With enough time and use, even your best furniture begins to show some wear and tear. It's natural to want to replace or reupholster aging furniture when scratches, stains and dents become commonplace, but actually doing so can be cost prohibitive -- often costing upwards of $500. Fortunately, a good professional cleaning can bring old couches and furniture back to life for a fraction of the cost. In fact, spending a few hundred bucks on professional upholstery cleaning can make your old furniture feel like new.
How Much Does Professional Upholstery Cleaning Cost?
Homeowners report spending about $156 on professional upholstery cleaning. However, most services charge on a per-piece basis. Therefore, overall cost is largely dependent on the amount of pieces you'd like to have cleaned. Pricing is further determined by furniture size and material composition, as larger surface areas take more time to clean and some materials may require special care or handling.
A professional will look into any special cleaning instructions to avoid staining or shredding your upholstery. It is typically more expensive to have reclining furniture professionally cleaned because the complexity of moving the seat forward to get to gears underneath comes with an additional charge.
Professional Couch Cleaning Costs
If you need to have your sofa cleaned by a professional upholstery service, expect to pay anywhere between $50 for a loveseat (smaller couch) to $200 for a large couch. The larger your couch is, the more expensive it will be to clean it. There are also some types of materials--leather and suede, for example--that are more expensive to clean because of the fragile cleaning processes and particular chemicals involved. Consult with a professional upholstery cleaning service on what goes into their quotes. They may charge by the hour, project or number of cushions on your couch. There may be additional charges for accessories. Some quotes will include:
Time and materials
Check ahead of time with multiple upholstery cleaning professionals on what will you be charged for with your couch cleaning. You don't want to see an additional $50 appear on your bill for accessories or added chemical costs.
Because furniture is highly susceptible to dust accumulation and stains, it should be cleaned on a semi-regular basis. This will help to prevent fibers from breaking down and developing holes that may require specialized patching at an even higher price. Depending on the type of furniture you have, it can be fairly inexpensive to keep it in top condition -- and you can do a lot to keep it up on your own as well.
If your sofa has removable covers, for example, they can be run through the wash every six months or so without any hassle. Permanent coverings or leather can also be periodically vacuumed or wiped to remove surface dust and dirt. Stains and deeply embedded grime will likely require heavy-duty cleaning supplies or the work of a professional upholstery cleaning service.
Sofas and loveseats, in particular, gather a lot of food debris, dust and grime over time -- and they need regular care and maintenance to prevent holes and permanent stains from developing. To perform routine maintenance on fabric upholstery, vacuum the entire surface area and any crevices, cushions and pillows. Also, periodically run any removable furniture covers through the wash to remove dust and dirt. If there is wood detailing on your furniture, dust it with a specialized wood cleaner.
If your furniture is under warranty, call the seller or manufacturer to see what they recommend using to clean it. You can also hire an experienced upholstery cleaning company; they will know what solutions are appropriate to apply to your material.
The tags on your furniture will tell you, as well as any professional cleaner you may hire, which of the following codes to follow with regard to cleaning:
Code W: Man-made fabrics -- including polyester, nylon, herculon, acetate and olefin -- that can be cleaned with water-based solutions.
Code S: Organic fabrics like cotton, rayon, linen, wool, silk, denim, velour, damask that should be cleaned with solvent-based solutions.
Code W/S: A mix of organic and man-made fabrics that can be cleaned with either type of solution.
Code X: Fabric that must be professionally cleaned. This fabric may be vacuumed and carefully brushed, but you cannot use solutions on it.
If you really want to avoid hiring a professional cleaning service, you can carefully spot treat certain stains in your upholstery. However, you run the risk of expanding the stain or forever embedding it in the fibers. Spot treatment is not recommended unless you're treating a stain immediately after it occurs. Here are some steps to follow for spot cleaning your furniture and removing stains:
Test a small area to ensure that there are no adverse effects on fabric.
Apply solution on a cloth and blot the stain with a new section of the cloth each time.
Let it dry.
Use a soft brush or vacuum to restore texture if upholstery is rough afterwards.
Leather, in particular, requires special cleaning solutions and careful application to avoid irreparable damage. Be sure to consult the tag on the back of your furniture to ensure that you are not applying something to your upholstery that may ruin it.
Here are some common approaches to cleaning leather and vinyl upholstery:
Leather: You can clean leather with saddle soap, leather cleaner or a damp cloth when treating stains. You should condition leather from time to time to keep it shiny as well. To clean leather:
Dilute leather cleaner in warm water and apply lightly.
Use saddle soap in warm water and apply with damp rag, making certain that you do not soak the leather.
Treat stains by blotting with damp cloth. Do not scrub!
Vinyl: Specialized cleaners have been created specifically for keeping vinyl in top condition. You can also use baking soda on a rag and follow up with dishwashing liquid. Never, ever use oil. Oil will make your vinyl furniture rough and hard.
Older, antique furniture requires a careful approach to cleaning. Some finishes, lacquer and older materials may be harmed by modern cleaning solutions. Here are some recommendations for cleaning your aged furniture so it stays in good condition:
Wood finishes: Lightly dust and use a damp cloth or mildly soapy solution to wipe away dust and grime.
Lacquer: Be aware of oils that break down the lacquer. You can clean lacquer carefully with a damp cloth or mild soap solution, but if you start seeing the color disappear with the grime, you'll need to have the lacquer reapplied. It sometimes just can't be helped.
It's recommended that you refrain from self-cleaning gilded gold or silver on any antique furniture, as you can easily damage those surfaces. Oily grime and wax build-up may sometimes be removed using naphtha, but this should never be used indoors or without gloves. Avoid using steel wool when cleaning any antique furniture as it can easily scratch surfaces and remove finishes.