Using Your Vacuum to Reduce Smells in Upholstery

Written by on June 30, 2012 in Vacuum Tips - No comments

Most people have encountered this problem: after months or years of use, fabric and upholstery can start smelling.  While you may be tempted to spray chemicals on it (Febreeze, for instance), do you really want to be sitting on and smelling chemicals? Plus, all that Febreeze adds up over time.  It’d be great if we could just remove the smell with your vacuum.

Unfortunately, there’s no “magic bullet” solution, but these techniques work well.


1. Use Baking Soda – Sprinkle baking soda on the upholstery (not leather), and rub it in with your hands.  Let it sit a few hours, and vacuum the baking soda up.  This works well for lightly smelly fabric.

2. Upholstery Cleaning – For stains, and really smell fabric, you will want to thoroughly clean them, with either a water based solution, or a chemical solvent. First, look at the tag on the piece of fabric or furniture. A “W” means it can be cleaned with water, so get some soap and water and get to work. An “S” means cleaning solvents (water-free solvents).   If you require a solvent, go to your local hardware store and ask a salesperson for a recommendation on solvent and application.  If you can use water on your upholstery, make a simple cleaning mixture by mixing a few teaspoons of shampoo with a gallon room temperature water.


Steam cleaners can naturally be used for cleaning water-safe fabrics.  Not only are they fun to use, but they’re amazing. Some of my favorite steam vacuums are the MR-50 Steam/Vacuum Combo and the Wagner 915 Steam Cleaner if you really want some horsepower.


The MR-50 Steam Vacuum Combo Is a Great Combo Device.

Your regular vacuum can have an upholstery attachment put on the cord extension.  Most major vacuums offer these, just make sure to check to see the attachment will work on the exact model you have. 


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