The 10 Best Upholstery Cleaners of 2021

Remove stains from your furniture and more

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Best Upholstery Cleaners

The Spruce / Sabrina Jiang

Our Top Picks
Just about any soft surface is a good candidate for this powerful upholstery cleaner with multiple attachments.
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A top pick for fighting stains on most soft surfaces, this formula doesn't require waiting or rinsing to reveal its results.
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Enzymes work to remove stains and oust odors on upholstery with this easy-to-use spray formula.
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It heats up quickly and bursts through tough stains instantly.
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Weighing just 4.4 pounds, grab this handheld upholstery cleaner to take on small messes.
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A great multi-tasking cleaning machine, use this upright upholstery cleaner on your couch or carpet for a cleaner, fresher home.
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With just the right amount of moisture, these wipes clean and protect leather furniture.
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Cut the cord and clean up messes in your car (or anywhere) with this compact upholstery cleaner, powered by a lithium ion battery.
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This cleaning solution is safe for upholstery fabrics marked W or WS and delivers a light, clean scent.
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This bio-enzymatic cleaner uses nature rather than chemicals to lift stains and clean your upholstery.
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If your favorite furniture is facing replacement because of dirt, spills, or stains, you need the help of an upholstery cleaner. Using the right cleaning solution or upholstery cleaning machine, you can undo the damage of pet accidents, food messes, or everyday wear and tear on your soft surfaces. 

Conventional carpet cleaners can often be used to clean upholstery, as well. Several more compact spot cleaners are especially popular for use on furniture, such as the Bissell Spot Clean. For a natural approach to cleaning soft surfaces, you can also use the power of a steam cleaner. Or choose a natural, bio-enzymatic formula. 

Say goodbye to stains and spills with these top upholstery cleaners on the market now. 

Best Overall: Bissell SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner

Bissell SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner

Type: Machine | Amount/Capacity: 96 ounces | Cord Length: 22 feet | Hose Length: 5 feet | Weight: 13 pounds

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Large tank

  • Attachments included

  • Works on multiple surfaces

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively expensive

  • Requires scrubbing

Give your upholstery a deep clean with the power of the Bissell Spot Clean. This popular upholstery cleaner weighs 13 pounds and has a 96-ounce cleaning tank to take on couch cushions with spills and stains; dingy armchairs; or spot-cleaning jobs on carpeting, stairs, and more. Because it’s a corded electric model, you’ll need a nearby outlet but will never have to worry about running out of battery power as you clean any soft surface in sight. 

A 3-inch tough stain tool is designed to help you scrub and suction spots of all sorts on your furniture, while a 6-inch stair attachment gives you a helping hand on carpeted stairs. Use your favorite upholstery cleaner solution in the tank to give the machine stain-fighting power. However, because the brush is not motorized, keep in mind that you’ll need to provide the elbow grease to make the tool effective against stubborn spots.

What Our Testers Say

"The SpotClean’s impressive cleaning abilities are both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it will get out tough stains, making your carpet look fresh again. However, if the rest of the rug is also dirty, the clean spots will stand out, and you’ll probably end up needing a full-size carpet cleaner to get the rest of the surface to the same degree of clean." Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester

Best for Stains: Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover

Folex Carpet Spot Remover

Type: Spray | Amount/Capacity: 32 ounces | Cord Length: Not applicable | Hose Length: Not applicable | Weight: 2.15 pounds

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Colorfast-safe

  • Works quickly

  • No rinsing required

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for set-in stains

This all-purpose upholstery cleaner is a star for scrubbing stains on just about any soft surface. Folex is easy to spritz on, agitate with your fingers or a small brush, and then blot with a clean, absorbent cloth. Unlike other upholstery cleaners for stains, you don't need to wait several minutes to see results, and no rinsing is required. It's safe for any colorfast fabric. But if you have doubts regarding how the formula will affect your furniture, it's a good idea to test it on an inconspicuous surface.

What Our Testers Say

"You’ll know it’s working because you’ll see the stain disappear as you spray and rub it. If it doesn’t work the first time, I repeat the steps until the stain starts to disappear. I often use more product than I think I’ll need, but it always works, and it’s inexpensive, so I don’t mind needing more." Deanna McCormack, Product Tester 

Best for Pets: Rocco & Roxie Supply Co Professional Strength Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator

 Rocco & Roxie Supply Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator

Type: Spray | Amount/Capacity: 32 ounces | Cord Length: Not applicable | Hose Length: Not applicable | Weight: 2.3 pounds

What We Like
  • Professional-strength formula

  • Neutralizes odors

  • Colorfast-safe

What We Don't Like
  • Strong smell

Pet stains are a special breed of upholstery problems. In addition to unsightly stains, your pet’s mess might leave behind a lingering odor that is unpleasant to you and an incentive to repeat the crime for your pet. The solution is to use an upholstery cleaner with an enzymatic formula to break down the organic matter responsible for any stains and smells. 

Rocco & Roxie Supply makes a professional strength upholstery cleaner with the power of active enzymes to take on urine, feces, vomit, and other pet accidents. This formula is safe on colorfast fabrics and can be used to save your favorite sitting spot from your pet’s latest "oops" moment. 

Best Steam: McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner with 18 Accessories

 McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

Type: Machine | Amount/Capacity: 48 ounces | Cord Length: 15.7 feet | Hose Length: 9.8 feet | Weight: 9.95 pounds

What We Like
  • Works on multiple surfaces

  • 18 attachments

  • Large tank

  • Long power cord

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively expensive

  • Not ideal for neutralizing odors

A steam cleaner is a natural option for an upholstery cleaner that uses nothing more than water to lift stains and odors. The McCulloch MC1275 steam cleaner gives you up to 45 minutes of steam at an impressive 200 degrees and includes 18 attachments. With this tool, you’ll be able to reach every crevice of your furniture and make a pass across every pillow. 

For a chemical-free way to clean your couch, pillows, and more, a steam cleaner is a popular option. If you have lingering odors, adding vinegar may enhance lifting power. Just be sure not to saturate your upholstery while using a steam cleaner. 

What Our Testers Say

"When used in a small and relatively clean place like a bathroom, this product works well. It’s easy to maneuver in small, awkward spaces—like grimy shower corners—and not having to hold the base saves you energy while cleaning. When used in larger spaces that have messier floors, like the kitchen, this product is less effective." Kaitlyn Wylde, Product Tester

Best Handheld: Bissell 2837 Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush

Bissell 2837 Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush

Type: Machine | Amount/Capacity: 8 ounces | Cord Length: Cordless | Hose Length: Not applicable | Weight: 4.4 pounds

What We Like
  • Great for pets

  • Cordless

  • Rechargeable battery

What We Don't Like
  • Short run time

  • Small tank

For a lightweight upholstery cleaner, consider the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush. This handheld option weighs just 4.4 pounds and is easy to maneuver in tight spots. Though it’s compact in size, it features a rotating brush that provides agitation—useful for tackling stains or soiled areas. Even households without pets will benefit from the powerful brush of this model.

As expected, this handheld upholstery cleaner makes a few sacrifices in terms of size. The 8-ounce solution tank is smaller than larger machines, and it offers limited runtime based on the charge capacity of the lithium ion battery. However, this handheld upholstery cleaner is a convenient option for quick clean-ups and does a respectable job, thanks to the powered brush agitation. 

Best Upright: Hoover SmartWash Advanced Pet Automatic Upright Carpet Cleaner

Hoover Professional Series SmartWash Advanced Upright Pet Carpet Cleaner

Type: Machine | Amount/Capacity: 128 ounces | Cord Length: 22 feet | Hose Length: 12 feet | Weight: 18.9 pounds

What We Like
  • Large tank

  • Works on multiple surfaces

  • Long hose

  • Dirty water collection tank

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The Hoover SmartWash is a great option for an upright upholstery cleaner, as it includes a 2-in-1 attachment designed for elevated cleaning tasks. This attachment can be used to provide a thorough general cleaning for your upholstery items or to provide focused treatment for spots and stains. With an 12-foot hose, you can reach the back of deep seat cushions easily while using the machine’s 1-gallon clean water tank to dispense cleaning solution. 

Upright upholstery cleaners offer larger cleaning tanks and more suction power than some handheld models because they’re typically designed for carpet cleaning. However, these machines also make it convenient to clean your couch, armchair, or other upholstered items quickly and easily with specialized attachments. 

Because your goal is to clean your upholstery, not make it dirtier, you’ll appreciate the fact that Hoover SmartWash includes a separate dirty water collection tank to keep your clean water fresh and ready for use. 

Best for Leather: Weiman Leather Cleaner Wipes

Weiman Leather Cleaner Wipes

Type: Wipes | Amount/Capacity: 30 wipes | Cord Length: Not applicable | Hose Length: Not applicable | Weight: 0.7 pounds

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Easy to use

  • Prevents cracking

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't work for suede or untreated leather

Leather furniture needs regular cleaning to look its best, and it also needs to be moisturized to prevent cracking. Weiman Leather Cleaner Wipes are an easy, mess-free way to apply an upholstery cleaner to your leather sofa, chair, or car seats. The canister dispenses each wipe individually, keeping the rest moist and ready for future use.

This formula uses a blend of four natural oils to clean, moisturize, and protect leather surfaces. The minimal amount of moisture applied by each wipe dries quickly and doesn’t leave behind any residue. Note that it shouldn’t be used on suede or untreated leather.  

Best for Cars: Hoover BH12010 ONEPWR Spotless GO Upholstery Cleaner

 Hoover BH12010 ONEPWR Spotless GO Cordless Carpet and Upholstery Spot Cleaner

Type: Machine | Amount/Capacity: 8 ounces | Cord Length: Cordless | Hose Length: 2 feet | Weight: 7 pounds

What We Like
  • Portable

  • Compact

  • Dirty water collection tank

  • Works on multiple surfaces

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively expensive

  • Short run time

At 13 x 10 x 15 inches, this is one of the most compact upholstery cleaners on the market. Keep it in your trunk for cleaning up messes on the go, or stow it away in your garage for a quick fix at home. 

A cordless upholstery cleaner like the Hoover ONEPWR Spotless GO is a convenient way to keep your car seats and carpet looking great. This upholstery cleaner stands out with its cordless design, which means you won’t need a nearby outlet to power up this machine. Instead, a lithium ion battery provides up to 13 minutes of run time. This may sound like limited power, but it’s great for quick cleaning sessions after a spilled cup of coffee or transporting the kids home from a muddy sporting event.  

Best Solution: Hoover CleanPlus Concentrated Solution

Hoover CleanPlus Concentrated Solution

Type: Liquid | Amount/Capacity: 32 ounces | Cord Length: Not applicable | Hose Length: Not applicable | Weight: 2.25 pounds

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Concentrated formula

  • Works on multiple surfaces

What We Don't Like
  • Requires mixing

Upholstery cleaning machines are usually paired with a cleaning solution to give the most effective lift to stains and soil. Hoover CleanPlus is a popular pick for a concentrated formula that can be used in any type of carpet or upholstery cleaning machine. 

This upholstery cleaning solution is safe for upholstery fabrics marked with a W or WS for care instructions. It’s also a good idea to spot test in a concealed area if you’re concerned about colorfastness. Once applied, Hoover CleanPlus delivers a powerful clean that enhances the action of your upholstery cleaning machine.  

Best Natural: Earthworm Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Earthworm Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Type: Spray | Amount/Capacity: 22 ounce | Cord Length: Not applicable | Hose Length: Not applicable | Weight: 1.63 pounds

What We Like
  • Plant-based formula

  • Fragrance-free

  • Works on multiple surfaces

  • Environmentally friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for set-in stains

A natural upholstery cleaner gives you the upper hand against stains and dirt without resorting to harsh chemicals. Earthworm Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is a bio-enzymatic cleaner that naturally breaks down organic materials, making it ideal for ridding upholstery of stains from food, blood, wine, pet waste, and more. This upholstery cleaner is also fragrance-free, making it a good choice if you’re sensitive to strongly scented cleaning products. 

Final Verdict

The Bissell Spot Clean is small enough to be easily accessible but powerful enough to improve the appearance of your couch, chairs, car upholstery, and more. Use its 3-inch tool to get rid of stains and spills or the 6-inch tool to give carpeted stairs a quick and easy clean. As a natural alternative to an upholstery cleaning machine, you'll find that the spray-on formula of Earthworm Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner (view on Amazon) is effective when used on soft surfaces that have been soiled by organic materials (like food, grease, blood, vomit, and more).

Best Upholstery Cleaners

The Spruce / Ellen Lindner

What to Look for in a Upholstery Cleaner

Effectiveness

Of course, the most important factor you want in an upholstery cleaner is results. Whether you have tough stains or just want one for regular upkeep of your furniture, your needs will determine how powerful a model you should choose.

Size

The type of upholstery you’re planning to clean, as well as its location, will determine what size cleaner may best fit your needs. If it’s for your home’s couches and chairs, a larger model may work, but if you’re planning to use it to clean your car seats or take it on the go, you may want to find a smaller, more portable option.

Versatility

While some upholstery cleaners are just made for surfaces like your couch and chairs, others can tackle your rugs and carpets, too. Some models come with multiple attachments to tackle various jobs. There are even some steam cleaners that will produce a professional-grade clean without using any chemicals. Consider the type of upholstery you want to clean, as well as your budget, when thinking about what types of functionality are important to you.

FAQ
  • How do you clean upholstered furniture?

    For day-to-day cleaning and to keep dust at a minimum, thoroughly vacuum the material, taking your time to cover each section and cushion. If you're looking to refresh the fabric or address discoloration, you can use a steam cleaner, a carpet cleaner with a handheld attachment, or a designated upholstery-cleaning appliance as directed.

    These devices can also be used to remove stains. However, spray-on liquid cleaners work best for smaller spots and immediate spills. Start by blotting up the moisture with a clean cloth. Then, apply a small amount of the liquid cleaner and continue blotting (or gently scrubbing if needed) to remove the stain. No matter which type of upholstery cleaner you use, always let the fabric dry completely, away from direct sunlight, before sitting on it again.

  • How often should you clean upholstery?

    To minimize dust and remove crumbs, hair, and other debris from the fabric, weekly vacuuming is recommended. Additionally, any time you notice discoloration in one area or when liquid spills onto the material, address it as soon as possible with a spot treatment. As for deeper cleans with an upholstery cleaner, steam cleaner, or professional service, once or twice a year is ideal.

  • Are there any types of fabric that shouldn't be cleaned with an upholstery cleaner?

    If you have leather, suede, velvet, or microfiber furniture at home, you'll want to be careful about the products you use to clean it. Liquid formulas containing acetone or bleach might cause discoloration or affect the texture of the material.

    American-made furniture should have a tag with the code W, S, W-S, or X. W means you should use water-based cleaners only. S means a water-free solvent can be used. W-S implies water-based solvents. And X means you should avoid all household cleaning products and consult with a professional. When in doubt, test a small patch in an indiscriminate spot before using a cleaner on a larger area.

  • Can you use an upholstery cleaner on other surfaces or fabrics?

    Many upholstery cleaners can be used on multiple surfaces, though it varies among products. For instance, steam cleaners, upright models, and other electric options are typically suitable for cleaning carpets, curtains, and sometimes hard flooring.

    Additionally, multi-surface liquid formulas can often be used on carpets, drapes, car interiors, car seats, and strollers. Be sure to check the intended use before using a product to clean any surface.

Bissell SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner
The Spruce / Camryn Rabideau

Why Trust The Spruce?

Delivering spot-on advice and the latest innovations in cleaning products and technology, Erica Puisis has been researching home products for The Spruce since 2017. During the days of housetraining a puppy or to deal with spills and stains from dinner, a bottle of Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover is an absolute necessity in her cleaning closet!

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