Best upholstery cleaner 2020: top 8 buys to freshen up your furniture

The best upholstery cleaner will leave sofas and car seats like new – and smelling gorgeous. These are top picks – choose from liquid sprays, foams, and more

The best upholstery cleaner: Dr Beckmann carpet cleaner in use on fabric sofa
blank
(Image credit: Dr Beckmann)

The best upholstery cleaner will help that tired couch look and feel like new again, or will quickly remove that red wine stain from your favorite rug (we've all been there). Even stubborn stains that you'd given up on are no trouble for the hardworking upholstery cleaners on our list – just choose the format you like best. 

When it comes to tackling stains, you'll have two options for getting the job done: A upholstery cleaning product, like a spray or solution, or an upholstery cleaning appliance, like a carpet cleaner or vacuum. Here, we've listed out cleaning products, but we've also tackled the appliance side of things over on our list of the best carpet cleaners, so be sure to check that out, too, if you're looking for a machine that can boost your cleaning power.

The best upholstery cleaners

hoover cleaner

(Image credit: Hoover)

1. Hoover Oxy Tough Stain Remover

Best upholstery cleaner: Oxy-based cleaner works for carpets, furniture, cars, and more

Specifications
Type: Oxygen bleach
Brush included?: Yes
Size: 22 oz.
Reasons to buy
+Fast-acting+Color-safe+Bottle has stream and spray setting+Odor-eliminating

Best for...
Hoover's Oxy Tough Stain Remover works wonders on upholstery, such as sofas and arm chairs, but is also effective on curtains, carpets and rugs.

How to use
First soak up any moisture from the stain and then spray the product immediately, ensuring you cover the entire stain. Leave for 10 minutes and wipe with a damp cloth or if possible pop in your washing machine – it's as simple as that.

Results
Ideal for those times when you're entertaining and a guest accidentally spills something, this stain remover works super fast and is very easy to use. We've seen it remove red wine from a white carpet without leaving a trace; a cleaning closet staple, in our opinion.

Good to know
Like all upholstery cleaners, it's a good idea to test this one in an inconspicuous spot to make sure your furniture is colorfast. Oxygen bleach is typically color-safe, but it's always recommended to double check.

upholstery cleaner

(Image credit: Bissell)

2. Bissell Pawsitively Clean Foaming Power Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Best upholstery cleaner for scrubbing: complete with a brush, this carpet stain remover makes an easy job of tough stains

Specifications
Type: Scrubber
Brush included?: Yes
Size: 12 oz.
Reasons to buy
+Comes with brush+Easy to use+Works very well on pet stains and general marks and dirt.
Reasons to avoid
-Some may prefer a spray

Best for...
Targeting areas. The Bissell Pawsitively Clean Foaming Power Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is ideal for those who have kids or pets and often find themselves cleaning up messes around the house.

How to use
Before using, unscrew the brush head and pierce a small hole in the seal and then screw it back on again. Before applying product on the area that needs cleaning, brush off loose dirt and soak up liquids. Then, hold the bottle so that the brush is touching the stain and lightly squeeze until product comes out. Brush the product into the stain until you see results, and then leave for a few minutes. Remove residue with a damp cloth once done.

Results
This carpet cleaner does a pretty good job at removing almost any stain possible, and we're not just talking about ones on carpets. From red wine spills on the sofa to coffee stains on your favorite rug, and almost literally anything else, while you may have to give the stain a scrub, this cleaner makes life a lot easier when it comes to rescuing furniture and carpet. We love that it comes with a brush, too. It can also be used for easy cleaning of car seats.

Good to know
This product should be stored in an upright position to prevent leaking and the cap should be rinsed after each use.

upholstery cleaner

(Image credit: ECOS)

3. Earth Friendly ECOS Everyday Stain and Odor Remover

Best eco-friendly upholstery cleaner: for environmentally conscious cleaners

Specifications
Type: Spray
Brush included: No
Size: 22 oz.
Reasons to buy
+Vegan and cruelty free+Smells fresh and light+Made from renewable plant extracts
Reasons to avoid
-Can be hard to find in stores

Best for...
Finding a good upholstery cleaner that is also kind to the environment can be a tough task, but this ECOS Lemon Stain and Odor Remover is cruelty free, vegan and carbon neutral. Made from a natural formula of enzymes and plant ingredients, the product cuts through grease, stains and odors on everything from upholstery fabrics and laundry to garbage cans, the fridge, and even carpets. 

How to use
The best part? No rinsing is required. Directions of use change depending on what you're trying to clean, but generally, you simply shake the bottle, spray product directly onto the stain and leave for five minutes. If possible, wash the product in the machine to ensure it's properly clean. If it's carpet, wipe clean and if the stain hasn't lifted, leave overnight. For wood floors, wipe clean after use. For bad odors, leave overnight too.

Results
An invaluable product to every eco-conscious home, this is our top pick of the best eco-friendly upholstery cleaner. It also smells pretty amazing.

Good to know
This stain cleaner is not only non-polluting, but also 100 percent biodegradable.

best upholstery cleaner

(Image credit: Resolve)

4. Resolve Upholstery Cleaner & Stain Remover

Best multi-fabric upholstery cleaner: a cleaner appropriate for sofas, mattresses, drapes and more

Specifications
Type: Spray
Brush included: No
Size: 22 oz.
Reasons to buy
+Effective on all sorts of stains+Works for upholstered furniture, mattresses, and textiles+No need for extra brushes
Reasons to avoid
-Not recommended for velvet, silk, vinyl or leather

Best for...
This easy-to-use spray is amazingly effective at both cleaning and deodorizing upholstery. Reviewers rave about the Resolve Upholstery Cleaner & Stain Remover's success at treating all sorts of stains, from hair dye, to pet stains, to long-set-in marks on vintage pieces.

How to use
Blot the stain, then simply spray over the area that needs cleaning and blot again with a colorfast sponge, cloth or paper towel. If it's a large or stubborn stain, let it the product soak in for five to 15 minutes before blotting.

Results
Impressive! This cleaner exceeded our expectations on numerous different stains and was able to completely eradicate a mess left behind by a sick pet (we'll leave it at that). The light scent is also fresh without being overwhelming. It's a winner.

Good to know
The manufacturer notes that the cleaner works best when used on stains immediately, which is also what we've found in our own experience. 

Best upholstery cleaner for multi-use: Mothers Carpet and Upholstery cleaner in trigger spray bottle

5. Mothers Car Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Best spray upholstery cleaner for cars: don’t forget about your car's interior – keep that clean, too, with this car cleaner

Specifications
Type: Spray
Brush included: No
Size: 24 oz.
Reasons to buy
+ Use on multiple surfaces + Easy to use 
Reasons to avoid
- Not as strong as other cleaners 

Best for...
While marketed as a car cleaner, this Mothers Car Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is actually okay to use on the likes of vinyl, velour, cloth, carpet and even sheepskin, thanks to its pH balanced formula – although make sure you check the label of bottle before use, and use in a hidden area first. 

How to use
Firstly, be sure to vacuum the stained area thoroughly. Liberally spray the cleaner on the stain, leave for a few moments and then scrub the area briskly with a clean sponge or towel. If it has worked, vacuum the area one more time to suck up any debris, and if it hasn't, repeat the process again.

Results
Okay to use in the car and at home, this is a fairly good all-rounder, although not as strong as others, which means tough stains take a few attempts to come out.

Good to know
While it works well on stains, it doesn't quite remove odors from them, so it's best to get some white vinegar spray for that department.

Best upholstery cleaner for your car: ArmorAll Carpet and Seat Foaming Cleaner aerosol

6. Armor All Carpet and Seat Cleaner

Best foaming upholstery cleaner for cars: especially formulated for car upholstery, this cleaner is primed for removing dirt and grease

Specifications
Type: Foam
Brush included: No
Size: 22 oz.
Reasons to buy
+Effective at removing ground in dirt and grease +Also use on vinyl, rubber and plastic
Reasons to avoid
-Not particularly cost effective-Strong smell

Best for...
Whether you’re looking to give your car a spring clean or want to make sure it's in pristine condition to sell, this Armor All Carpet and Seat Foaming Cleaner should help you to bring your car interior back to its former glory. It works on everything from grime left by muddy shoes to grubby hands and leaking shopping bags – it’s no wonder your car's upholstery suffers, right?

How it works
Spray directly on to 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. 

Results
From seats, mats and even your steering wheel (as long as it’s not leather), it should remove marks and stains without fading the material.

Good to know
Unfortunately, a little doesn't go a long way with this product, and it has been known to leave a strong smell if you use too much, so be sure to open all your windows while using!

Best upholstery cleaner for carpet steam cleaners: Hoover Platinum Collection detergent in large handled pouring bottle

7. Hoover Platinum Collection Carpet & Upholstery Detergent

Best machine upholstery cleaner: make easy work out of tough stains with this hard-core upholstery cleaner

Specifications
Type: Carpet cleaner
Brush included: No
Size: 50 oz.
Reasons to buy
+Professional strength +Approved by the Carpet and Rug Institute 
Reasons to avoid
-Too tough for some fabrics-Pricey-Not ideal for quick-clean ups

Best for...
Hoover promises that this Platinum Collection Carpet & Upholstery Detergent, once added to the right carpet cleaning machine, can tackle the likes of grass stains, blood, vomit and the implications of unavoidable accidents from pets and children. Professional strength, it’s a tough one, so you’ll need to make sure that your fabric can handle it before you use it by reading the label and making sure to test in a hidden area first. 

How to use
First of all, you need to vacuum your floor thoroughly. Then, mix up five ounces of detergent to one gallon of hot tap water and add to your machine. You should test it on a patch area before cleaning an entire room, and wait ten minutes before blotting to ensure no color comes off.

Results
This strong upholstery cleaner makes an easy job of removing the toughest of stains, however it requires more work than our first choice. It does, however, work wonders on pet stains and smells. Reviewers certainly make it out to be a worthwhile investment, though, which is why it's our top pick of the very best upholstery cleaner you can buy.

Good to know
Hoover recommend that you use this upholstery detergent alongside its spot cleaner, so it could be a fairly big investment if you haven’t already bought the device.

hoover carpet cleaner

(Image credit: Hoover)

8. Hoover Paws & Claws Deep Cleaning Carpet Cleaner Shampoo with Stainguard Solution

Best machine upholstery cleaner for pet stains: Neutralizes pet odors and protects against future stains

Specifications
Type: Carpet cleaner
Brush included: N
Size: 32oz., 64oz.
Reasons to buy
+Protects against future stains+Cleaning agents break down stains
Reasons to avoid
-Fragrance lingers for about a day

Best for...

This is the best upholstery cleaner for getting rid of things like pet stains or potty-training accidents, because it contains enzymatic agents that break down the root of the stain. It's ideal, say, if you have a dog that repeatedly pees in the same spot and you want to neutralize the odor to stop the cycle.

If you've used Hoover's PetPlus cleaner, consider this an upgrade as it also has StainGuard technology that helps prevent future stains. 

How to use is

This solution works best in a carpet or upholster cleaner (we used it with the Hoover SmartWash Pet Complete Automatic Carpet Cleaner). You simply pour it into the detergent reservoir on your carpet cleaner, turn the machine on, and clean. If your machine has a brush tool, we recommend using that to scrub the product into tough stains. 

Results

This upholstery cleaner was all we needed to lift everyday dirt and stains from our off-white sofa. For a tougher stain, we pretreated the stain with Hoover Oxy Spot and Stain pre-treater first, then went over it with this solution in our carpet cleaner's brush tool. When we were done, the stain was nearly invisible.

Reviewers around the internet agree that it packs a cleaning punch, with one Amazon user saying, "I have a cat pee problem. I have tried literally every product out there, and this is the first one that really works. It is actually neutralizing the cat pee smell. I can't believe it. I'm thrilled." Need we say more? 

Good to know

While we liked the results of this product when paired with the Hoover SmartWash Pet Complete carpet cleaner, you can use this product with other brands of carpet or upholstery cleaner, too. 

How to buy the best upholstery cleaner

Choose the right upholstery cleaner for the material
Whether your upholstery is a natural fiber or synthetic a good upholstery cleaner will work its way deep into the fabric to give it a complete refresh. But, before you buy a product, check that it will suit the material you're cleaning. Leather upholstery, for example, can be easily cleaned of discoloration or marks, but you must use a leather cleaner rather than an all-purpose upholstery cleaner to bring it back to its former glory. 

Read the care instructions
Before you use any upholstery cleaner, you’ll need to make sure you read the label 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. 

Application
In our list of the best upholstery cleaners, we’ve provided you with a combination of shampoos, sprays and aerosols so you can choose the best cleaning method for you. Before you buy, make sure you double check the ingredients, and test it out on a hidden part of your furniture first to make sure that there are no adverse effects. 

More upholstery cleaning advice: