How to Clean an Upholstered Bed in 6 Easy Steps

how to clean an upholstered bed

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It's undeniable that upholstered bed frames make any bedroom look more elegant, and these plush headboards can be pretty comfortable to lean back on too. However, upholstered beds are a bit more tricky to clean than their wooden or metal counterparts. But don't let that sway you—upholstered beds are still a wonderful bed frame pick, and they can be cleaned in six easy steps.

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How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Upholstered Bed?

Upholstered beds should be cleaned whenever they start to look grimy or dirty or when they have multiple stains. However, they can be vacuumed regularly to keep them clean for longer.

What You'll Need to Clean Your Upholstered Bed

You may need different cleaning agents depending on the upholstery of your headboard, but here are a few things that could come in handy.

  • Vacuum with a brush or upholstery attachment
  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • 3 clean sponges
  • Fan (optional)
how to clean an upholstered bed

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Step 1: Know Your Code

Before you start cleaning your upholstered bed, you'll need to figure out how to clean it. Most upholstered items include cleaning codes, usually on their attached tags. Here's what those codes mean.

W: A headboard with this code can be cleaned with water-based cleaners. Water-based cleaners are some of the most widely available and easy-to-use.

S: A headboard with this code must be cleaned with water-free solvents or dry-cleaned. Be careful when using solvents, as they are flammable and noxious.

W/S: Headboards with these codes can be cleaned with water-based cleaners or dry-cleaned. Either way, make sure to spot test before committing to a cleaning agent.

X: If a headboard has this code, it may only be cleaned with a vacuum or brush. Do not use water-based cleaners or solvents.

If your headboard doesn't have a code, look up the cleaning code for upholstery with that fabric, or spot test a cleaner in a few inconspicuous places.

Step 2: Get Rid of Dirt

Next, get a vacuum with a brush or upholstery attachment and vacuum the surface of the headboard to remove surface-level dirt and dust. Make sure to vacuum gently, especially if your bed is upholstered with a more delicate material.

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Step 3: Spot Treat Stains

Now it's time to tackle stains. You'll use a different cleaning solution depending on your cleaning code, but if you have a W or W/S code, create a cleaning solution that's one part dish soap to four parts water.

Next, dip a clean sponge into the sudsy mixture and wring out any excess moisture. Gently blot the sponge on the stain until it disappears. You'll then dip the other, non-sudsy end of the sponge in clean water and dab it onto the cleaned area, "rinsing" it out. Allow the treated area to air dry before continuing.

Step 4: Clean the Upholstery

After your stains have been treated, add two to three parts water to your stain-cleaning solution (Note: this is only for upholstery marked W or W/S). Dip a clean sponge in it and wring it out until it's damp, rather than soaked. Gently run the sponge along the headboard, applying light pressure and working from top to bottom.

Step 5: Rinse Out the Soap

Take another clean sponge and run it under clean water, and then wring out excess liquid. Repeat step four using the clean-water sponge, rather than the soapy one. This will remove any leftover soap from the surface of the upholstered bed.

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Step 6: Let It Dry

You're nearly done! Your final step is to let the cleaned headboard dry. You can let the bed air-dry, or you can point a fan on low to help it along. However, do not used heated air to dry to your upholstered headboard.

How to Keep an Upholstered Bed Clean Longer

To keep your upholstered bed clean, you'll need to do two things. First, remember to vacuum or brush it regularly. This will keep grime and dirt from settling it and causing discoloration. Second, have a plan for how to remove a stain quickly—stains are much easier to remove when they're fresh, and a small coffee spill doesn't have to necessitate an entire deep clean of your headboard.