Keep Your Fabric Furniture Looking Like New With The 3 “S’s”

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Keep Your Fabric Furniture Looking Like New With The 3 “S’s”

So, you bought a new fabric furniture set a while back. Let’s imagine it’s the Ashley Signature Design Keereel Living Room Group below. The fabric color you chose was “sand”, because it brightened up your living room space.

You have it delivered, you set it up and it looks perfect. You love it, your family loves it, and even the dog loves it. They all love it so much that they’re dropping greasy popcorn on it, spilling juice on it, and putting their dirty feet (and paws) on it. And then, all of a sudden, your furniture doesn’t look as new anymore. Unfortunately, this is part of living with pets, kids, spouses or partners. This is why the experts at Value City NJ have developed an easy and effective way to clean that “love” off of your fabric furniture called the 3 “S’s” Fabric Furniture Cleaning Recipe.

We set up our cleaning instructions like a recipe, because upholstery cleaning is a lot like a recipe. You have ingredients and a series of steps to follow. And, like a any recipe, you can substitute ingredients if you’re careful, but you still have to follow the process. So, if you can throw together a cake mix, you can definitely follow this process.

The 3 “S’s” Fabric Furniture Cleaning Recipe:


  • 1 Vacuum Cleaner In Good Working Order
  • 4 Or 5 Clean, Light Colored Rags
    (You may need more if your furniture is bigger or dirtier.)
  • 1 Compressed Air Duster Can
    (The kind of compressed air cans you use to clean computer keyboards.)
  • 1 Bottle Of Soil Release Pre-Mist
    (The two major companies that make a pre-mist are Oreck and Capture. Make your own by mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of dish soap and 1 tablespoon of vinegar into 1 cup of water. Stir well and pour into a spray bottle.)
  • 1 Bottle Of Carpet And Rug Dry Cleaner
    (There are many great options on the market. Make your own by blending  2 cups of baking soda, 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1 tablespoon borax and the essential oils of your choice. Put them all in a zippered bag and shake until blended. Pour into a shaker top container.)
  • 1 Bottle Of Clear Dish Soap
    (Dish soaps like Dawn and Seventh Generation work best because they are especially formulated for grease removal.)
  • 1 Natural Hair Upholstery Brush
    (These are usually made of horsehair, but there are cruelty free and vegan alternatives that are just as gentle and effective.)
  • 1 Bucket Or A Large Container
    (Anything will do; a toy beach pail, a plastic cat litter tub that’s been cleaned out, a sink basin tub, or even a large bowl.)

Important Steps Before You Start The Process

Those Letters On Your Fabric Furniture’s Tag Are Important
Before you start this process, check your furniture’s tag located on the side of your chair and couch cushions and probably on the bottom of your furniture. There should be letters along the side or on the bottom of the tag of your chair and couch cushions and probably on the bottom of your furniture. They tell you how to overall clean your fabric furniture.

These Fabrics Can Withstands All Three Steps:
W: Clean with water based products
WS: Clean with shampoo or solvent. Do not saturate. Pile fabrics may need to be brushed to restore texture.

These Fabrics Can Withstands Steps 1 And 2:
S: Only Use Dry Cleaning Solvent
SW: Spot Clean with Upholstery cleaner but do not saturate.

Vacuum only! These Fabrics Need Professional Cleaning, Do Not Attempt To Clean Them Yourself:
DC: Dry Clean Only
X: Do not clean with solvent or water-based cleaners. Vacuuming and light brushing only.
So remember that fabrics with a W and a WS on the tag can withstand the entire process. Fabrics with a S and a SW on the tag, stop at step 2. And fabrics with a DC or an X on the tag, ask a professional.

Spot Treat A Test Section
You should also spot treat a small test area of your fabric furniture with the carpet dry cleaner and the soil release pre-mist, even if you made it yourself. Pick a spot preferably behind the couch or chair where no one sees. If it discolors the upholstery, try another brand or consider professional cleaning.

Warning #1
If you’re cleaning a cherished heirloom, consult a professional first, even if it’s just to get advice on how to proceed.

Warning #2
This recipe for fabric furniture only! Do not use this recipe on leather or wood furniture. If your furniture is a combination of wood and fabric or leather and fabric, only clean the fabric areas with this method.

Make Sure To Follow The 3 “S’s” In Order
Follow these three steps in order. If you do not follow them in order, the method will not be effective.

Step 1: Suction & Sweep
Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum for this one. For 5 full minutes (more if your furniture is large), vacuum the area in short strokes that overlap each other, kind of like you’re gently scrubbing, but with a vacuum hose. This is especially important for high pile fabrics, like chenille, corduroy, suede, velvet and microfiber. The fibers in these materials hold dirt and you want to gently agitate them a little to release that dirt. Use the compressed air duster can to sweep out dust in corners, crevices, creases, and around tufting, buttons and rivets.

Expert Tip
If you’re worried about sucking up any money that got lost under the couch cushions, take an inexpensive knee-high or the free peds shoe stores have for trying on shoes and secure it to the end of the crevice nozzle. This way dirt will get sucked in, but your loose change won’t get sucked in.

Remember, if your furniture tag has a DC or an X on the tag, stop at this step.

Step 2: Spray & Sprinkle Stains
Once you’ve determined that your fabric can handle these cleaning products, spot test Make sure that you check your test areas before you proceed with this part. If the Pre-Mist or the Dry Carpet Cleaner remove color, discolor, de-pile or change the fabric in any way, do not use it. Try changing brands, or consult a professional upholstery cleaner.

If your test areas are fine, it’s time for spot removal. Find all of the stains; the dirt, the food, the juice and the “I have no idea” or “I don’t wanna know” stains. Spray each of them with the Pre-Mist. Then sprinkle the Dry Carpet Cleaner over the wetted spot. Rub the powder into the stain gently. Let it set for about 5 to 10 minutes, then vacuum it out. If the stain isn’t gone, repeat once more. If it’s still not gone after treating it a second time, you may hurt the fabric if you try again. Now might be the time to call the professionals.

Also remember, if your furniture tag has an S or an SW on the tag, stop at this step.

Step 3: Suds & Scrub
Pour 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dish soap into your bucket or container then fill the container 1/4 to 1/2 full with warm water. The goal here is to create lots of fluffy suds. Dip the upholstery brush in the suds only, do not dip it into the water.

Brush the fabric with the sudsy brush in a light, gentle sweeping motion, as if you were smoothing wrinkles or icing a cake. Do not brush too hard or you may damage the fabric. You don’t want to saturate the fabric, just distribute the suds.

After you’ve coated the entire surface, wipe off the suds with your clean rags. Let your fabric furniture completely dry before sitting on it. Wash one side of the cushions at a time, because the side that’s facing the couch or chair frame is not exposed to as much air, it may take longer to dry. We suggest flipping the cushions and going through the 3-step recipe on the other side once everything is dry. Or you may realize that the part of the cushion may not need cleaning, because it wasn’t exposed to wear and tear.

Enjoy Your Fresh, Clean Furniture
Once your furniture dries, you can go back to loving your living room group! Your fabric furniture will look clean and bright, plus it will smell like new again, too.

You’ll also notice that fabrics like chenille, used in this Mocha brown Ashley Signature Design Montgomery Living Room Group, will regain it’s sheen and the fibers will look more uniform. Remember to repeat this process twice a year and after “heavy traffic” periods like Thanksgiving and family visits.

For More Info On How To Keep Your Fabric Furniture Looking Great, Ask Value City NJ
Value City NJ is the tri-state area’s premier furniture retailer. Whether it’s leather, fabric, wood or a blend of different textiles, they can help you to keep your furniture looking like new. Contact us today to find out more.


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