Best upholstery cleaner 2023: 6 buys to rejuvenate fabric fast

Don't sweat those stains

Astonish upholstery remover product in review on white rug with black pattern, two photos one before one after
(Image credit: Future/Annie Collyer)

If you're here, I am going to take a wild guess that you've accidentally spilled something you really shouldn't have in a place that you always try to keep clean. Perhaps it's your sofa and a glass of your favourite vino, or even worse: your mattress and your morning latte. Whatever it is, as the queen klutz of dropping and spilling things, I can totally relate. There's nothing like that moment, which for some reason is always in slow motion, and the feeling of your heart dropping. The thought that immediately enters your head every time: "will this come out without me spending a fortune?" The answer is almost always yes, so long as you are armed with a decent upholstery cleaner, that is.

Luckily enough for you (and conveniently enough for me) I've tested a bunch of upholstery cleaners everywhere from my sofa to my rugs and my mattress. And only the ones that truly made a difference have made it to this list. Even if you're not in a panic to wipe away a stain, these solutions are super handy to keep underneath your kitchen sink with the rest of your cleaning products

  • Note that some of these clever products might need to be vacuumed up afterward. 

The best upholstery cleaners — as tried and tested by our experts

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Real Homes review process ⁠— how we test upholstery cleaners

Astonish upholstery cleaner in use on white rug with black pattern on, before cleaning at the top, after cleaning at the bottom

Upholstery cleaner in review, before at the top and after at the bottom

(Image credit: Future/Annie Collyer)

We strive to test everything we recommend at Real Homes, so with the help of our team members we've managed to test all of the upholstery cleaners featured in this guide. Yes, we test these solutions and machines in our own homes, to clean real-life day-to-day messes that we're faced with.

Meet our testers below:

Annie Collyer illustration
Annie Collyer

Annie has, since she moved out years ago, used the Astonish Stain Remover to clean up spills. It has worked on everything, from red wine on her sofa to dog sick on her rug (nice!). It's also easy to use and she loves its eco credentials. Otherwise, she swears by Stardrops' White Vinegar spray for targeting stains, naturally. Though it smells, it works a treat and is safe to use around her dog, too.

Christina author photo
Christina Chrysostomou

Christina loves the Nookary range and is really impressed with the added probiotic ingredients. Though she lives in the countryside, commuting on the London underground can be quite germy, so every little helps when staying healthy and looking after her immune system. Ecover stain remover is another under-the-sink essential for her. She uses it to target stubborn foundation stains on her blouses, and clean her cushions when she's used them as a lap tray for lazy weekend brunches.

Jennifer Oksien illustration
Jennifer Oksien

Jen was previously our appliances editor, which is why she tested the Bissell SpotClean Pro Upholstery Cleaner and gave it 4.5 stars out of five. She reckons it's most satisfying appliance you'll ever use. Using fresh water, you can use it on your upholstery and carpets to dredge up new and historic dirt and dust, and then feel the satisfaction of emptying the brown sludgy water into the sink afterwards.

What is the best upholstery cleaner?

The Astonish Fabric Stain Remover is our top pick: it's marketed as a stain remover and is great at zapping even bad stains, but it's also a great all-around upholstery refresher, so essentially is a two-in-one product.

3 things to consider when choosing an upholstery cleaner

Where to buy upholstery cleaner?

Amazon upholstery cleaners (opens in new tab)
Argos upholstery cleaners (opens in new tab)
Lakeland upholstery cleaners (opens in new tab)
The Range upholstery cleaners (opens in new tab)
Robert Dyas upholstery cleaners (opens in new tab)
Wiko upholstery cleaners (opens in new tab)

1. Does it have a built-in scrubber or brush?
Do your little ones often leave trails, staining sofas, and carpets on their way? Well, when a crisis strikes, act accordingly. An upholstery cleaner that comes with a scrubber is always a sight for sore eyes when your youngsters have destroyed that newly bought furnishing. Tough stains like fruit juices or mud — and anything else that makes you shudder — are handled without stress.

2. Don't forget to read the instructions
When you're cleaning upholstery with a commercial cleaner, you’ll need to make sure you read the label (or the paperwork) that came with your furniture so you can ensure that you’re not going to damage the material — some furniture will require a water-based cleaner, while others require water-free products and others may advise against using an upholstery cleaner altogether. Always do a patch test on a hidden part of your furniture first if you are not sure. You'll also want to ensure you read the instructions on the back of the bottle, too, to check it can be used on your upholstery type.

3. Consider size and price
When looking to buy an upholstery cleaner, in-store or online, you can often find bigger bottles at a more cost-effective price. These big bottles can be found at Amazon in particular, making them incredibly accessible for those who prefer not to head to the supermarket shelves, or need an upholstery cleaner pronto! Just be sure to consider where you will store a larger bottle. Concentrate cleaners are also easier on the wallet, too, as they require diluting to use.

What is the best way to clean a couch?

It depends on how dirty your couch currently is. If it needs a full deep clean, then you'll want to invest in a machine like the Bissell SpotClean Pro Upholstery Cleaner. If it's just a bit grubby, you should be able to remove your cushion covers and throw them in the wash. And with the fabric on the frame, you can try the pan lid trick.

Not sure what we're talking about? Grab a laundry tablet and pop it into your sink. Fill your sink with hot water. Soak a tea towel in this water and squeeze it out. Unfold the tea towel onto your work surface and pop a pan in the middle of it, with the handle facing the ceiling. Wrap the tea towel around the handle to hold it in place and then use this to scrub your sofa clean. We discovered this hack on TikTok and it truly is a game changer.

How can I easily keep my upholstery clean?

It sounds simple, but frequent vacuuming will change how your upholstery looks. Use specialist attachments such as a crevice tool to get into cracks and corners, and don't forget to move your sofa out of the way and vacuum the back of it as dust will build here. When it comes to curtains, check their washing instructions and make a note to clean these in your washing machine (or by hand) once every six months. You wouldn't believe how much dirt sits on your curtains. As for rugs, the same goes for vacuuming but you can also use the pan lid trick, and don't forget to vacuum underneath your rugs, too.

Read our guide on how to clean upholstery for more tips and tricks.

Can you use Zoflora on upholstery?

You can use diluted Zoflora in a spray bottle to refresh your upholstery but it won't actually remove any stains. It will remove bacteria, though, which is why some people like to put a capful in their washing load.

Annie Collyer
Head Ecommerce Editor

Hi! I'm Annie, and I'm the Head Ecommerce Editor at Real Homes. Along with my team, I'm here to review all of the products you might be considering buying for your home. As someone who lives in a flat with a small amount of storage space to work with, and with two indoor pets to clean up after, I am forever searching for stylish yet functional appliances that won't blemish my decor if I can't fit them in a cupboard. I love decorating my living room for each season, while my other hobbies include drinking a decent cup of coffee, going on park walks with my dog and enjoying an Instagrammable brunch with my husband.

With contributions from