The best upholstery cleaner for maintaining your favorite pieces of furniture is – wait for it – your humble vacuum cleaner. Your vacuum probably has an attachment designed just for your upholstered furniture. Use this as part of your weekly routine, and you will not need to worry about cleaning your furniture further for the most part.
With stains that are beyond the power of your vacuum to clean, we recommend that you are first on your manufacturer's instructions regarding the best upholstery cleaner. However, it is often the case that top notch carpet cleaners work well on upholstery too. A good spray carpet cleaner is typically designed to handle a wide range of stains, from pet stains to spilled wine. With upholstery, you'll need to be gentler than with a carpet; Otherwise you risk damaging the more delicate fibers in your upholstery, causing either weak and threadbare patches or faded spots. Be sure to test any commercial cleaning product somewhere small and out of sight before treating your whole sofa. The undeside of an arm cover is one of my favorite options for testing. If your test run leads you to suspect the product is too strong, simply dilute with water and continue testing until you hit the right solution that will be the best upholstery cleaner for that item.
A number of common stains may not require a commercial cleaning product at all. The most typical upholstery stains arise from spilled beverages or food. One of the easiest drink stains is coffee. All it usually takes is a bit of soap or watered down laundry detergent blotted lightly with a wet cloth – just do not rub too hard. This works well for beer stains too, although you may find you need to spray a light vinegar solution afterward to completely clean the stain. The best upholstery cleaner for juice stains can be made at home by adding a dash of ammonia to a dilute vinegar solution. You may think red wine is impossible to handle, but the best upholstery cleaner for this common stain is simply a layer of table salt from your pantry that you can vacuum up after it has been left to soak up the wine. Greasy marks from dropped food can often be handled the same as wine.
Of course, with especially bad or resistant stains it's probably best to consult a professional. The best upholstery cleaner is one that has the experience to know which chemicals are best suited for different types of fabric stains (the best upholstery cleaner for an ink stain may not be the same one to use on a blood stain). A real pro can also clean deeply, far below the surface of the fabric, but without doing damage.