DIY Furniture Cleaning: What Works and What Doesn’t

Maintaining clean and fresh furniture is essential for the overall appearance and longevity of your cherished pieces. While professional furniture cleaning services are available, many homeowners prefer the convenience and cost-saving benefits of DIY furniture cleaning. However, not all do-it-yourself methods are effective or suitable for every type of furniture. In this article, we will explore what works and what doesn’t when it comes to DIY furniture cleaning. By understanding the proper techniques and avoiding common pitfalls, you can effectively clean your furniture and keep it in optimal condition.

What Works

  1. Regular Dusting and Vacuuming

Regular dusting and vacuuming are fundamental steps in maintaining clean furniture. Dust and debris can accumulate on surfaces and in crevices, affecting the appearance and potentially causing damage over time. Use a soft microfiber cloth or a brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove loose dust and dirt from the furniture. Pay attention to areas that tend to collect more dust, such as corners, seams, and upholstery crevices. Regular dusting and vacuuming help prevent the buildup of dirt and prolong the need for deeper cleaning.

Household cleaning products
  1. Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning is an effective method for addressing small stains or spills on furniture. The key is to act quickly and address the stain before it sets. Blot the affected area with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this can spread it or push it deeper into the fabric. Depending on the type of stain and fabric, you can use mild soap and water, a fabric cleaner recommended by the manufacturer, or a homemade solution (such as a mixture of water and vinegar) to treat the spot. Always test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the furniture first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration. Like the article? Read also about Cleaning carpets from allergies: removing dust mites and pollen.

  1. Upholstery Cleaning with a Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaning can be effective for deep cleaning upholstery and removing embedded dirt and stains. Steam cleaners use hot water vapor to break down dirt particles and sanitize the fabric. It’s important to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the steam cleaner and ensure that it is suitable for the type of fabric you are cleaning. Test the steam cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area of the upholstery first to check for any adverse reactions. Move the steam cleaner in slow, overlapping strokes to ensure thorough cleaning and allow sufficient drying time afterward.

What Doesn’t Work

  1. Using Excessive Water or Cleaning Solutions

Using excessive water or cleaning solutions can lead to damage and discoloration of furniture, particularly for delicate fabrics or wood surfaces. Avoid soaking the furniture or oversaturating the fabric, as this can cause water stains, promote mold or mildew growth, or weaken the wood. Additionally, using strong or harsh cleaning solutions that are not recommended for your furniture can result in discoloration or even damage to the upholstery or finish. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning products and methods specific to your furniture.

  1. Scrubbing or Rubbing Vigorously

Vigorously scrubbing or rubbing furniture can cause more harm than good. Scrubbing too hard can damage the fabric fibers, leave abrasions, or even remove the color or finish. Instead, use gentle, circular motions when spot cleaning and avoid excessive pressure. Patience and a gentle touch are key when it comes to DIY furniture cleaning.

  1. Neglecting Professional Help
Illustration on which the dishes are washed

While DIY furniture cleaning can be effective for routine maintenance, some situations may require the expertise of professional furniture cleaners. For example, deep stains, delicate fabrics, or antique furniture may benefit from the specialized knowledge and equipment that professionals possess. If you are uncertain about the appropriate cleaning method for your furniture or if you encounter stubborn stains that are difficult to remove, it’s best to consult a professional to avoid causing further damage.


DIY furniture cleaning can help you maintain clean and fresh furniture, but it’s essential to understand what works and what doesn’t. Regular dusting and vacuuming, spot cleaning, and upholstery cleaning with a steam cleaner can be effective DIY methods. However, using excessive water or cleaning solutions, scrubbing vigorously, and neglecting professional help are practices to avoid. By following proper techniques and using appropriate cleaning methods for your specific furniture, you can effectively clean and preserve its beauty and lifespan.

For more information on furniture cleaning and maintenance, you can visit the following websites:

  1. Wikipedia – Furniture cleaning
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