What Is the Best Homemade Upholstery Cleaner?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Protecting your upholstery from the occasional stain or spill can be challenging, especially if you live with kids or pets. Removing stains and cleaning your upholstery is easy and doesn’t require much time. The best upholstery cleaner depends on the fabric you need to clean and the type of stain. Keep reading to find the best homemade upholstery cleaner you can use to keep your material spotless!

What Makes an Ideal Upholstery Cleaner?

An ideal upholstery cleaner should contain ingredients that are inexpensive and available. It should also be easy to make and use. A perfect upholstery cleaner should easily clean and lift any stains from the fabric. It also shouldn’t leave a residue on the material and should ideally leave it smelling fresh.

Tips Before You Start Cleaning Your Upholstery

Before you start making your cleaner and applying it to your upholstery, you should consider the following points:

  1. Always test the cleaner on your upholstery. Apply a small amount of the cleaner on a concealed spot and wait for it to dry. This helps you make sure that the cleaner will not damage your upholstery.
  2. You should always check the fabric label for cleaning symbols and instructions, as not all fabrics can handle all kinds of cleaners. For instance, some fabrics should never get wet!
  3. Before using your upholstery cleaner, you should vacuum clean your upholstery to remove any dirt, dust, or food crumbs.
  4. Use a lint roller to remove any debris that wasn’t removed by your vacuum, like human hair and pet hair.
  5. Always start by using a small amount of cleaner on your upholstery, and use more if needed.
  6. Make sure to shake/mix your cleaning solution well before using it on your fabric.
  7. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the cleaners.
  8. You can use an upholstery vacuum cleaner to make the process of cleaning and drying your upholstery easier.
  9. You can add your favorite essential oil to any cleaners to give your upholstery a fresh smell. 

The Best Homemade Upholstery Cleaners

Now that we’ve covered some essentials let’s dive into the best homemade upholstery cleaners and how to use them!

1. The Basic Upholstery Cleaner

This cleaner can be used with most fabrics and can remove most stains. This cleaner has just enough dish detergent to clean your stain without leaving soap residue all over your upholstery. Using too much dish soap will leave your fabric feeling dry and crunchy.

What You’ll Need

  • Three-quarters of a cup of warm water
  • One-quarter of a cup of vinegar
  • One tablespoon of dish soap 
  • A spray bottle
  • Three microfiber cloths

How to Make It

In the spray bottle, mix all the ingredients. Spray the cleaner on your upholstery fabric, focusing on the stains areas. Then, let the solution sit on the fabric.

After a few minutes, rub the fabric with the cloth until all the stains are removed. Afterwards, using a second moist cloth on the entire upholstery would be best to remove the dish soap residue.

Finally, use a dry cloth to dry most of the water from your fabric, and then leave it to dry. Repeat this process as many times as needed to eliminate the stains.

2. The Ink Cleaner

This upholstery cleaner helps to remove most stains, mainly paint and ink stains. The alcohol and vinegar will evaporate as they dry, leaving no residue on your upholstery.

What You’ll Need

  • Three-quarters of a cup of rubbing alcohol
  • Three-quarters of a cup of vinegar
  • A spray bottle
  • A microfiber cloth

How to Make it

Mix the rubbing alcohol and vinegar in the spray bottle. 

Spray the solution onto the stained areas of your upholstery. Let sit for 3–5 minutes, then use the dry microfiber cloth to scrub the stain and remove any excess solution gently. Then, leave the rest of the solution to dry completely.

Repeat this process as necessary until the stain is completely lifted. 

3. The Brightening Upholstery Cleaner

The brightening upholstery cleaner is best for light-colored fabrics, as it will brighten them. The hydrogen peroxide in this cleaner will break down stains, and the dish soap will help lift the stains.

This cleaner is effective and safe to use on most fabrics. 

What You’ll Need

  • One cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution
  • One tablespoon of dish soap
  • A spray bottle
  •  A microfiber cloth
  • A soft bristle brush

How to Make it

Start by mixing the ingredients in the spray bottle. Next, spray the solution onto your upholstery, focusing more on stains. Allow the cleaner to sit on the fabric for five minutes, then rub the areas with stains using a soft brush.

After rubbing the stains, use a microfiber cloth to rub the whole upholstery, and then leave it to dry.

4. The Dry Upholstery Cleaner

This upholstery cleaner is great for fabrics that shouldn’t get wet or can’t handle harsh cleaners. It’s also a fantastic deodorizer and will help to remove any stains on your fabric.

What You’ll Need

  • Around half a cup of baking soda
  • Half a cup of cornstarch
  • A few drops of your favorite essential oil
  • A bowl
  • A spatula
  • A vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment

How to Make it

Mix the baking soda, cornstarch, and essential oil in a bowl with the spatula. After mixing, sprinkle the mixture onto your upholstery and let the powder mix sit for at least two hours on your upholstery.

Then, vacuum the powder to remove it, leaving you with clean furniture that smells great!

5. The Leather Cleaner

The leather cleaner helps to clean and condition your leather upholstery. In the end, you’ll be left with shiny, soft leather.

What You’ll Need

  • Half a cup of olive oil or linseed oil
  • A quarter of a cup of vinegar
  • A spray bottle
  • Two microfiber towels

How to Make it

In the spray bottle, mix the oil and vinegar. After preparing the cleaning solution, spray small amounts on your leather upholstery and rub the solution in a circular motion using the microfiber cloth. 

Using a dry microfiber towel, buff the surface of your leather upholstery. This will leave you with clean, shiny, and conditioned leather!

6. The Dishwasher Capsule Cleaner

Dishwasher capsules contain a relatively non-foaming solid detergent. This cleaner is probably the most straightforward upholstery cleaner to make. It works well to clean and remove stains from furniture fabrics.

What You’ll Need

  • Dishwasher capsule
  • Boiling water
  • A bowl
  • A microfiber cloth
  • A pot lid

How to Make it

  • First, add the dishwasher capsule to the bowl and pour the boiling water over it. After the capsule dissolves, soak the microfiber cloth in the solution.
  • Next, wrap the cloth on the bottom side of a pot lid, and use the pot lid handle to rub your upholstery, focusing on the stains.
  • After cleaning, leave to dry completely. 


Cleaning your upholstery may feel like an overwhelming task, but in reality, it is easy. It’s hard to pick a winner in the battle for the best homemade upholstery cleaner because each cleaner works best when used on the correct type of fabric. Ultimately, the trick is to use the correct type of cleaner on the suitable fabric and stain. 

About Emily Leake

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