Monday, April 23, 2018

U is for Upholstery Cleaner

When we bought our house 19+ years ago, we bought new furniture for the family room: a couch with a hide-a-bed and two comfy chairs. We were careful with this furniture when our son was little, not letting him eat while sitting on it, but when our daughter came along, all bets were off. She laid on that couch and ate dry cereal and candy and popcorn and goldfish crackers, and if someone were spending the night on the hide-a-bed, I had to open it up and VACUUM the mattress of Nerds, Skittles and Fruity Pebbles. 

The couch has looked a little (a lot) rough for a number of years now, so I bought a slipcover for it. It tucks in and ties on and looks really nice, as long as no one sits on it. It is also washable, so periodically, I take it off the couch, empty the cereal and crackers and candy into the trash can, and wash and dry it. (The REALLY REALLY FUN part of doing this is the part marked "center front" is actually the center back and I always forget and put it on upside down every time.)

Fast forward to the A to Z Challenge, and if you are a participant, you know the second half of the alphabet is harder than the first half. Think about it: Q. U. V. X. Y. Z. I was looking through Pinterest for something, ANYTHING, for "U" and found DIY upholstery cleaner. Perfect! Something useful, for a change (although how can a robot hand that can flip the bird be anything BUT useful, I ask you?).

I pulled a cushion out from under the slipcover. Ugh. It looked worse than I remembered.

18 years of life with Emma.

The pinner dusted their cushion with baking soda and vacuumed it off first, and I think this was more to deodorize, because it was a piece from a thrift store that was going into a baby's room, but I did it to my cushion, too, because why not? 

The DIY concoction was simply 1 part dish soap to 8 parts water. The fun part was using the mixer to whip the two together into a fluffy bowl of bubbly foam. 

The bubbly part ONLY - no water - was scooped out by hand and rubbed into the cushion. I went over the cushion (and I only did about a third of it, so I could better compare the before and after) twice and the bubbles rubbed into it barely made it damp.

Rubbing the soap bubbles in.

Next, the cushion was wiped with a clean, damp rag twice, and this would remove the dirt and the soap residue. 

I let it dry overnight.

My husband said he saw a difference between the part of the cushion I hadn't cleaned and the part I had. I mostly noticed that the cushion was very, very faded, and no amount of soap bubbles were going to do a thing for that. 

In the kitchen light, you can see a difference
between the left side, that I didn't clean, and
the right side that I DID clean.

To me, the difference was subtle at best. I was hoping for WOW!

I got underwhelming.

Top picture (in living room light)
is before, bottom picture is after,
and yes, Nora had to be part of it.


  1. I'm with you the difference is subtle. You think you'd need a few more ingredients besides dish soap to make it into an upholstery cleaner but I'm not a good judge. My sofa is covered in mis-matched blankets. I couldn't even be bothered to get an actual slipcover to protect it from the dog. It's not a pretty site. Weekends In Maine

  2. Impressed with your DIY attitude. I have furniture that could use it, but I'm afraid of making it worse! Melanie's Stories

  3. We have leather furniture specifically because of the furkids (at least that's what I tell Papa Bear, but it might be because he is also a little messy when snacking). I am too lazy to clean the leather with the cleaner they provided when we bought it, so it is unlikely I would go to the effort of making an upholstery cleaner, though I have rocking chair cushions that could benefit from it. I am an Oxy-Clean (powder kind) girl, it works great for spills, stains, and kitty puke. :-)