I have been in the cleaning industry for over 10 years and I have seen some really bad upholstery. Here I will try to help by giving you some tips for keeping your upholstery from ever getting that bad.
The First Step
The first thing you want to do is go to your local auto parts store and pick up a carpet and upholstery cleaner made for your car. There are many different brands and I have tried most of them. They all work pretty much the same.
Determine what kind of fiber your upholstery is made of. Usually you will find this info on a tag under the cushions. If it states that you have a cotton or other natural fiber blend use caution. In many cases and on most fibers you can use the carpet and upholstery cleaner from the auto parts store to clean spots with out leaving a ring around the area when it dries. To be safe always test on an inconspicuous area and let it dry before continuing. These products work really well on synthetic fibers very safely and gently. I have actually cleaned entire recliners and dining room chairs with them and had wonderful results. The upholstery dries fast and this is what I recommend for a do it your self clean or for in between professional cleanings on spots.
The Final Step
After successfully cleaning your own upholstery you will want to protect it from the daily elements by applying scotch guard or calling a carpet and upholstery cleaner to apply the recommended protector recommended by the manufacturer. This step will also save you a lot of money in the long run.
I hope this article has been helpful.