8 Best Upholstery Cleaners – Best Upholstery Cleaner Reviews



The upholstered furniture in your den, dining and living areas is made for, well, living. And with all that wear and tear, it’s bound to get dirty. Regular vacuuming with the upholstery tool is a must to remove dust and loose dirt from a fabric’s surface, but sometimes your upholstered furniture needs more.

When we test upholstery cleaners in the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, we evaluate how well they remove food, dirt, and oily stains we’ve applied to a variety of typical upholstery fabrics. We also check for any fabric damage the cleaners may cause, how easy the cleaners are to use and rinse away, how clear the directions are, and for any safety or cautionary warnings that must be on the product’s label. These are the best upholstery cleaners in Good Housekeeping tests for fabric and leather upholstery:

Best Overall Upholstery Cleaner: Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
Best Leather Upholstery Cleaner and Protector: Furniture Clinic Leather Care Kit
Best Upholstery Cleaner for Red Wine Stains: Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover
Best Leather Upholstery Cleaning Wipes: Weiman Leather Wipes
Best Upholstery Cleaner for Pet Stains: Bissell Professional Pet Stain and Odor Remover
Best Upholstery Cleaner for Pet Hair: Scotch-Brite Large Surface Roller
Best Upholstery Cleaner for Stains: Woolite INSTAclean Stain Remover
Best Upholstery Cleaner for Delicate Fabrics:
Capture and Rug Dry Cleaner

Upholstery is trickier to clean than carpet because it can be made from a wide variety of fibers and fabrics. Some, like synthetic microfiber or cotton chenille, can be cleaned with most products. Silk damask, on the other hand, could be damaged when cleaned with a water-based method. So before you grab any old cleaner from your cabinet and start spraying, it’s a must to know what type of cleaning process is safest for the fabric covering your chair. Check the care tag on your upholstered furniture before you clean it so you know exactly how to clean your couch. A quick cheat sheet:

  • W: Water-based cleaning solutions are safe to use
  • S: Only solvent-based cleaning solutions are safe to use
  • WS: Both water- and solvent-based cleaning solutions are safe to use
  • X: Neither water- nor solvent-based cleaning solutions are safe to use. Only vacuuming or professional cleaning are safe.

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Best Overall Upholstery Cleaner

Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner



Easy-to-store and easy-to-tote from room to room, Bissell’s Little Green can remove just one stain or clean an entire sofa. Simply fill the clean tank with water and one of Bissell’s cleaning formulas. Then, dispense the solution through the nozzle, gently scrub with the soft brush, and vacuum it all back into the dirty water tank for easy emptying. In our tests, this GH Seal star made quick work or removing stains without damaging fabrics or carpet and ii picks up spills faster and more thoroughly than you can with a cloth. The Bissell Little Green also carries our Green Good Housekeeping Seal.  

Best for fabrics coded: W and WS 


Best Leather Upholstery Cleaner and Protector

Leather Care Kit

Furniture Clinic


Leather upholstery is more forgiving and easier to care for than fabric, but it does need attention from time to time. GH Seal star Furniture Clinic’s Leather Care Kit is a one-two punch that removes grime and conditions and protects against future stains. In our tests, the cleaner removed grime embedded in the grain and erased blue dye from jeans that had transferred to a leather car seat. The protector left our leather seats and swatches supple and shiny and helped make ink marks we applied afterward easier to remove. The kit includes an applicator sponge and buffing cloth.   


Best Upholstery Cleaner for Red Wine Stains

Red Wine Stain Remover

Upholstery and wine stains seem to go hand in hand. Wine Away was the best red wine stain remover in GH Cleaning Lab tests. It completely removed fresh stains and lightened set-in ones so well they could be easily washed or rinsed away. Wine Away was easy to remove from fabrics without excessive blotting or rinsing that can abrade or damage fabrics. And don’t just keep it for upholstery stains. Wine Away works on clothing and carpeting, too.   

Best for fabrics coded: W and WS


Best Leather Upholstery Cleaning Wipes

Leather Wipes

For a quick spruce-up of leather upholstery, nothing beats Weiman’s wipes. Convenient to use and always handy, GH Seal star Weiman Leather Wipes clean away grime and condition leather upholstery, ottomans, car interiors and more with just a pass. Oils in the wipe soften the leather and impart shine. UV protectants help keep the sun’s rays from drying out leather car seats or chairs  located near a window or glass door. In GH tests, Weiman’s wipes were effective and easy to use and are a great way to maintain and protect leather on a regular basis and without a lot of work.

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Best Upholstery Cleaner for Pet Stains

Professional Stain & Odor Stain Remover



Pet stains are problematic for two reasons. It’s not just that the stain looks bad, but that the odor — if left untreated — draws Fluffy or Scout back to do their business on the same spot again. This GH Seal star Bissell formula contains enzymes that attack both the stain and the odor pet messes leave behind. After using it to erase the stain, place a moist cloth over the area and let it set 12 to 72 hours. This keeps the enzymes working to completely eradicate the smell and to throw your pet off the trail. In GH tests, Bissell did a great job removing food stains, too, and works just as well on carpeting. 

Best for fabrics coded: W and WS


Best Upholstery Cleaner for Pet Hair

Large and Wide Surface Roller



Big surfaces covered with pet hair call for drastic measures. Ditch your little lint roller for this oversized one from Scotch-Brite. Because it’s wide — not narrow — it’s more comfortable to hold and covers cushions and chair backs more quickly and with less wrist twisting than a smaller roller requires. Pet hair clings to fabrics with static electricity, so the sheets on Scotch-Brite’s roller are 50% stickier to pick up more hair with fewer passes. Scotch-Brite tools always do well in GH tests. They are well made with quality components and this one is no exception. Thanks to it’s horizontal configuration, it’s easy to use on stairs, too.

Best for fabrics coded: W, WS, S, and X

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Best Upholstery Cleaner for Stains

INSTAclean Stain Remover



Blotting is a key first step to successfully removing upholstery stains, but usually you need to do more. Woolite’s Instaclean stain remover contains ingredients to penetrate and break up stains on contact. Simply apply, let set one minute and blot. Hydrogen peroxide in the formula acts like a fabric-safe bleach to fade stains like tomato sauce, coffee, fruit juice and more without damaging the fabric. In our tests, Woolite stain removers work quickly and thoroughly without the need for extra rinsing or blotting. Woolite Instaclean works on carpets and rugs, too.

Best for fabrics coded: W and WS    


Best Upholstery Cleaner for Delicate Fabrics

Capture Carpet & Rug Dry Cleaner



Silk and other delicate fabrics labeled with an S code can’t be cleaned with traditional water-based products, so they are not the best choices for high traffic and frequently used rooms. When regular vacuuming with the upholstery tool isn’t enough, Capture’s dry powder formula can freshen and brighten delicate fabrics with0ut damage. Liberally sprinkle Capture on the cushions, back, armrests and even fresh stains and gently brush it in. Let set 30 minutes for the granules to absorb dirt and stains, then vacuum. Capture can be used to clean carpets, too, and is recommended for upholstery, included S-coded fabrics coded. 

While we haven’t specifically tested this Capture powder on upholstery, the product has been on the market for many years and based on our previous good results testing it on carpeting and it’s favorable online reviews, we are comfortable recommending it for upholstery. For un-removed or set-in stains on S-code fabrics, it’s best to call in a professional.

Best for fabrics coded: W, S, and WS

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