Best upholstery cleaner 2022: 5 best buys for stain removal and refreshing furniture

The best upholstery cleaner will leave sofas and car seats like new — and smelling sensational

Best upholstery cleaners yellow graphic: Hoover Oxy Tough Stain Remover spray, Carbona Pro Care Oxy Powered Outdoor Cleaner and Earth Friendly ECOS Everyday Stain and Odor Remover
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(Image credit: Future)

The best upholstery cleaner will refresh your furniture and help remove stains from your favorite couch, armchair, or even your car seats. From sprays to foams and powders and even dedicated appliances, we have chosen the products that get the job done, whether it's a general refresh or the aftermath of a spill that needs removing. 

There are dozens of upholstery cleaners on the market, but which ones come in as the best upholstery cleaners? Well, that's where our team comes into play. To achieve the deepest clean possible, we've tested these products out in our own homes to give you the lowdown on how they performed before you go out and get buying. Our number one spot is actually dedicated to one best carpet cleaners (with our separate guide having lots of alternatives) thanks to the fact it has excellent upholstery cleaning capabilities too, with the rest of this list dedicated to more affordable spray and scrub cleaners. So, dive into the best options on the market below according to our testing process so that you can judge for yourself which one would suit you.


The best upholstery cleaners

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Image of Bissell Spot CleanReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Bissell)
The best upholstery cleaning machine

Specifications

Type: Carpet cleaner with upholstery attachment
Brush included?: Yes
Size : 3/4 gallon capacity

Reasons to buy

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Excellent for stain removal 
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Huge capacity for tackling furniture and carpets in one sitting
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Tough Stain tool works wonders

Reasons to avoid

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An expensive investment compared to bleach sprays

What is it best for?
This is an extremely versatile appliance, good for everything from carpet cleaning to eradicating marks on your stairs. When it comes to upholstery, it's best for ridding your sofas or car seats from stains and dirt, with a suction system that can really bring up embedded grime that the eye can't see. 

How to use
As we delve into in our review, we found using this machine unbelievably easy. You simply need to fill up the (absolutely huge) water tank, top up with detergent and then plug in your machine and get going. Using the included brush attachment, you use the trigger to wet the intended area, and then watch as the tool satisfyingly cleans up any stains or marks. The whole process is so pleasing to watch, with your dirty water tank steadily filling up as you go.

Results
You'll be astounded with what the suction on this machine can do, with the capability of revitalizing your favorite fabrics, your furniture, your carpets and even the inside of your car. You can see just how much dirt you've pulled up thanks to the two-tank system.

Good to know
This is a carpet cleaning machine by nature, with the capability to tackle upholstery just as well too. It is more expensive than a spray cleaner, and quite bulky weighing in at 13.25lbs, but if you can afford to invest, you'll have the handiest tool for cleaning up messes all around your home.

the best upholstery cleaner by bissell

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Bissell Pawsitively Clean Foaming Power Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Best carpet cleaner for those with pets

Specifications

Type: Scrubber
Brush included?: Yes
Size: 12 oz

Reasons to buy

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Comes with brush
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Easy to use
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It works very well on pet stains, general marks and dirt
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Ann inexpensive solution

Reasons to avoid

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Some may prefer a spray or a more intensive system to get rid of stains

What is it best for?
Targeting trouble areas in your home. 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 the product to 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 the 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.

the best upholstery cleaner from resolveReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Resolve Upholstery Cleaner & Stain Remover

The best multi-fabric upholstery cleaner for sofas and mattresses

Specifications

Type: Spray
Brush included: No
Size: 22 oz

Reasons to buy

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Effective on all sorts of stains
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Works for upholstered furniture, mattresses, and textiles
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No need for extra brushes

Reasons to avoid

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Not recommended for velvet, silk, vinyl or leather

What is it 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. 

hoover carpet cleanerReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Hoover)

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

The best machine upholstery cleaner for stains

Specifications

Type: Carpet cleaner
Brush included: No
Size: 32oz., 64oz.

Reasons to buy

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Protects against future stains
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Cleaning agents break down stains
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Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

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Fragrance lingers for about a day

What is it 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 it
This solution works best in a carpet or upholstery 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. 

Carbona outdoor cleanerReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Carbona)

5. Carbona Pro Care Oxy Powered Outdoor Cleaner

The best outdoor upholstery cleaner

Specifications

Type: Outdoor cleaner
Brush included: Yes
Size: 22 oz.

Reasons to buy

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Multipurpose outdoor cleaner
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Biodegradable and nontoxic
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Built-in scrub brush
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Safe for nearby grass and plants

Reasons to avoid

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Some stains required a lot of elbow grease to remove

What is it best for?
Carbona Pro-Care Oxy Powered Outdoor Cleaner works on almost any outdoor textile you can think of. We tried it on a canvas umbrella and mildew spots on our outdoor chair cushions, but Amazon users claim it also works wonders on outdoor area rugs, too.

If you're looking for an all-purpose outdoor cleaner, it can also be used on play equipment, PVC, brick, and statues. 

How to use it
Simply squeeze the product through the brush head, and scrub. We let the solution sit for a few minutes in the sun, then sprayed everything off with a garden hose. 

Results
This cleaner deftly tackled mildew spots and wear on striped patio cushions that had been left outside all summer. We did note that the stains on the white stripes required a little more attention to fully remove. 

Amazon reviewers agree that it works. Says one," I highly recommend this product! My outdoor rug looked terrible after a summer with a lot of rain. The spots came up almost immediately with not a lot of effort. I thought I would have to throw the rug away, but now it's good for at least another year."

Good to know
This product worked great to spot-clean stains and scrub down smaller chair cushions, but if you're looking to clean a large piece like an outdoor sofa, we recommend squirting the product onto a larger brush to make the job easier. 


How we tested these cleaners

Image of Upholstery cleaer Bissell SpotClean being tested at home

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

At Real Homes, we know that you want to do your research before you buy, which is why we've put a lot of time into how we test the products we recommend, so you know you can trust our rankings. In this case, all of these products except for one have been tested by one of our teams, and you can find their thoughts below each product on what their experience was like, including how each cleaner battled stains. In many cases, the cleaners that we used were favorites of ours already, or were able to be kept for long term testing, like in the case of the Bissell SpotClean machine. 

What to consider when buying an upholstery cleaner?

Find the right solution for your 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 that you are 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. 

Be sure to read the directions carefully
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. In some cases, some furniture will require a water-based cleaner, while others require water-free products, and others may advise against using an upholstery cleaner altogether. 

Double-check the 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. Lastly, double-check the ingredients and test it out on a hidden part of your furniture first. This way you are confident that it will have no adverse effects. 

Molly Cleary
Ecommerce Writer, Homes

Molly is the Ecommerce Writer for RealHomes and spends her time searching the internet for the next best thing for your home. With previous experience within the Home section of TopTenReviews, another Future site, writing about everything from ride-on lawnmowers to robot hoovers, she has knowledge of all of those niche areas of your home and garden that you might need a new purchase for. Shopping and buying content are now her biggest area of focus, with an emphasis on cleaning products and home gym equipment. 



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