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
The best upholstery cleaner you can buy
+ Works fast
+ No scrubbing required
+ Cruelty-free and vegan
- Not suitable for certain fabrics
Although initially meant to be used on clothes, it works wonders on upholstery, from sofas to curtains, carpets and rugs. Soak up moisture and spray sparingly. Leave for 10 minutes and wipe with a damp cloth or if possible pop in your washing machine. Ideal for those times when you're entertaining and a guest accidentally spills something, it works super fast. We found it was effective on wine stains, too. Don't use it on flameproof or waterproof fabrics, velvet, leather, or suede.
The best probiotic upholstery cleaner
+ Vegan & cruelty-free
+ Hand use or with cleaner
- Eye irritant
It's all good and well cleaning upholstered furniture when you've made a small mess, but do you ever worry whether you've truly gotten rid of the bacteria from the source of the spill? If you're concerned that bugs are feeding off food debris, you need this probiotic cleaner in your life. Fill the glass bottle with 450ml water for spot-cleaning or 2 litres for upholstery cleaning.
The best plant-based upholstery cleaner
+ Built-in brush
- Needs rinsing
The pink-capped package might look cute, but boy does it pack a punch when it comes to lifting protein-based stains from clothes and any upholstered furniture that has a removable cover. The built-in brush is super handy at applying just the right amount of product, too. From curry to melted chocolate, it's powerful. Before use, moisten the stain and work it in with the brush. Handwash after.
Best upholstery cleaner for targeted stains
+ Comes with brush to target specific areas
+ Easy to use
+ Ideal for those who have kids or pets
+ Works well on tough stains such as blood, strawberries, and dye
- Some may prefer a spray, and less scrubbing action
We found the Dr. Beckmann Carpet Stain Removercarpet cleaner does a pretty good job at removing anything from red wine spills on the couch, to tea stains on your favourite rug. It was also a great stain removal solution for car seats.
Best solid upholstery cleaner
+ Doesn't smell too strong
+ Cruelty-free and vegan
+ Can also be used on clothes stains
- Some people may not want to get their hands dirty
- Can only be used on fabric
This is the ideal product for those who are trying to cut down their plastic waste since it comes in the form of a bar, and inside a box. The fact it's a bar makes emergency spot removal an easy job, and it can be used on both coloured fabrics and whites. We thought that it worked excellently on clothes as well as the sofa, and used the bar to work on stains before giving it a full cycle in the washing machine.
The best natural upholstery cleaner
+ Works fast
+ Very versatile
+ Can be used around pets
- Scent isn't nice
- No eco-credentials
White vinegar works wonders when it comes to cleaning everything from pet stains to spillages. We've used it to rid our rugs of stains before, and for cleaning our sofa, too. It's also safe to use around pets, though it stinks so you might want to mask its smell with an air freshener. A cupboard staple for sure, whether you have pets or not.
The best upholstery cleaner for pet stains
+ Spray and blot
+ Easy to get hold of
- Most effective on new stains
If you're forever trying to get rid of tough pet stains in your home, then try out Vanish's Pet Expert Carpet Care – for an instant stain solution. Just spray and blot. It doesn’t require a cleaning device or diluting, making it the ideal go-to for those who don’t have the time to mess around with excessive cleaning. While some embedded stains require a tough cleaner to dissolve them, newer stains, such as a spillage or a pet accident should be easy to remove with this carpet/upholstery spray. Use on a pet bed or an armchair that's beginning to smell like wet dog.
Best upholstery cleaner for cars
+ Effective on tough stains
+ Great for vinyl, rubber, and plastic
- Not particularly cost-effective
- Strong smell
- Not suitable on leather
Whether you’re looking to give your car a spring clean or want to make sure it's in pristine condition to sell, Armor All Carpet and Seat Foaming Cleaner should help you to bring your car interior back to its former glory. Spray directly onto the stained area and allow it to set in. For those cleaning a carpet or indoor upholstery fabric, rub gently with a damp cloth or sponge. Any other surface, rinse or wipe with a damp cloth. Be sure to open all your windows while using it, as the formula is quite potent!
The best upholstery cleaner for wool and silk
+ All-natural formula
+ Good for lots of fabrics
- Not suitable for suede
This cleaner claims to be of a professional standard and can permeate your fabrics for super deep cleaning. You can use this cleaner on furniture, car interiors, and even clothing, and shoes thanks to its nonabrasive properties, and it even works on delicate items. So if you're stressing over how to wash silk, or you've spilled something on your cashmere coat – fear not!
The best upholstery cleaning machine
+ Effective on all surfaces
+ Satisfying process
- Requires cleaning
- Shampoo can cause serious eye irritation
A move away from a typical upholstery cleaner, this innovation from Bissell is your one-stop purchase for all types of stains and is an investment in keeping your home, car, or caravan looking great. It uses hot water to lift those nasty stains and comes with two bottles of carpet shampoo. You can pre-treat and spot clean with this cleaner.
Read our full Bissell SpotClean Pro review
Real Homes review process
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.
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 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 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.
- How to clean upholstery? Read our three-step guide to find out
4 things to consider when choosing an upholstery cleaner
Where to buy upholstery cleaner
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.