How Often Should I Have My Furniture Professionally Cleaned?


The Key Factors That Impact Upholstery Cleaning Frequency

These are the main things that will determine how often your furniture needs professional upholstery cleaning.

  • Amount of everyday use that your furniture is exposed to, how many people are sitting on your sofas and using the armchairs?
  • Presence of pets or smokers in the home
  • Type of fabric – some are more stain/soil resistant than others, synthetic fabrics or synthetic mixed fabrics are more durable than natural fibre fabrics
  • Manufacturer’s care recommendations

Amount of Everyday Use and Traffic

How often you use your upholstered furniture and how much traffic it gets can significantly influence how frequently it needs professional cleaning. Heavily used pieces like sofas in family rooms or chairs in offices will accumulate soil, dirt, grime and body oils much faster than furniture in more sparely used formal living rooms. Upholstery in high traffic areas may need cleaning yearly, while furniture used less often could go 2-3 years between professional cleanings.

Presence of Pets or Smokers in the Home

Homes with pets or smokers require more frequent upholstery cleaning. Pets can leave behind dirt, hair, dander and even urine stains and odors if accidents happen. The fur and oils in pet dander sticks readily to upholstery fabrics. Similarly, the residue and smell from cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke permeates into upholstered furniture rapidly. Having your upholstered pieces cleaned at least annually is recommended if you have pets or smokers in the home to prevent stains or smoke smells from becoming permanent.

Type of Fabric – Some are More Stain/Soil Resistant Than Others

The actual type of material your upholstered furniture is covered in impacts cleaning frequency. Tightly woven fabrics like microfibers or synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon tend to be more stain resistant and resilient. Meanwhile, natural fibers like cotton and wool, or delicate fabrics like silks, absorb spills quicker and show wear and stains faster. More delicate, stain prone fabrics generally require professional cleaning more often than performance fabrics engineered to repel liquids and soil.

Manufacturer’s Care Recommendations

The tag on your upholstered furniture contains cleaning codes and care recommendations unique to that material. Following the manufacturer’s specific instructions for professional cleaning intervals will ensure you are properly maintaining your upholstery. Some fabrics should only be dry cleaned, while others require steam cleaning. Recommended cleaning cycles by manufacturers often range from every 6 months to every 2 years. Stick to these guidelines to ensure that  your upholstery has a long and healthy life.

Upholstery Fabric Types and Ideal Professional Cleaning Frequencies


  • Most common upholstery fabric
  • Absorbs liquids and shows stains easily
  • Professional cleaning every 12-18 months recommended


  • Made from blend of polyester and polyamides
  • Repels stains well but still collects dirt over time
  • Clean professionally every year


  • Naturally stain resistant synthetic fabric
  • Only light cleaning needed annually but if dirt accumulates, annual professional cleaning is recommended


  • Naturally soil resistant properties
  • Professionally clean every 2-3 years, spot clean as needed


  • Delicate fabric prone to water marks
  • Dry clean only recommended annually


  • Shows wear easily with crushing of fibers
  • Cleanprofessionally annually before crushing becomes permanent
  • Other fabrics like nylon, acrylic, rayon – clean every 1-2 years

Signs It’s Time for Professional Upholstery Cleaning

  • Noticeable dirt, soil, stains on furniture
  • Fabrics feeling stiff, rough, matted down
  • Odors coming from fabric even after vacuuming
  • Fabric pilling or fraying more than normal
  • Can’t remove spot stains with DIY methods

Noticeable Dirt, Soil, Stains on Furniture

When you start to notice visible dirt, grime, or stains on your upholstered furniture, it’s a clear sign a professional cleaning is needed. Soils and stains that are allowed to remain too long on fabric can sometimes become permanent. Oils from hands and dirt that accumulates on arms and back rests also leaves a dull, dingy cast to fabric over time. Visible build up of anything on the surface of the material means it’s time for a deep cleaning.

Fabrics Feeling Stiff, Rough, Matted Down

Upholstery can start to feel scratchy, rough or stiff when the fibers get filled with dirt and oils. Gritty dirt particles on the surface abrade and break down the fibers. Matted, flattened fibers lose their loft and softness too when the upholstery gets soiled. If your fabrics feel rough or the nap looks uneven and matted, a thorough professional cleaning is in order to revive the texture and softness.

Odors Coming from Fabric Even After Vacuuming

Vacuuming can remove surface dust and some dirt from upholstery, but it can’t eliminate odors that get trapped deep in the fibers. Unpleasant smells coming from your upholstered furniture even after regular vacuuming means there is a deeper buildup of odor causing residues. To fully remove odors that have become impregnated into the fabric itself, professional strength cleaning is required.

Fabric Pilling or Fraying More Than Normal

While some pilling and fraying from regular use is normal, an excessive amount of fuzz and fraying can mean the fibers have become damaged by abrasive dirt, oils and grime stuck deep in the fabric. The inadequate removal of soils allows it to continue wearing down the fibers. A thorough cleaning clears away this residue so the fabric looks and feels renewed.

Can’t Remove Spot Stains with DIY Methods

If you’ve attempted to spot clean stains on your upholstery and the stains remain visible, this means the spill has penetrated deeper into the fibers. At this point trying to remove it yourself will likely lead to rubbing the stain in further. Professionals have the equipment and products to thoroughly cleanse stains out without causing additional damage to the fabric.

Benefits of Proper Professional Cleaning Frequency

  • Extends life of upholstery by years
  • Restores vibrancy and appearance of fabrics
  • Removes odors trapped in fibers
  • Cleans deep-down dirt vacuum can’t reach
  • Reduces allergens like dust mites in furniture
  • Follow manufacturer’s care methods for best results

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