How to Clean Cotton Upholstery

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Spray upholstery cleaner
  • Foam upholstery cleaner
  • Sticky lint roller
  • Sponge
  • Clean rags

Cotton fabric is a popular fabric for couches, love seats and over-sized chairs. It is used extensively in the casual furniture that is in our homes today. Cotton is a durable fabric and is known for its easy-care characteristics. Clean your upholstery yourself and say good-bye to costly cleaning bills.

Read the fabric care label on your piece of furniture before you begin any cleaning process. You should be able to clean most cotton fabrics yourself, but there are always exceptions and the fabric care label will tell you if the piece needs to be professionally cleaned.

Vacuum the upholstery to remove any dust, loose dirt, crumbs or pet hair. Regular vacuuming will extend the life of your upholstery. Remove any leftover pet hair with a sticky roller lint remover. It is important to remove every bit of loose dirt and pet hair because you want to expose the fabric surface to the cleaning agent.

Spray a small area of your upholstery with the foam upholstery cleaner, following the product instructions. Do a test area first to ensure that the upholstery cleaner will not damage the fabric. With most upholstery sprays, you spray them on, and take a damp sponge and spread the foam evenly on the fabric. Allow it to dry completely, and then vacuum.


  • Spot clean any serious stains first and then continue to clean the entire piece of furniture with the upholstery cleaner. Again, follow the foam upholstery cleaner's directions of spraying on, spreading, drying and vacuuming.

    Stain-resistant finish sprays extend the life of your upholstery. You may want to consider applying a stain-resistant finish to your furniture when it is new.

    Keep your furniture out of direct sunlight because it will fade the fabric.

    Baby wipes are a quick and fast way to clean up some spills.


  • Extreme amounts of water / moisture are harmful to the fabric and will destroy it.

About the Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.