The 10 Best Upholstery Cleaners for Every Type of Fabric

By Corrie Pelc


Fabric-coated furniture is beautiful, comfortable — and takes a beating. Between food spills, pet messes, and everyday grubbiness from kids (and even adults!), upholstered furniture gets used and abused.


This is why having the right upholstery cleaner in your household cleaning arsenal is vital. The quicker you can act to clean up dirt and debris on upholstered fabric, the better. With so many upholstery cleaners on the market today, it’s hard to figure out which is the best. Thankfully, we’re here to help! We dug in and came up with a list of the best upholstery cleaners on the market right now.


How to Buy an Upholstery Cleaner

When looking to purchase an upholstery cleaner, the first thing you need to do is read the tag on the furniture you’re trying to clean. Because upholstery can be made from so many different types of fabrics — or blends of fabrics — it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the upholstery is made of. A good manufacturer will be able to tell you what to use through these designations on a tag found on the furniture frame itself, a pillow, or cushion:


  • W: This upholstery fabric can be cleaned with a water-based cleaner.
  • S: For this upholstery fabric, you should use a solvent-based cleaner. A solvent-based cleaner uses chemicals to dissolve the stain you apply it to. These types of cleaners include dry cleaning products or water-free solvents.
  • SW: You can use either water- or solvent-based cleaners with this fabric.
  • X: Don't use anything liquid on this upholstery fabric — you can try vacuuming it and if that doesn’t work, seek out a professional for cleaning help.


No matter what your fabric label says, always pretest a small, hard-to-see area of your furniture to see how the cleaner reacts to your upholstery. This is especially important if the upholstery cleaner you want to use does not specify an upholstery fabric code.


Factors We Considered When Choosing the Best Upholstery Cleaners

There are hundreds of products in the upholstery cleaner market today. Here’s a look at the test factors we used to determine the best to put on our must-buy list:


  • Price: Upholstery cleaners come at all types of price points.
  • Bottle Size: How many ounces are in a bottle?
  • Formula Type: What type of formula is the upholstery cleaner — Liquid? Foam? Something else?
  • Upholstery Fabric Types: What types of upholstery fabric is this cleaner good for — W, S, WS, or a combination?
  • Application: How is the upholstery cleaner applied — spray bottle? Through a machine? Some way else?
  • Where Else It Cleans: Does this upholstery cleaner work on anything else?
  • How Long It Takes to Work: How long does the upholstery cleaner take to work its magic? Some cleaners will work instantly, while others may need to sit for longer depending on the type of stain.
  • Scent: Does the upholstery cleaner have a scent or is it fragrance-free?
  • Safe for Kids and Pets: Is this upholstery cleaner safe to use around children and pets? Upholstery cleaners that are enzyme-based or use natural-derived agents are usually safe for use around animals and kids. And some companies go so far as to have their products certified kid and pet-friendly.


Now let’s look at the best upholstery cleaners you can buy in 2021 broken down by category.


Best Overall Upholstery Cleaner: Woolite Carpet and Upholstery Foam Cleaner

~ $4 at Walmart


An easy-to-use upholstery cleaner perfect for cleaning everyday messes.

best overall upholstery cleaner


For an easy-to-use, everyday upholstery cleaner, check out Woolite Carpet and Upholstery Foam Cleaner. This cleaner is rated for use on W and WS upholstery fabrics and features a triple-action formula that not only cleans but refreshes and eliminates odors, as well. The foam formula is applied via the attached fabric-safe cleaning brush, which can help loosen up any dirt or set-in stains. When used, the cleaning solution helps protect the fabrics of your couch or seats by leaving a barrier to make it harder for new stains to apply themselves. The Woolite Carpet and Upholstery Foam Cleaner is safe for use around kids and pets, and leaves behind a fresh, clean scent.


Ideal for: Homeowners who want a no-fuss upholstery cleaner they can use whenever they need to. 


  • Price: ~ $4
  • Bottle Size: 12 ounces
  • Formula Type: Foam
  • Upholstery Fabric Types: W and WS — not recommended for use on velvet, silk, or leather
  • Application: Foam applied via built-in fabric brush
  • Where Else It Cleans: Carpeting, rugs, car upholstery
  • How Long It Takes to Work: Up to two hours
  • Scent: Fresh, clean scent
  • Safe for Kids and Pets: Yes


Pros:

  • Low-cost and widely accessible
  • Built-in fabric-safe brush makes application easy
  • Can be used on carpeting, rugs, and car upholstery


Cons:

  • Can take a few hours to work depending on the cleaning situation


Best Upholstery Cleaner for Stains: Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover

~ $10 on Amazon 


An upholstery stain remover that tackles red wine spills and so much more. 

best upholstery cleaner for stains


While Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover is obviously designed for removing red wine stains, that's not the only type of stain it can remove. This cleaner also removes blood, ink, coffee, tea, fruit punch, and even pet stains from your upholstery. And it can also be used on carpet stains, clothing, car upholstery, and even on hard surfaces to remove latex paint and graffiti. Application is easy — just shake the bottle lightly, aim, and spray the liquid cleaner directly onto the stain. Let the treatment soak in for about five minutes and then blot with a clean cloth and repeat the application process if needed until the stain disappears. Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover is made from all-natural fruit and vegetable extracts, making it safe for use around children and pets. 


Ideal for: Removing just about any stain you can think of. 


  • Price: ~ $10
  • Bottle Size: 12 ounces
  • Formula Type: Liquid spray
  • Upholstery Fabric Types: W and WS
  • Where Else It Cleans: Carpeting, clothing, hard surfaces
  • How Long It Takes to Work: About five minutes
  • Scent: Fresh citrus scent
  • Safe for Kids and Pets: Yes


Pros:

  • Cleans a wide variety of stain types
  • Can be used on a number of different surfaces
  • Only takes just a few minutes to work


Cons:

  • May have to be applied a few times before the stain disappears. 


Best Upholstery Cleaning Machine: Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

~ $89 at Walmart 


A portable upholstery cleaning machine with lots of consumer recommendations. 

best upholstery cleaning machine


If you're looking for an upholstery cleaning machine to help you clean your furniture, look no further than the Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner. This Bissell upholstery cleaner is a favorite amongst homeowners, with almost 3,000 ratings and 4.5 stars on Walmart's website. The machine uses vacuum suction and an included brush to scrub and lift away dirt and stains from your furniture's upholstery, as well as carpeting, rugs, and car interiors. The handheld upholstery cleaner machine features easily removable clean and dirty water tanks so you can see how much dirt the machine is capturing (Hint: You’ll know dirt is being picked up if the resulting liquid looks a little like chocolate milk). The Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner includes an eight-ounce trial size of Bissell's Spot and Stain Formula and can only be used with Bissell-brand liquid cleaners. The machine is also backed by a one-year limited warranty.


Ideal for: Those who want some machine-backed scrubbing power for their upholstery.


  • Price: ~ $89
  • Bottle Size: N/A
  • Formula Type: Liquid cleaner
  • Upholstery Fabric Types: W and WS
  • Where Else It Cleans: Carpets, rugs, car interiors
  • How Long It Takes to Work: A few minutes, but may take longer depending on stains
  • Scent: N/A
  • Safe for Kids and Pets: Yes


Pros:

  • Uses vacuum suction and a special brush to scrub and lift away dirt and stains
  • Can be also used on carpeting, rugs, and car interiors
  • Backed by a one-year limited warranty


Cons:

  • Can only be used with Bissell-brand cleaning solutions


Best Upholstery Cleaner Solution: Nature's Miracle Carpet Shampoo, Deep-Cleaning Stain and Odor Remover

~ $12 on Amazon 


An excellent upholstery cleaner for those who already have a water-based carpet cleaning machine they like to use. 

best upholstery cleaner solution


If you're looking for a powerful cleaner to use in your upholstery and carpeting cleaning machine, Nature's Miracle Carpet Shampoo, Deep-Cleaning Stain and Odor Remover may be what you're looking for. This upholstery cleaner features a low-foam formula and is designed to be used with most water-based carpet cleaning machines. The cleaner is an enzyme formula, which means it's able to get into any organic stains and break them down without using harsh chemicals while removing odors and preventing the re-soiling of your upholstery. Nature's Miracle Carpet Shampoo can be applied directly from the bottle or via a carpet cleaner machine (like this top seller on Amazon).


Ideal for: Using in most water-based carpet cleaning machines or directly from the bottle. 


  • Price: ~ $12
  • Bottle Size: 64 ounces
  • Formula Type: Liquid
  • Upholstery Fabric Types: W and WS — not recommended for use on velvet, silk, vinyl, leather, or 100-percent cotton
  • Where Else It Cleans: Carpeting
  • How Long It Takes to Work: About 15 minutes
  • Scent: Fresh scent
  • Safe for Kids and Pets: Yes


Pros:

  • Lots of product for the money
  • Designed for use in most water-based carpet cleaning machines
  • Enzyme-based formula breaks down organic messes without the use of harsh chemicals


Cons:

  • Application directly from the bottle has the potential to oversaturate fabrics


Best Upholstery Cleaner for Leather: Weiman Leather Cleaner Wipes

~ $4 at Walmart 


A super easy cleaner for all finished leather products in your home.

best upholstery cleaner for leather


Weiman Leather Cleaner Wipes make cleaning your leather upholstery a snap. This pre-moistened wipes feature a formula made of six natural oils that quickly and safely remove dirt and residue build-up from not only leather furniture, but car interiors and leather goods like shoes, purses, and coats. The result: leather that is soft, supple, and flexible. The wipes also add UVX-15 sunscreen to leather to help protect it from damaging UV rays that can cause the material to crack and fade. Simply wipe the leather surface with the pre-moistened wipe, and then buff the surface with a clean, soft cloth for a natural-looking sheen. Unlike some leather wipes, these ones do not leave a sticky residue and will not darken or harm finished leather. 


Ideal for: Leather lovers who want to keep their leather upholstery and other goods looking as good as new. 


  • Price: ~ $4
  • Bottle Size: 30 count
  • Formula Type: Pre-moistened wipes
  • Upholstery Fabric Types: Can be used on any type of leather that has a protective finish — not for use on suede, nubuck, or any unfinished leather
  • Where Else It Cleans: Car interiors and leather goods
  • How Long It Takes to Work: Instantly
  • Scent: Lemon scent
  • Safe for Kids and Pets: Safe to use around pets and kids once the product is fully dried and buffed into the surface per the label directions. 


Pros:

  • Pre-moistened wipe is easy to use
  • Can be used on not only leather upholstery, but leather goods as well
  • Adds UVX-15 sunscreen to leather


Cons:

  • Only for use on leather with a protective finish


Best Upholstery Cleaner for Pet Owners: Rocco and Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator

~ $20 on Amazon


Make icky pet messes a bad memory with this enzyme-based upholstery cleaner.

best upholstery cleaner for pet owners


With more than 68,500 reviews and a 4.5 star average on Amazon, there's no surprise why Rocco and Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator is our top pick when it comes to removing pet messes from upholstery. This cleaner uses an enzyme-based formula that breaks down stains like pet urine, vomit, and other nastiness, while also eliminating any odors they may have come with. Because it uses no hazardous substances, this upholstery cleaner is safe for use around kids and pets. And Rocco and Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator can be used on a slew of areas outside of upholstery, including carpeting, clothing, hard flooring, pet carriers, and litter boxes.


Ideal for: Pet owners who want do not love the messes they leave behind. 


  • Price: ~ $20
  • Bottle Size: 32 ounces
  • Formula Type: Liquid spray
  • Upholstery Fabric Types: Does not specify
  • Where Else It Cleans: Carpeting, clothing, pet carriers, plastic items (like litter boxes and garbage cans), tile, concrete, and hardwoods
  • How Long It Takes to Work: 30-60 minutes
  • Scent: Clean scent
  • Safe for Kids and Pets: Yes


Pros:

  • Cult-like following on Amazon 
  • Enzyme-based formula breaks down pet stains and removes odors
  • Can be used on a slew of different areas around the home


Cons:

  • Some Amazon reviewers complained the product’s scent was too strong


Best Upholstery Cleaner Wipes: Tub O' Towels Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Wipes

~ $9 on Amazon 


Quickly rub out stains on synthetic and natural upholstery fabrics with the ease of a single-use wipe.

best upholstery cleaner wipes


Cleaning your upholstered furniture doesn't get any easier than with Tub O' Towels Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Wipes. These heavy-duty stain remover wipes feature a cleaning solution that uses no harsh chemicals, ammonia, bleach, or even added fragrance. The fibers of the wipes help the cleaning solution work its stain-lifting magic by agitating the upholstery fibers to break the bond between the stain and the fabric — all without damaging the fabric’s surface. And the wipes' cleaning solution even helps to prohibit future stains on fabrics it’s used on. The wipes are designed for use on natural and synthetic fibers on upholstery, carpeting, and rugs. And Tub O' Towels Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Wipes can be used for eliminating a variety of different water-based stains, including food, grease, cosmetics, crayon, latex paint, and pet stains.


Ideal for: Quickly and easily cleaning up everyday upholstery stains with a simple wipe. 


  • Price: ~ $9
  • Bottle Size: 40 count
  • Formula Type: Pre-moistened wipes
  • Upholstery Fabric Types: Use on natural and synthetic fibers
  • Where Else It Cleans: Carpets, rugs, car upholstery
  • How Long It Takes to Work: Immediately
  • Scent: Light citrus scent
  • Safe for Kids and Pets: Yes


Pros:

  • Heavy-duty cleaning power in the ease of a single-use wipe
  • Can be used on natural and synthetic fiber upholstery, carpeting, and rugs
  • Eliminates a wide variety of stains


Cons:

  • Pre-moistened wipe may not work for every stain


Best Car Upholstery Cleaner: CarGuys Super Cleaner

~ $17 on Amazon


A car upholstery cleaner that can be used on almost the entire vehicle. 

best car upholstery cleaner


Although quite a few of the upholstery cleaners on our list can be used on car upholstery, if you're looking for a cleaner designed just for automobiles, consider CarGuys Super Cleaner. With almost 17,000 ratings and 4.5 stars on Amazon, this car upholstery cleaner works on cleaning upholstery fabrics, including faux and genuine leather, as well as car carpeting. From there, the cleaner can be used on anything made from rubber, plastic, or vinyl, including floor mats, tires, and trim. It can also be used as an engine degreaser and can even get sticky tree sap off the outside of your car. The CarGuys Super Cleaner is applied through its spray bottle onto the included microfiber towel — just wipe the towel over the mess and then buff it dry. 


Ideal for: Car enthusiasts who want one cleaner to effectively and efficiently spruce up their entire ride. 


  • Price: ~ $17 
  • Bottle Size: 18 ounces
  • Formula Type: Liquid spray
  • Upholstery Fabric Types: Car upholstery, including leather, and vinyl
  • Where Else It Cleans: Carpeting, plastic, rubber, finished wood, trim, and metals — do not use on glass
  • How Long It Takes to Work: Immediately — may need additional time depending on the stain
  • Scent: Fresh scent
  • Safe for Kids and Pets: Manufacturer suggests keeping out reach of children


Pros:

  • Can be used on multiple surfaces of the car
  • Easily applied through included microfiber towel
  • Can even be used as an engine degreaser


Cons:

  • Have to make sure not to get it on glass


Best Steam Upholstery Cleaner: McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner with 18 Accessories

~ $140 on Amazon 


A versatile steam cleaner that can get your upholstery clean with just the use of hot water. 

best steam upholstery cleaner


If you like the idea of thoroughly cleaning your upholstered furniture without the use of any chemicals, then the McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner may be the upholstery cleaner for you. This upholstery steam cleaner uses hot, pressured steam to naturally clean your upholstery with nothing but water. Its 48-ounce water tank can heat up in less than eight minutes to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit and provides enough steam power for up to 45 minutes of cleaning. The McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner features a 10-foot long hose, 15-foot power cord, and 18 accessories that include brushes, microfiber pads, and extension wands. 


Ideal for: Homeowners who like the idea of a natural clean using only water. 


  • Price: ~ $140
  • Bottle Size: N/A
  • Formula Type: Steam
  • Upholstery Fabric Types: Fabrics that can be steam cleaned (make sure to check the label!)
  • Where Else It Cleans: Sealed wood flooring, ceramic tile, granite, and laminate
  • How Long It Takes to Work: Depends on the fabric and any stains
  • Scent: None
  • Safe for Kids and Pets: Yes, as long as they’re kept away from the hot steam when the machine is on


Pros:

  • Cleans with just hot water
  • Can clean for up to 45 minutes at a time
  • Comes with 18 accessories to tackle lots of different tasks


Cons:

  • May not be suitable for all types of upholstery
  • Must be plugged in to use



Best Eco-Friendly Upholstery Cleaner: Earthworm Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner 

~ $14 on Amazon 


Clean your upholstery the natural way with this enzyme-based formula that can be used on most colorfast materials.

best eco-friendly upholstery cleaner


Earthworm Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner is an environmentally-friendly cleaner that is completely safe for use around kids and animals. Using a natural enzyme-based formula, this natural cleaner quickly removes stains such as wine, food, dirt, and pet stains from furniture upholstery, as well as carpeting, curtains, pillows, and mattresses. The Earthworm Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner is simple to use — just spray on the area you want to clean, wait about five to eight minutes for the enzymes to do their work, and blot with a clean cloth until no dirt is left. And because the enzymes do all the work, no harsh scrubbing is needed, which helps protect fabrics. 


Ideal for: Eco-conscious cleaners who want a natural way to clean their upholstered furniture. 


  • Price: ~ $14
  • Bottle Size: 22 ounces
  • Formula Type: Liquid spray
  • Upholstery Fabric Types: Will work on most colorfast materials
  • Where Else It Cleans: Carpeting, curtains, pillows, and mattresses
  • How Long It Takes to Work: 5-8 minutes
  • Scent: Fragrance-free
  • Safe for Kids and Pets: Yes


Pros:

  • Natural cleaner that uses an enzyme-based formula
  • Can be used on most colorfast materials
  • Safe for use around kids and animals


Cons:

  • A bit pricey for the amount of cleaner you receive


How to Clean Upholstery

Now that you have some excellent upholstery cleaning options, it’s important to know how to get the most of your cleaner. Follow these steps to apply cleaner on most upholstery fabric types:


  • Step 1: Vacuum. Vacuum up any dry or loose debris before working with a liquid solution.
  • Step 2: Prepare Cleaning Solution. Prepare the cleaning solution by following the directions on the cleaner’s packaging. 
  • Step 3: Blot. Blot up anything that looks wet or lightly brush over any dry stains to loosen them up. 
  • Step 4: Apply Cleaning Solution. Use a soft cloth or sponge that is slightly dampened with the solution to lightly clean the upholstered furniture. 
  • Step 5: Remove Leftover Solvents. Use a clean cloth and plain water to remove any cleaning solvent that may be left on the upholstery fabric. 
  • Step 6: Let Dry. Let the upholstered furniture completely air dry.


Important Notes About Cleaning Upholstery

  • When attempting any type of upholstery cleaning, always test an inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn’t react badly to the upholstery (signs of damage include discoloration and fraying fibers).
  • You never want to completely saturate upholstered furniture as that can lead to trapped water in your furniture, causing mold and mildew. Always use as little water and cleaning solution as possible.


Do you have an upholstery cleaner you swear by? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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