How to Clean Velvet in 5 Easy Steps

Living room with large velvet couch and bird of paradise plant

Amy Bartlam

Incorporating velvet into your home is a great (and easy) way to add a touch of luxury to any space. For one thing, velvet can add depth to a room, unlike standard woven fabrics. Also unlike many other materials, velvet is surprisingly durable—so it's possible that a velvet piece could last you for years to come.

The key to maintaining velvet, as with any other fabric, is making sure you maintain it properly over time. And part of maintenance is understanding how to clean velvet (and how not to clean it). It's super simple, and just requires some gentle dish soap, a vacuum with a soft-bristle attachment or a fabric brush, water, and a cloth.

Whether you have velvet-upholstered furniture, velvet curtains, or any other type of velvet in your home, here's how to clean it, according to the pros.

How Often Should You Clean Velvet?

How often you clean velvet depends on a few factors, the primary one being how dirty the velvet gets on a regular basis. For example, if you have pets or kids, or if you commonly have people over, then you might need to clean your velvet more frequently, whenever it's visibly dirty. If you've got velvet that's not as prone to wear or stains, then you can probably get away with cleaning your velvet pieces less often.

Everyday dirt and debris isn't likely to harm velvet, but if your velvet is stained, it's always best to clean it as quickly as you can after the spill or mess, says Alex Varela, the general manager of Dallas Maids, a Texas-based cleaning company.

Meet the Expert

  • Alex Varela is the general manager of Dallas Maids, a Texas-based cleaning company.
  • Lauren Bowen is the director of franchise operations at Two Maids & A Mop in Alabama.
  • Finn Pegler is the owner of DeluxeMaid in Indianapolis.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum with a soft-bristle attachment or a fabric brush
  • Gentle dish soap
  • Water
  • A lint-free cloth
  • Hairdryer (optional)
  • Steamer (optional)

How to Clean Velvet

The first thing to know about cleaning velvet: while this material is certainly durable for everyday use, it can also be fussy. So when you're cleaning, gentleness is key. "Velvet is very easily damaged, so care must be taken when trying to clean it," says Finn Pegler, owner of DeluxeMaid in Indianapolis. Always test out your cleaning method with a patch test on a small piece of fabric to avoid damage. And, according to Lauren Bowen, director of franchise operations at Two Maids & A Mop, a cleaning company based in Birmingham, AL, always avoid using harsh chemicals (including bleach) on velvet.

A kitchen island with velvet stools

SolStock / Getty Images

Step 1: Brush the Velvet

The first step, Pegler says, is to brush your velvet item with a fabric brush, which will remove any lint or dirt from the fabric's surface. According to Varela, you can also use a vacuum with a soft-bristle attachment to clean the material, although this method may work better on velvet chairs and couches, which may harbor crumbs and other debris in their cracks.

Step 2: Spot Clean

Once you remove debris from the velvet, look for areas of the material that need spot cleaning. Pegler suggests dampening a lint-free cloth with tepid water and gently dabbing the affected area, moving up and down slowly as to avoid embedding the stain in the velvet fibers. You'll need to wait for the fabric to dry fully to see if the spot disappears; Bowen says you can use a hair dryer on the lowest setting to speed along the process.

Step 3: Deep Clean, If Needed

If water alone doesn't take care of the dirty spots on your velvet, you can also use soap. Bowen suggests using a gentle, grease-fighting dish soap. Simply mix two drops of your soap with a cup or two of lukewarm water. Then, dip a lint-free cloth in the washing solution and gently blot the velvet to clean.

Whenever possible, keep velvet out of direct sunlight. Too much light, Varela says, is the main cause for color fading on velvet. If you can't keep your furniture out of the sun, use throw pillows or a blanket to cover the surface when it's sunny.

Step 4: Allow the Velvet to Dry

Once you work away the stains, allow the velvet to dry fully. Pegler says it usually takes a few hours for velvet to dry fully, but you can use your blow dryer to dry spots if needed.

Step 5: Steam the Velvet

Finally, turn on your steamer and steam the velvet against the pile on a gentle setting to remove wrinkles or creases. Since you shouldn't use harsh disinfectants on velvet, steaming is a simple way to stave off lingering germs, too.