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How to Clean a Velvet Couch

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Keep this statement piece in colorful condition using these methods.

Velvet sofas are luxurious statement pieces in a home. They can elevate a room, adding a regal aura. However, they can quickly become the breeding ground for dirt and stains, instantly ruining the aesthetic.

When you own such a sofa, it’s important to keep it clean. We’ll show you how to clean a velvet couch and remove stains so that you can stay on top of maintenance. With this knowledge under your belt, no mark on your couch will send you into a frenzied panic.

Keep reading for all our tips and tricks, as well as how to steam clean and remove odors.

How to Clean a Velvet Sofa and Remove Stains

  1. Vacuum or brush the sofa weekly to remove dust and debris.
  2. Blot stains with a lint-free cloth.
  3. Prepare a solution of soapy water.
  4. Dip a lint-free cloth into the solution, wring it out well, then blot the stains until the mark lifts.
  5. Let the sofa dry.
  6. Brush the sofa to restore the velvet.


What You Need to Know Before Cleaning Your Velvet Couch

Don’t dive into these tips blindly. Before learning how to clean a velvet chair or sofa, you need to know a few things about the piece of furniture.

What Type of Velvet Do I Have?

There are a few different types of velvet. We’ll walk through how to tell each type apart and any specific cleaning instructions to be aware of.

  • Silk velvet: This is the most luxurious type. You’ll find it’s soft, smooth, and almost looks wet (but it isn’t). It’s quite hard to clean as it stains easily and can fade when placed in direct sunlight. If you have a silk velvet sofa — which is pretty rare and usually antique — we advise having it professionally cleaned.
  • Linen velvet: Linen velvet has a matte finish and is less shiny than silk velvet. You will notice irregular striping in the fibers and a shorter pile. However, you should get your linen velvet furniture cleaned by a professional cleaning service.
  • Cotton velvet: This is a popular type of velvet used for furniture. It’s often called crushed velvet — the blend makes it beautiful and highly durable. While you can get matte versions, it’s also available in a viscose blend which adds shine. You can use our tips for cleaning cotton velvet at home, but you must tackle stains immediately since they will set quickly.
  • Mohair velvet: This is a common type of velvet used in furniture upholstery. If it’s for a sofa in a high-traffic area that will need to withstand daily use, this is a great choice. It can handle stains, dirt, and other marks, but you still need to know how to clean it properly. It’s important to vacuum it regularly and rub it with a damp, lint-free cloth in the direction of the nap. Always tackle stains immediately with lukewarm water and a carpet upholstery shampoo.
  • Synthetic velvet: Finally, another trendy type of velvet is synthetic, typically made from polyester, rayon, or nylon. This is the easiest type of velvet to clean and keep clean. While it usually has some natural fibers blended in (such as cotton), you can clean it with dish soap and water, or even a steam cleaner. Note that this is sometimes referred to as velour velvet.

Is Velvet Easy to Clean?

If you maintain your velvet well — vacuum regularly and wipe down the sofa — it is relatively easy to keep clean. Dried stains are pretty tricky to remove, though most velvet sofas are treated with stain repellents.

The best advice is to tackle any spills or accidents as soon as they occur. Don’t wait until later. If you deal with it immediately, it’ll only take a few minutes, but it will prevent the stain from setting.

Keep In Mind

If you have silk or linen velvet, this is harder to clean and should be handled by a professional.

Can Velvet be Washed?

Cotton, mohair, and synthetic velvet can get wet. Use cold or lukewarm water only. If you have removable covers, they can be machine washed in cold water. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you have silk or linen velvet, a professional should clean it. They may use dry-cleaning methods for the best results.

How Often to Clean a Velvet Couch

We recommend vacuuming your velvet couch every week. Tackle stains as soon as they happen. Issue a full upholstery clean once a month.

How to Clean a Velvet Couch

Regular cleaning of a velvet couch only consists of routine dusting and vacuuming. This is the best thing you can do to keep your velvet couch in vibrant condition.

  • Time: 20 minutes.
  • Difficulty: Easy.

What You’ll Need

1. Prepare the Area

Remove any cushions or blankets from the sofa.

2. Brush the Sofa

If you don’t have a vacuum with an upholstery attachment, you can use a brush. For best results, we recommend doing both. If doing both, start by brushing, as this can remove bigger bits of debris.

Start at one end of the couch and work from top to bottom, side to side. Move in long, even strokes. Repeat over the whole couch two to three times until you’ve removed as much dust and debris as possible.

No Scrubbing

You must be gentle while doing this — you don’t want to scratch the velvet. That’s why we recommend long, even strokes.

3. Vacuum the Sofa

Vacuuming the sofa effectively removes dust, soil, and dirt. Attach the upholstery brush to your vacuum and hoover the whole sofa. Work from top to bottom, then side to side.

Make sure you don’t miss a spot. Get in between and underneath the cushions for a deep clean.

How to Spot Clean Velvet Couch

It can be infuriating when somebody spills a drink or drops their dinner on your couch. But when you know how to clean a velvet sofa properly and remove stains, it’s less of a concern.

  • Time: 25 minutes (plus waiting time).
  • Difficulty: Easy.

What You’ll Need

  • Lint-free cloths.
  • Container.
  • Lukewarm water.
  • Mild, unscented dish soap or a velvet fabric cleaner.
  • Spoon or whisk.
  • Soft-bristled brush.

1. Blot Stains

After noticing a stain, blot it up right away. Grab a lint-free cloth and press it against the stain to soak it up. After pressing it, swap to a new area of the cloth and repeat.

Don’t rub the fabric, as this can penetrate the stain deeper into the fibers. Continue pressing and blotting the stained area until it’s dry.

2. Spot Treat

If a stain remains, you must clean it with soapy water. Mix three cups of lukewarm water and a few drops of dish soap in a container. You can use velvet fabric cleaner if you prefer.

Use a spoon or whisk to mix the solution — you want it to be quite bubbly.

Dip your lint-free cloth in the solution and wring it out well. Blot the stain using the same method as above until the mark has lifted.

Caution

The last thing you want to do is create a new stain, so we recommend testing the soapy solution in an inconspicuous spot. Dip the cloth in the soapy water and tap an area of the couch that people can’t see. Repeat five times, then wait a couple of minutes to see if the soap has caused any damage.

3. Dry

Leave the area to dry for one hour. Open a window to help with ventilation.

4. Brush

Once the couch is dry to the touch, use a soft-bristled brush to restore the velvet. Use short flicking motions to restore the fibers. If the stain is still visible, you will need to repeat the above steps.

Steam Cleaning a Velvet Sofa

If your velvet looks worn down and creased, a steamer can help restore it. It’s vital to do this every so often because creases can become permanent.

For this, you’ll need a handheld steamer. But it’s important that it is suitable for upholstery and can be used horizontally and vertically.

You can use this method for cotton, mohair, and synthetic velvet. But make sure to avoid silk and linen velvet — hire a professional instead.

  • Time: 20 minutes.
  • Difficulty: Intermediate.

What You’ll Need

1. Prepare the Steamer

Plug your steamer in and turn it on. Attach the upholstery attachment if applicable. Set it to low heat to avoid damaging the velvet.

If using a steam iron, fill it with water and turn it onto the steam setting.

2. Steam the Sofa

Using your handheld steamer, keep the head a few inches away from the sofa and move over the creased areas. Always keep the steamer moving, so you don’t damage the fibers. As you go, use your hand to brush over the velvet in the opposite direction to release wrinkles.

When using a steam iron, hold the iron six inches away from the velvet and use the same method as above. Don’t let the iron contact the velvet. This will leave a permanent imprint.

Repeat across the whole sofa.

3. Brush the Sofa

Use your brush to restore the fibers after steaming. Then let the sofa fully air dry before using it again.

How Can I Make My Velvet Sofa Smell Fresh?

Having a spotless sofa doesn’t stop at stain removal. We also want our couch to smell fresh and clean. If your couch has odors — such as dog smells or dampness — we can help you tackle those.

Simply fill a spray bottle with a 1:1 solution of distilled white vinegar and water. Spray it over the velvet and let it air dry overnight.

If you’re not happy with the performance of this hack and the odor persists, try baking soda. Sprinkle it generously over the couch. Leave this overnight before vacuuming well in the morning.

How Do You Care for Velvet?

Besides knowing how to clean a velvet chair or sofa, caring for it in between cleaning sessions is important. Here are top tips for being kind to velvet:

  • Hire a professional: If you have silk or linen velvet, get it professionally cleaned. Even if you don’t, we recommend hiring a professional to clean your velvet furniture every two years.
  • Use the right products: If you’re applying a fabric protector (only do so if the couch doesn’t already have one) or using an upholstery cleaner, ensure it’s made for velvet products.
  • Test products: Always test velvet cleaners and fabric protectors in inconspicuous spots before applying them to the whole sofa.
  • No direct sunlight: Direct sunlight can fade the color of your velvet. Keep it out of direct sunlight to preserve the vibrancy of your sofa.
  • Vacuum weekly: Every week, vacuum your velvet sofa to remove crumbs, dust, and debris.
  • No heavy items: Don’t leave heavy items on your velvet sofa for too long. For instance, if you’re about to haul a box of books upstairs, leave it on the floor instead of on the couch. This can leave permanent imprints.
  • Shake the velvet: To prevent wrinkles, give the couch a good shake from time to time. You can use two people to do this together, or you can beat the couch with your hand to eliminate wrinkles.

FAQs

What is a Velvet Brush?

A velvet brush is made to relay velvet fabrics’ nap, specifically after cleaning or steaming. They usually have gentle medium bristles.

How Do You Clean Vintage Velvet Upholstery?

It’s essential to check with a professional first. While they can clean it for you, they may be able to offer cleaning advice specific to your old piece. In general, as long as the piece is a blend of cotton, synthetic, or mohair, you should be able to use any of our methods.

How Do You Revive Velvet Upholstery?

The best way to bring life back into your velvet upholstery is to do all our methods in a row: vacuum, spot clean, then steam. Steaming and brushing it will remove wrinkles and add shine to the fibers.

If you don’t have a steamer, you can mist the piece with distilled water. Then brush the piece with your velvet brush or a nylon brush. Dry the area with a hair dryer on a cool setting, brushing gently as you go.

If the pile becomes distorted (when some patches of the velvet fibers are squashed or unevenly altered), you can use a soft nail brush or velvet brush to restore it.

How Do You Fix Water Stains on Velvet?

Water stains can be really disheartening. After all, you need water to clean velvet, so if that leaves behind a new stain, it’s normal to feel defeated. But this method can help:

  1. Brush: Use a soft-bristled brush to lift the fibers and remove some of the stain, as well as other dust and debris.
  2. Prepare a cloth: Pour distilled water onto a lint-free cloth. Wring it out well.
  3. Rub the stain: Gently rub the cloth over the water stain, dampening the area but not soaking it.
  4. Dry: Use a hair dryer on a low setting to dry the area immediately.
  5. Repeat: If necessary, repeat the above steps.
  6. Steam: If none of the above works, steam clean the velvet to remove the stain.

Is Velvet Furniture Going Out of Style?

Velvet holds a steady place in the upholstery market. While it’s becoming more affordable and, therefore, more popular in some spaces, it’s not loved in other places.

People love velvet because it makes a statement. It’s comfortable, and it’s available in tons of gorgeous colors.

However, other people are opting for more tactile materials such as bouclé or corduroy. On the note of disliking velvet, it’s not always the top choice for big families as it can show wear and tear quite quickly.

Velvet isn’t going anywhere, so if you like it, you should still be able to find your dream velvet couch in any color and style.


Vibrant Velvet

Cleaning a velvet couch is a weekly commitment, but it’s vital that you do it. Weekly vacuuming can remove dust, debris, and grime so that it doesn’t cause stains. Once a month, we recommend deep cleaning the whole couch and steaming it to remove wrinkles.

To care for a velvet sofa or chair, always treat stains and spills immediately. Brush the couch to revive the fibers. And keep the piece out of direct sunlight to prevent color fading.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!