Sick of stained sofas and grubby rugs? Restore your fabrics and furnishings with the best upholstery cleaners
If you’re reading this article, then you may have come to realise why it’s always good to have a bottle or two of best upholstery cleaner in your cleaning cupboard. Whether it’s a dreaded red wine stain on your new sofa or many months of pet- and child-related grubbiness that’s built up on your furniture, the top upholstery cleaners can work wonders. Indeed, choose wisely and using an upholstery cleaner should feel a little bit like magic. Strong stains, worked-in grime or everyday dirt should all lift straight off with the right product – it’s simply a case of using the best cleaner for the job at hand.
So, if you want to revive the fabrics in your home or car, or have a specific stubborn stain you’ve been tackling, check out our list below. We have assembled the strongest, most eco-friendly and best all-round solutions for any of your problematic upholstery, including dedicated spot-cleaning machines for serious stain-removing power. We’ll explain the key things to look out for in our buying guide below, and our mini-reviews of the cleaning products further down the page will give you the lowdown on each of the top cleaners.
Best upholstery cleaner: At a glance
- Best all-round upholstery cleaner: Dr. Beckmann’s Upholstery Cleaner with Brush
- Best cleaner for pet stains: Simple Solution Extreme Pet Stain & Odour Remover
- Best upholstery cleaner for leather: Furniture Clinic – Leather Ultra Clean
- Best upholstery cleaner for tough stains: HG Stain Remover Extra Strong
- Best powder carpet cleaner: Vanish Oxi Action
How to choose the best upholstery cleaner for you
What kind of product do I need to clean my upholstery?
For day-to-day dirt build-up and everyday stains, it’s probably best to go for a well-priced, all-round product. If you have a lot of rugs or carpeting in your house it can pay dividends to buy a multifunctional product that can tackle these as well.
If you have pets or small children and regularly have to deal with tough stains such as chocolate, grass, ketchup, permanent marker, pet mess and red wine, then a more robust cleaner will be necessary as ordinary cleaners won’t be able to cope.
If you’re regularly dealing with really tough stains and large surface areas, you should consider a dedicated cleaning machine such as a spot cleaner or a carpet cleaner. We’ve included a couple of affordable spot cleaners in this roundup, but you should also take a look at our guide to the best carpet cleaners.
Do different fabrics require dedicated cleaners?
While many cleaners are formulated to work safely on most types of fabric, it’s essential to read the label on a product before applying it in your home. Always perform a spot test on a small patch of inconspicuous fabric and wait to see if it causes any issues. This way you can be extra sure that a product won’t damage the texture or colour of your soft furnishings.
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When cleaning a more delicate material such as wool or leather, ensure that you use a gentle cleaning product, or one specifically made to be used on that material. Using the wrong upholstery cleaner on delicate items can result in damage, so it pays to be careful.
Are there gentler cleaners available for those with allergies or pets?
In short: yes! Products designed for those with allergies and sensitivities, or pets and small children, are now more readily available than ever. As always, it pays to check the label and fine print to make sure the product is correct for your needs.
As an extra eco-friendly bonus, these kinds of cleaning products are often produced by companies that keep a close eye on their environmental footprint, so they are usually formulated to be gentle on the environment and likely to come in recyclable or sustainable containers.
READ NEXT: Our guide to the best stain remover
The best upholstery cleaner to buy in 2023
1. Dr. Beckmann Upholstery Cleaner & Brush: The best all-round upholstery cleaner
Price when reviewed: £2.10 | Check price at AmazonSuitable for tough and dried-in staining such as red wine spills, coffee stains and pet mess, Dr. Beckmann’s Carpet Cleaner is one of the best all-round picks for cleaning your upholstery. This versatile product can be used on sofas, car seats, mattresses and more.
A few things we like about this cleaner is that it gets to work quickly, works to combat unpleasant odours and is gentle on colours and fibres, so fabrics and textiles stay clean, vibrant and fresh. Best of all, the cleaning brush attached to the top of the bottle makes it easy to work the cleaning foam into furnishings and lift out dirt and stains.
Key details – Size: 400ml; Suitable for: Home and car upholstery; Form: Foam
2. Ecover Stain Remover: The best eco-friendly upholstery cleaner
Price when reviewed: £2.52 | Check price at Big Green Smile
This stain remover from Ecover is primarily designed to remove stains from clothes, but it’s also suitable for upholstery and other fabrics.
This enzyme-based cleaner is gentle and eco-friendly thanks to a formula of plant-based, biodegradable ingredients. According to Ecover, this product can tackle grease, blood and oil stains, which means it packs a punch despite its delicate formulation. The only limitation is that it’s not suitable for delicate fabrics such as wool or silk.
Some great features that earned it a spot on this list are the easy recyclability of its packaging, vegan-friendly status, and the handy applicator brush that comes with every bottle.
Key details – Size: 200ml; Suitable for: Clothes, carpets and upholstery; Form: Liquid
3. Vax SpotWash Spot Cleaner: The best affordable spot cleaner for upholstery
Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at John LewisIf you find yourself regularly dealing with tough stains all over the house, your average spray-bottle cleaner may be stretched too thin. A dedicated spot cleaning machine, such as the Vax SpotWash Spot Cleaner, can save you untold time and effort when cleaning your carpets and upholstery.
This slimline machine has a 1.5-litre capacity and comes with multiple attachments that allow it to lift stains off carpets, car seats, upholstery and even hard floors. It has a practical design, with a long power cord and 1.5m hose that allow you to clean difficult to reach areas around your home. Coming with a two-year warranty and a bottle of dedicated cleaning solution, the Vax SpotWash offers machine fabric cleaning at an affordable price.
Key specs – Capacity: 1.5L (clean), 1L (dirty); Suitable for: Carpets, upholstery, stairs and hard floors; Weight: 3.89kg
4. Bissell Spot Clean Pro Carpet Cleaner: The best high-end spot cleaner for upholstery
Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at John LewisThis spot cleaner from Bissell is a compact cleaner designed to tackle the worst stains around the house. Using water, detergent and specially designed attachments, it can tackle everything from stained settees and dog beds to high-traffic stairs and muddy car boots. It has the size and power to tackle a full home clean with its 2.8L capacity and 750W of power, but it’s easy to move from room to room as required.
This model also has some great pet-specific features. Its stain trapper tool is cleverly designed, picking up pet mess and depositing it in a separate, twist-off compartment for easy disposal. It also comes with a bottle of detergent formulated to remove pet stains and odours. These features, along with a three-year manufacturer’s guarantee, provide enough premium features to justify the premium price.
Key specs – Capacity: 2.8L (clean), 2.2L (dirty); Suitable for: Carpet, upholstery, stairs, all car surfaces; Weight: 5.8kg
5. Vanish Oxi Action: The best powder cleaning product for upholstery
Price when reviewed: £10 | Check price at Amazon
Sometimes we don’t have the time, space or budget for a range of specific products. This powder-based cleaner from Vanish is a staple in many households for a reason – it’s a highly effective carpet cleaner that can also be used to target stains on your upholstery.
The shake and clean powder allows you to combine hoovering and carpet cleaning for simplicity, and can be as easily applied to your soft furnishings. It’s a good general cleaner for removing dirt, odour and stains, and the added conditioners in the formula that soften and enliven your fabrics make it a great option for those looking to do a lot with a little.
Key details – Size: 650g; Suitable for: Carpets and upholstery; Form: Powder
6. Simple Solution Extreme: The best upholstery cleaner for pet stains
Price when reviewed: £11 | Check price at Amazon
This pet stain and odour remover from Simple Solution is a stronger version of its normal formula, and is specially designed to target pet messes such as urine, faeces and vomit. While it’s tough on these stains, when used as directed it’s safe around children and pets.
This upholstery cleaner uses friendly bacteria and enzymes to break down stains and odours, which can help discourage repeated marking of a spot by a pet looking to claim its territory. It’s safe to use on upholstery, bedding, clothing and any water-safe surface in your home. A neat feature of this product is its 3-in-1 nozzle, which allows you to use it as a stream, foam or mist to specifically tackle surface cleaning, worked-in stains and odours.
Key details – Size: 945ml; Suitable for: Upholstery, clothes, bedding and carpets; Form: Spray
7. Simoniz Car Upholstery Cleaner: The best upholstery cleaner for car seats
Price when reviewed: £4.39 | Check price at Toolstation For those of you who travel a lot or are always running errands, your car can become like a second home. And if you want to keep that second home as spotless as your first, you’ll need the right upholstery cleaner.
This car upholstery cleaner from Simoniz removes worn-in dirt and food stains from your fabric, leather and vinyl car seats, as well as floor mats. The brush head on top of the bottle is durable and tough enough to easily brush away dirt and stains, and does a good job of getting into all the dirt-trapping nooks and crannies.
Key details – Size: 400ml; Suitable for: Car upholstery; Form: Foam
8. Furniture Clinic Leather Ultra Clean: The best upholstery cleaner for leather
Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Amazon
While this leather cleaner from Furniture Clinic might be one of the higher-priced products on our list, we think it’s worth the expense. High-quality leather upholstery and goods can be expensive, and this cleaner can help restore them to pristine condition. This water-based cleaner can be used on all varieties and colours of leather, so after you’ve spruced up your upholstery you can use it on your clothes, car seats, boots or handbags.
We like products that are safe yet effective, and this cleaner ticks both those boxes: it’s free from solvents and abrasives, yet a quick application and gentle scrub still removes ingrained dirt and stains easily.
Key details – Size: 500ml; Suitable for: All leather types and colours (except suede); Form: Liquid
9. HG Stain Remover Extra Strong: The best upholstery cleaner for tough stains
Price when reviewed: £7.65 | Check price at Amazon
This extra strong stain remover from HG is the toughest and most no-nonsense detergent on our list of recommendations. It’s formulated to be as strong as possible on stain removal while still being gentle on your sofas, curtains and rugs. The strength of this product makes it a doddle to use: it works quickly and allows stains to be wiped away with just an absorbent cloth.
Unlike other products, this spray doesn’t require any pre-treatment or dilution to take on everything from grease and lipstick to pen or shoe polish. It also has mild dirt-repellent properties, meaning that whatever you spray it on will be easier to clean next time.
Key details – Size: 500ml; Suitable for: Upholstery, carpet, car interiors, fabrics; Form: Spray