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Your furniture is filthy—here's how to clean it

We're all guilty of neglecting our furniture, here's how to keep it pristine.

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When was the last time you cleaned your mattress? How about your leather couch? As the warmer seasons roll in, it’s probably high time to give all your furniture a once over. Cleaning not only lessens allergens, but also helps prolong the life of your furniture.

However, it can tough and daunting since furniture covers such a wide variety of materials. It’s obvious you’re not going to use the same cleaner on metal as you do on leather, but the distinction narrows when it comes to wicker and hardwood. In this article, we’re going to break down what you need and how to clean the most common furniture material.

Your Mattress

Your vacuum is the front line against dust and mites trapped in your mattress.

What you'll need: Vacuum and baking soda

  1. Remove all bedding and place in the washer. We recommend washing your sheets on the Sanitize cycle if you have one. The Sanitize cycle will help kill bacteria and mites that live in your sheets.

  2. After washing your sheets, you should wash your pillows with warm water and gentle spin. We also have an article with more detailed instructions.

  3. The best way to clean your mattress is to actually use your vacuum. We'd suggest using a hand vacuum like the Black and Decker BDH2000PL, which is the best value pick from our review of the best cordless vacuums.

  4. Sprinkle some baking soda on your mattress to help absorb odors. It's best to leave it there for several hours, then vacuum up the powder.

Glass surfaces and mirrors

You need to first use alcohol then vinegar for a streak-free shine.

What you'll need: Vinegar, hot water, rubbing alcohol, microfiber cloth

  1. Create the perfect glass-cleaning solution with one part vinegar and four parts hot water.

  2. Wet a rag with some rubbing alcohol. Use this to treat hot spots on the mirror.

  3. Wet a microfiber cloth with the cleaning solution and wipe down the glass.

  4. Check your mirror from multiple angles to make sure you've got everything cleaned up; repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed.


Remember that even the unseen side of your couch can cause odors.

What you'll need: Vacuum, liquid dish soap, water, baking soda, sponge

  1. The first step is to vacuum every inch of the couch to get rid of all debris. This includes the underside of cushions, the back of the couch, and the floor on which it sits.

  2. Use your favorite fabric cleaner on a sponge to dab spots and blotches. We suggest ForceField as an affordable upholstery cleaner. If you don't have a go-to cleaner, we suggest using a mixture of liquid dishwasher soap, water, and a pinch of baking soda.

  3. Sprinkle baking soda on and under the cushions to absorb odors. Leave the soda there for at least 15 minutes or overnight for best results.

  4. Finally, vacuum up the baking soda and your couch should be smelling and looking fresh.

Leather couch

Rubbing coconut oil on leather may reduce cracks but will make it look darker.

What you'll need: Vacuum, vinegar, water, linseed or coconut oil, cloth

  1. Vacuum the cushions to get rid of large debris. Be sure to get underneath and in between the seats.

  2. Wipe down the couch with a cloth dampened in a mixture of one part vinegar and one part water.

  3. Wait for the couch to dry off.

  4. Rub coconut or linseed oil on your couch. Note: if you have a tan couch, the leather may look darker after applying the oil. Since leather is cow skin, applying oil regularly will keep it moisturized and prevent cracking.

Metal furniture

Bar Keeper's Friend will help keep your metal furniture from being eaten away by rust.

What you'll need: Bar Keeper's Friend

  1. Get Bar Keeper's Friend.

  2. Use Bar Keeper's Friend. (Seriously, it's the best stuff ever.)

  3. For more information on exactly how well it handles all manner of everyday stains, please read our review of Bar Keeper's Friend.

Wicker Furniture

Avoid using too much water to clean wicker.

What you'll need: Microfiber cloth, paintbrush, vacuum, vinegar, water

  1. Remove the cushions and follow the instructions under the upholstery section.

  2. Dust with a soft or microfiber cloth.

  3. Use a clean paintbrush to get in between the canes without damaging it.

  4. With the dusting tool, vacuum your wicker furniture. If you don't know what a dusting tool looks like, we suggest you check out our guide to vacuum attachments.

  5. Rub down your wicker with a mixture of one part vinegar and three parts water. This will help treat and prevent mildew.


Because of all the different finishes wood has, it can be tricky to clean.

What you'll need: Sponge, dish soap, mineral spirits, cloth

  1. Use a mixture of dish soap and warm water to dampen a sponge.

  2. Wipe down the piece of wooden furniture in question. Be sure to start somewhere inconspicuous to ensure the soap does not mar the finish. If it does, switch over to water only.

  3. Make sure to thoroughly dry the piece. Beads of water will damage wood furniture.

  4. Apply mineral spirit in a well-ventilated area. This will help give wood that new shine.