attached in an inconspicuous place – often hanging from the back or side or underneath a cushion. These tags include the following standardized codes:
W – Clean with a water-based detergent.
S – Use a water-free dry cleaning solvent.
WS – You can use either water-based or dry cleaning solvent.
X – This fabric must be professionally cleaned. You can only vacuum and brush it.
For this project, you’ll need a vacuum with an upholstery attachment, some clean cloths, a horsehair upholstery brush, some gentle clear dishwashing liquid and, depending on the type of stain, some upholstery cleaner. Each of these items can be found at your nearest hardware store or home improvement center.
Connect the upholstery attachment to your vacuum and use it to make horizontal, overlapping strokes all the way down the upholstery. This technique will loosen and remove any dirt, pet hair or other debris that may have been ground in over time.
When you’re finished vacuuming the area, it’s time to follow the application directions on your care instruction tags. Next, mix a half-teaspoon of dishwashing soap into a bucket of warm water. Dip the upholstery brush into the suds—not into the water—lightly sweeping it across the fabric. Do not harshly scrub the area as you can create a water stain on your newly-cleaned sofa. Wipe the fabric down with a damp cloth, then allow it to dry and say hello to an old friend.