Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Watch The Design Tourist Airing on

How to Clean Upholstered Furniture

Don’t let stains fester on your couch or chair—they’re unsightly. Learn how to clean upholstered furniture so that it will stay lovely for years to come.

You’ve finally decorated your parlor in a beautiful Victorian style. You found the perfect end tables and lamps at an antique store and refurbished them yourself. You found a vintage oval-shaped mirror to give the room the perfect level of depth, making it look bigger, but not cavernous. You got the love seat and chairs from an estate sale for a steal, which allowed you to professionally reupholster them in the perfect colors and patterns to complement the room. It’s perfect. Everything is perfect. Then your best friend comes over and dumps an entire glass of merlot on your newly upholstered love seat like they’re sitting on a futon in the basement! Fortunately, there are some failsafe ways to clean that stain. Learn how to clean upholstered furniture (and remain friends with your clumsy pal).

Don’t Panic!

Interior of modern living room with sofa and furniture 3D rendering
Interior of modern living room with sofa and furniture 3 D rendering

After all that hard work, we understand why you’d panic and start rushing around—but don’t. The stain will not set in instantly. As long as the spot is still wet, there’s still hope that it will come out. There are a few things you can do right away to set yourself up for success in slaying this stain:

  1. Calmly gather your cleaning supplies from around the house while you gracefully stride past your friend, glaring at them the entire time if you so desire.
  2. Check your upholstery for a cleaning code. Since you just reupholstered your love seat and chair set, you may find this information underneath the furniture. Otherwise, you can usually find cleaning codes on cushion or pillow tags. We’re sure you can come up with a creative way to find these cleaning codes while maintaining your dignity.

Remember: you’ll get the stain out, no matter what. Don’t let any naysayers tell you your work is of poor quality—you know what you did and how hard you worked at it. You are the stain slayer, and no one can take that away from you.

The White Wine Method

White wine
Wine. Glass of white wine in wine cellar. Old white wine on wood.

What better way to solve a wine-related problem than with more wine? Pour a glass for yourself first to steady your hands and suppress the rage, and then get to work. All you need is some white wine and baking soda. Gently pour enough white wine to cover the stained area and penetrate the cushion. Be careful not to add too much and soak the area. Let the wine sit for a few minutes; then, blot the liquid with a clean cloth. If the stain is still there, add some baking soda to the area—that will lift the red stain. Blot until it’s gone.

The Hydrogen Peroxide Attack

The beauty of these cleaning methods is that you likely already have these items in your house—you don’t have to run out and buy a bunch of stuff. Look in your pantry or medicine cabinet, and there they are, waiting to save the day. If this method for how to clean your upholstered furniture doesn’t work, try the hydrogen peroxide method, which involves hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. First, do a small test patch on the furniture in an area that isn’t as visible. This will tell you if the colors in the fabric will run or fade when the peroxide hits them. Put the peroxide in a spray bottle and cover the stained area with the peroxide. Next, sprinkle the baking soda on top of the spot and let it sit for about five minutes. Then, rinse it with cold water. Repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.


Picture of Contributor Post

Contributor Post

Share the post on social media


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for the latest travel news and insider tips

Latest blog posts

Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

NATJA Gold Award

NATJA Bronze Award