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Upholstery Cleaning 101: The Non-Toxic Way

Upholstery Cleaning 101: The Non-Toxic Way

When I bought a couch a few years ago, I refused the stain guard because I knew that the chemicals involved harmed the ozone layer of the earth, and if they did that, what would they do to me and my family?

But, of course, real life isn’t perfect, and our couches get very hard work as a first rate r&r destination for kids, dogs, and watching movies with snacks.

Here are the five techniques I use to keep my couch clean and even remove stains, in a safe, nontoxic way:

1. Whipped Detergent
I like the foamy aspect of this formula so much, it is always my first
choice. The whipped detergent disperses the cleaning agent around so
that no part of the upholstery gets it too thickly. I like to dip a
gentle brush into this formula, scrub the upholstery, and then rinse
using the brush.

Equal amounts of water and liquid detergent (note to never use laundry
detergent)

Mix with a hand mixer until frothy. Scoop the froth onto a sponge, brush, or rag, and scrub into the stains. Rinse.

2. Vacuum and Softly Brush Weekly
As much as I resist this step, it is important to vacuum the cushions
and backs every week. Use a soft brush to remove loose soil.

3. Water Cleaner

Use cool water for nongreasy soil. Note that heat sets most stains, but
that you need warm or hot water for greasy stains. Just use sparingly.

4. Shampoo Cleaner
Mix with water and agitate. Dab onto a sponge or brush, and use on greasy stains.

5. 3 Percent Hydrogen Peroxide

Dab on stain, don’t rinse. Repeat until stain is gone. (Spot test.)

Read more: Home, Non-Toxic Cleaning

By Annie B. Bond

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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39 comments

+ add your own
4:36AM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

Amazing work pals, I really enjoy reading your interesting blogs. cheap duvet covers

4:34AM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

Amazing work pals, I really enjoy reading your interesting blogs. cheap duvet covers

7:02AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

In case anyone else is looking for more upholstery cleaner recipes, tips and tricks: Upholstery Cleaners 101 Cheers!

1:46AM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Do you think I can apply the same cleaning techniques to my mesh and upholstered chairs? I just want to make sure my favorite Aeron Chairs are as clean as they can be! I want them to last a lifetime!

2:12PM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

I am suprised you didn't mention Genesis 950 in this article. It is by far the BEST stain remover and cleaner I have ever used on carpet and furniture. I use it to clean up pet stains and it also removes the odor. In addition, I it has cleaned up A1 Steak Sauce Stains, Paint Stains, Nail Polish, Ink, Tomato Soup, Wine and Blood. It has no chemicals that damage carpet either, and it's non-toxic. Def. the best thing I have ever used and I recommend it to everyone who has ever had a stain to clean. I have also used to completely spot clean a microfiber couch. The slipcovers I actually took off and washed in COLD water in the machine with Genesis 950 and then AIR dried. Couch looked like new.

2:11PM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

I am suprised you didn't mention Genesis 950 in this article. It is by far the BEST stain remover and cleaner I have ever used on carpet and furniture. I use it to clean up pet stains and it also removes the odor. In addition, I it has cleaned up A1 Steak Sauce Stains, Paint Stains, Nail Polish, Ink, Tomato Soup, Wine and Blood. It has no chemicals that damage carpet either, and it's non-toxic. Def. the best thing I have ever used and I recommend it to everyone who has ever had a stain to clean.

3:48AM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

Does anyone have any idea in cleaning microsuede furniture?

10:52PM PDT on Jul 27, 2010

Thanks Annie! I really like the suggestion about the hydrogen peroxide. That's always worked really well for me and I share the tips with all of my friends. When I'm in need of a professional, I talk to Hart's Carpet Cleaners - http://www.hartscarpetcleaning.com - they've been great!

4:22AM PDT on Jul 6, 2010

Thanks Annie!!

6:37AM PST on Nov 14, 2009

Does anyone have a good solution to cat spray or pee on fabric furniture. Except for getting rids of the cat that is, not an option.
Urin off is very good but there is often an underlying smell, it is good for floors and walls.

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