Best upholstery cleaner: 10 products for thorough furniture cleaning

Tackle tough stains with little effort

Best upholstery cleaners from Astonish, Ecover and Nookery
(Image credit: Future)

Are you on the hunt for the best upholstery cleaner for banishing those stubborn stains? We've tried and tested a range of upholstery cleaners, from sprays to powders, to help you keep your fabrics, whether your curtains or a favourite rug, looking as spotless as when you first bought them. Having one of these cleaners under your sink means you can get more life out of your furnishings, and not have to worry about replacing expensive buys.

Handy to have for those times that a glass of red wine accidentally goes over a white carpet, or for when the dog trails through the house with muddy paws, you can be prepared and eradicate the risk of staining. Once you've found something below that suits your needs, consider investing in the best vacuum cleaner or a good handheld vac to go alongside it – a good clean starts with removing dust, crumbs, and pet hair, of course, to get rid of anything that can be swept off the surface.

The best upholstery cleaners

Real Homes review process

Image of Upholstery cleaer Bissell SpotClean being tested at home

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

At Real Homes, the process of how we test and rank products is at the forefront of what we do. In order to give you our honest opinions, we tried out the majority of the picks on this list in our own homes and paid careful attention to all of the crucial details. We used them on a wide range of fabrics and tested their abilities against all kinds of stains. When all that was done, it allowed us to rank these products so that you have a smoother buying experience.

Meet our testers below.

Image of Molly Cleary author photo
Molly Cleary

Molly loves trying out all of the newest and well-regarded cleaning products to see how they stack up. She lives in a two-bedroom flat in West London and has tested out a fair amount of cleaners within this guide in order to spruce up her less than aesthetically pleasing carpets and sofas.

It has to be said that her favourite pick from this list by far is the Bissell SpotClean Pro Upholstery Cleaner (opens in new tab), which is the most satisfying appliance you'll ever use. Using fresh water, you can use it on your upholstery and carpets to dredge up new and historic dirt and dust, and then feel the satisfaction of emptying the brown sludgy water into the sink afterwards. Once you've tried it for yourself, you'll never want to switch back.

 She's also a fan of the excellent Astonish Stain Remover Bar (opens in new tab) for when you need to seriously scrub a stain away. When it comes to cleaning her car, she's also a fan of the Furniture Clinic & Uphostery Spray (opens in new tab), which is really easy to apply, has a water-based solution and gives great results without being too harsh.

Christina author photo
Christina Chrysostomou

Christina lives in a 2-bedroom maisonette, just a stone's throw away from Epping Forest, and some of Essex's best eateries. While this sounds all good and well, it often means that she brings in the occasional grass stain from her foliage-filled walks, or finds herself frequently blotting sauce and beverage stains off her sofa.

Christina loves the Nookary (opens in new tab) range and is really impressed with the added probiotic ingredients. Though she lives in the countryside, commuting on the London underground can be quite germy, so every little helps when staying healthy and looking after her immune system. Ecover stain remover is another under-the-sink essential for her. She uses it to target stubborn foundation stains on her blouses, and clean her cushions when she's used them as a lap tray for lazy weekend brunches.

Annie Collyer illustration
Annie Collyer

Annie lives in a two-bedroom flat in South East London with her two pets and her husband-to-be. With several white rugs and a linen sofa, she's forever on the lookout for upholstery cleaners and stain removers. 

Annie has forever, since she moved out years ago, used the Astonish Stain Remover to clean up spills. It has worked on everything, from red wine on her sofa to dog sick on her rug (nice!). It's also easy to use and she loves its eco credentials. Otherwise, she swears by Stardrops' White Vinegar spray for targeting stains, naturally. Though it smells, it works a treat and is safe to use around her pets, too.

What is the best upholstery cleaner?

TheAstonish Fabric Stain Remover (opens in new tab) is our top pick: it's marketed as a stain remover and is great at zapping even bad stains, but it's also a great all-around upholstery refresher, so essentially is a two-in-one product.

4 things to consider when choosing an upholstery cleaner

Where to buy upholstery cleaner

Amazon upholstery cleaners (opens in new tab)
Lakeland upholstery cleaners (opens in new tab)
The Range upholstery cleaners (opens in new tab)
Robert Dyas upholstery cleaners (opens in new tab)
Wiko upholstery cleaners (opens in new tab)

Does it have a built-in scrubber or brush?
Do your little ones often leave trails, staining sofas and carpets on their way? Well, when a crisis strikes, act accordingly. An upholstery cleaner that comes with a scrubber is always a sight for sore eyes when your youngsters have destroyed that newly bought furnishing. Tough stains like fruit juices or mud – and anything else that makes you shudder – are handled without stress.

Don't forget to read instructions
When you're cleaning upholstery with a commercial cleaner, you’ll need to make sure you read the label (or the paperwork) that came with your furniture so you can ensure that you’re not going to damage the material – some furniture will require a water-based cleaner, while others require water-free products and others may advise against using an upholstery cleaner altogether. Always do a patch test on a hidden part of your furniture first if you are not sure. You'll also want to ensure you read the instructions on the back of the bottle, too, to check it can be used on your upholstery type.

Consider size and price
When looking to buy an upholstery cleaner – in store or online – you can often find bigger bottles at a more cost-effective price. These big bottles can be found at Amazon in particular, making them incredibly accessible for those who prefer not to head to the supermarket shelves, or need an upholstery cleaner pronto! Just be sure to consider where you will store a larger bottle. Concentrate cleaners are also easier on the wallet, too, as they require diluting to use.

Christina joined the Real Homes team as a digital writer in June 2021. Prior to this, she worked for Good Homes magazine and home interest events including the Ideal Home Show and Grand Designs Live. She lives close to Epping Forest and is spoiled for choice with lush green spaces, but loves her own English garden that adjoins her ground-floor maisonette, complete with a floral melange of roses, lavender, jasmine, and an apple tree.

With contributions from