How to Clean an Upholstered Bed

Clean an Upholstered Bed

Your bed should be a haven in which you can lay your head after a long day, and an upholstered bed can add extravagance and luxury to your bedroom by combining beautiful fabrics and textures with warm colors and design. They are also paired with a stylish headboard and lavish mattress that can turn your bedroom into a sanctuary.   

Read on to find out the best tips on how to clean these sturdy beds, from the headboard and bed frame to the mattress itself and the specific kind of upholstered sheets and fabrics. That way, your upholstered bed will be beautiful and look brand new for years and all of that money you spent on your bed of luxury will be well worth the expense.  

Cleaning the Upholstered Headboard

Part of your cleaning schedule for your upholstered bed is cleaning the upholstered headboard. The headboard is meant for us to lean on, so our make-up, hair products, skin oils, and even sweat could gradually accrue in the fabric. Therefore, keeping your upholstered headboard clean is integral to maintaining the life of your upholstered bed. 

There are specific ways to clean everyday stains that may build up on your upholstered headboard over time. How to clean this part of your upholstered bed depends on what it is made from, including the specific fabrics and any wood or metal that may be included. In addition, there are different types of upholstered headboards that may dictate care: 

  • Wood-framed—Has a wooden framework in addition to the upholstered fabric surface.
  • Fixed/wall-mounted—This is directly mounted on the wall, including the upholstery, to give the room a stylish and elegant look.
  • Freestanding—This type is separate from the main bed frame so it can be either attached to the frame or the wall.
  • Straight—A rectangular-shaped headboard that has a pretty simple design to give the room a clean look. This headboard works best to really show off the upholstered fabric since the headboard itself is uncomplicated.
  • Tufted—These have buttoned upholstery that is stapled in different shapes and, like tufted couches, bring an elegant look to the room.
  • Wingback—These literally have wings that used to be used to trap warm air in colder climates but are now mostly used for decorative purposes. 

Most of the headboards listed above are made from a mixture of upholstery fabric, wood, metal, and rattan, which is a type of wicker. You will need to gather your cleaning materials depending on what mixture of materials make up your headboard. Then, you can start cleaning your headboard using a combination of some of the following: 

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Fabric cleaner spray
  • Distilled water
  • Mild detergent
  • Moisturizing soap
  • Cleaning solution
  • Dry white cloth and paper towels 

The supplies and tools you will need to clean your headboard will depend on what fabric your upholstered headboard is made of so that you do not damage the delicate materials. You will want to again grab your vacuum cleaner, if possible one with an upholstery brush, and then some cleaners depending on the fabric you are cleaning. 

How to Clean Parts of the Headboard and Bed Frame

As noted above, your headboard may also be a combination of upholstered fabrics, wood, metal, or rattan. If you have upholstered fabric, you can simply fill up a bucket with a mild, liquid laundry detergent and some water. First, dip a cloth into the mixture to blot any stains. Then use a cloth with just water to rinse the soap off and then let air dry. 

If your upholstery is starting to smell, you can put some baking soda on a dry cloth and use that cloth to pat the upholstery so that any smelly germs are killed. Wood just needs a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and hot water to clean it. Just make sure you wring out your cloth before cleaning the wood because excess water can ruin the wood. 

Metal is a bit more complex, as it could be anything from stainless steel and chrome, to copper, brass, iron, or aluminum. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but here are some tips you can follow when it comes to using the right cleaner for the right type of metal so you do not damage the material or stain the metal: 

  • Stainless steel, chrome, aluminum—Use metal cleaner
  • Copper and brass—Use ketchup or lemon and salt
  • Iron—Use liquid dish soap first and then vinegar for any rusted spots 

Many upholstered headboards today are also made of rattan and it is easy to clean. Fill the bucket with water and a few drops of the liquid dish soap and then make some bubbles. Like wood, rattan can be damaged from water, so only clean it with the bubbles. Lightly blot any stains and then dry with a hair dryer to avoid mildew and mold. 

Clean Your Upholstered Bed Regularly

With luxury comes work, however, and some homeowners may not want the high-maintenance cleaning that comes with owning a lavish and plush upholstered bed. That being said, if you are in for the long haul and can handle the weekly vacuuming and monthly cleaning, an upholstered bed will be the perfect addition to your home.

You should have a weekly, monthly, and quarterly routine when it comes to cleaning your upholstered bed. Every week, you should vacuum the upholstered bed using the handheld vacuum tools to remove any dirt and dust. This first weekly step helps keep your bed looking new and also removes any excess dust particles from the bed and air.

  • Weekly—vacuum the entire upholstered bed
  • Monthly—wipe off the headboard
  • Quarterly—Deep cleanings of fabrics, mattress, box spring, headboard and bed frame

Now that you vacuumed the dirt and dust away, you should use a trustworthy fabric cleaner to clean your delicate fabrics. You should always test the fabric cleaner first by pouring a very small amount of the cleaner on the sheet and then waiting a few hours to see if it damages the spot. If not, you are ready to use it to clean your sheets. 

While you are cleaning your sheets, you can use baking soda to clean your mattress. Remove all bedding, pillows, throws, and other decorative items and then liberally spread the baking soda on the mattress. The baking soda can be left on your mattress for a few hours so that it naturally absorbs any odors or moisture buildup. 

Finally, grab your vacuum cleaner again and suck up all of the baking powder from the mattress. By taking these small steps once a week, you will find you are continuously sleeping in a fresh smelling, clean upholstered bed. Before you remake your bed, however, you want to make sure you washed the fabric correctly depending on brand. 

Different Fabrics Require Specific Cleaning Habits 

Although you will want to clean your upholstered sheets regularly and vacuum the entire bed once a week, you can clean the headboard and so some deeper cleaning methods around once a month. That may seem like too much for the average bed owner, but it comes with the territory of owning such a gorgeous piece of furniture. 

You can wipe off your headboard once a month with a cleaner depending on what type of fabric it is made from and the cleaning methods it requires. If you start to see stains, get to them right away before they set into the headboard. Cleaning powder used once a month will keep things smelling good and can simply be vacuumed up in a few hours. 

You will also need to do a much deeper quarterly fabric cleaning of your upholstered bed. This is because the oils from your hair, hair products, make up, dirt, and grime could rub off easily onto the headboard. On one hand, the higher headboards on an upholstered bed make it perfect to watch television or read. But, they also get dirty. 

For a simple solution, you can mix dish soap and water, wring out the sponge to remove excess moisture, and then clean the entire surface. This means not just cleaning the area that is leaned on, but every part of the headboard. Do not scrub the fabric, as this will damage the material. Instead, lightly rub and blot the fabric on the headboard.

Different Fabrics Require Different Cleaning Methods

Upholstered bed fabrics are more delicate than your average bed sheets and, therefore, require a different kind of gentle upkeep. Although a household spray can be used to treat the surface, you will need to read the tag that specifies what your upholstered bed sheets are made from since they are usually made from a variety of different materials. 

If your sheets are made of linen, you will want to use a mild detergent or soap to clean them, whereas velvet simply needs to be cleaned with a clean, dry cloth and soft brushing. Polyesters and other manmade fabrics can just be thrown right in the wash. You should read the upholstered fabric tag carefully and try doing some research online. 

If you do spill wine or coffee on your delicate upholstered bed fabrics, it is not the end of the world. The worst thing to do is panic and start scrubbing the stain, as that will only make it seep deeper into the fabric. Instead, use your reliable upholstery cleaner that was already tested on the fabric and use it to gently blot the stain out. 

Pouring a bit of the fabric cleaner on the stain and blotting it carefully is a slow process, but your patience will help save your beautiful upholstered bed fabrics so that they continue to look new and add luxury to your bedroom. The main thing to remember is to avoid forcefully scrubbing and wiping, as that will only make things worse in the end.

Are Upholstered Beds Sturdy?

Upholstered beds not only offer both style and comfort to your bedroom, but they are also sturdy pieces of equipment. They come with taller headboards that are perfect for someone who likes to sit up and read or watch television before bed. The upholstery also provides added cushioning for a warm and comfy feeling at bedtime. 

That warm feeling may not be welcomed if you live in an area that is hot and humid. In addition, although upholstered beds are sturdy and can become a luxurious piece of furniture in your bedroom, they are also high-maintenance, somewhat difficult to clean, and do not have a one-size-fits all cleaning regime since there is no standard fabric. 

Upholstered beds can come in many fabrics that require various cleaning methods. No matter what type of fabric you have, the upkeep includes weekly vacuuming, so that dust does not accumulate. This is especially important if you are allergic to dust since upholstered beds accumulate dust much faster in the fabric. 

If you have a cat or a dog, an upholstered bed probably is not the best choice since pet hairs will probably get stuck in the fabric and require even more vacuuming. You will also need to perform regular spot cleaning for stains so that they do not set in and upholstered beds are probably not ideal for small spaces since they are so grand.

Basic Tips to Cleaning a Headboard

A standard upholstered headboard can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner, fabric cleaner spray, a scented linen spray, baking soda, and a dry cloth. Since vacuuming the bed should be weekly, this includes vacuuming the upholstered headboard so that dirt, dust, and hair do not accumulate over time. Then you can sporadically do the following:

  • Every week or so, spray the fabric cleaner over any stains or marks (be sure to test this spray first on a hidden area. If after a few hours the hidden area is not damaged, you are good to go!)
  • Once a month, spray with a scented linen spray and then pat the upholstery with a dry cloth and baking soda to deodorize the upholstery
  • Let the baking soda sit for a few hours and then vacuum the powder and remove any residue
  • Let everything air dry by opening up some windows

For deeper cleaning, an all-purpose cleaner with a deodorizer and stain remover can be used after it is spot tested. You can use that cleaner to spot clean stains and clean the entire headboard. Then if you vacuum regularly and have a stain-fighting plan in place, you will be able to maintain the life of your upholstered headboard for years. 

An upholstered headboard can add a lavish yet comfortable feeling to your bedroom. Therefore, you should take the same time to clean and freshen up this headboard just as you do your own upholstered bed sheets. However, you want to treat any stains on your headboard as soon as possible so that they do not set in and are harder to blot. 

Headboards also come in several types of fabric, so removing stains and cleaning the surface will change depending on the fabric. What may work for leather could be damaging to velvet. This is where your stain plan comes in, as the best way to remove stains from a headboard will differ depending on the type of fabric. 

Velvet Headboards

A velvet headboard adds a sense of class and luxury to any room, but velvet needs to be cleaned properly if you want it to last. Velvet headboards should also be placed in your room where there is no direct sunlight so that the colors avoid fading over time. If you find a liquid stain, try to soak it up with a paper towel or white cloth. 

Similar to cleaning stains from upholstered fabric sheets, you will want to blot any stains on your velvet headboard with a mix of a mild detergent and water. Mix the two liquids until they form suds and then blot the stain gently until it is gone. You do not want to scrub the stain, as this will only make it worse and set it into the velvet even more. 

Another option to clean velvet with materials you have right in your home is a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda. This combination will create a foamy texture that can be used to clean velvet. Just make sure you use straight movements when cleaning the velvet and never rub the velvet for fear of damaging the material. 

Finally, you can blot the area with a dry cloth and then even use a hairdryer on its lowest setting if you want the area to dry faster. When using a hairdryer, make sure it is far enough away from the velvet so that it dries the cleaning liquid but does not burn or damage the gentle velvet fabric. 

Suede Headboards

Similar to velvet, suede is also a delicate fabric. It is soft and has an open-texture, which means it is more vulnerable to accumulating dust, dirt, and stains. And you have probably panicked when you noticed a dark stain on your nice, suede headboard. No worries, as there are ways to carefully clean your suede and make it look new again. 

  • Using the upholstery brush on your vacuum cleaner, carefully remove any dust, hair, dirt, and other debris from the suede using circular motions
  • Mix a mild detergent and water in a bucket to create suds
  • Use a white cloth to gently blot any stains with only the suds. Do not wipe down suede with water, only the suds should be used to clean the suede headboard
  • Dry the suede headboard with a dry white cloth 

You should always spot check your mild detergent and water mixture in a hidden area of your headboard before using it to clean the suede. This is because suede is known for reacting very differently to different cleaners. 

If you have small, dry stains in your suede headboard, you may be able to remove the stain using a pencil eraser in circular motions, similar to using the vacuum carefully on a suede headboard. 

Wool Headboard

Wool is a natural fabric that is combined with synthetic fibers that make the material much easier to clean. It is also ideal for upholstery headboards because it is resilient to fading, wrinkling, and peeling. Wool is typically seen in colder climates because of its warm and soft quality, but can be used in any climate for a headboard.  

Wool tends to retain water, so you should try to use a dry-type of cleaning only with wool. That being said, simply using a vacuum or steam cleaning is usually enough to get dirt, dust, and stains out of wool because it is so resistant to issues. 

Linen Headboards

Linens are also natural fabrics and can be cleaned easily by taking the following steps:

  • Vacuum the linen headboard to remove any dust, dirt, or grime
  • Mix a mild soap and water and then blot any stains with a white cloth. Do not rub the stains or they will be set deeper into the linen
  • Clean the entire linen headboard carefully with the soapy water mixture with a white cloth

By following these steps, you can effectively clean your linen headboard to remove any stains. As mentioned, only use a mild soap to ensure you do not wear down the fabric. Once you are finished, let the linen air dry by opening windows so that mold does not set into the linen headboard. You do not want moisture to get trapped in the linen, as this will inevitably lead to mold later on. 

Leather Headboard

Similar to velvet, you want to make sure your leather headboard is not placed in direct sunlight or it will dry and crack. Your leather headboard may have a manufacturer’s tag that detailed how it should be cleaned. If not, you can use the following steps to safely clean your leather headboard: 

  • Vacuum the leather with the brush attachment to remove any dust, dirt, and hair
  • Mix a moisturizing soap with water to remove any dirt from the surface. Make sure your cloth is damp but not soaked so that you do not over-set the leather
  • If you do not have moisturizing soap, you could also make a 50-50 solution of distilled water and white vinegar and then gently scrub the headboard’s surface
  • After the headboard dries, buff the leather with polish and a soft, dry cloth 

You should also dust your leather headboard often with a dry cloth to make sure dust does not accumulate, as that will damage the leather surface. For inset stains, you can pour baking soda onto a cloth and gently pat the stain. Let the baking soda sit on the stain for a few hours and then you can use the vacuum to remove the powder. 

After you vacuum up the baking soda, combine a mild leather soap with water and lightly dab the stain with the mixture. Use another cloth that is only dampened with water to rinse the soap off and then remove any excess moisture with a dry cloth. Let your leather headboard air dry by opening up some windows. 

Cleaning the Box Spring and Mattress

You will also want to add cleaning the box spring and mattress to your deep-cleaning routine. For the box spring, you will want to actually remove the mattress and vacuum the top and sides of the box spring using the vacuum’s hose attachment. If you can, lift the box, spring up and vacuum out the other side the same way as you did the top. 

Then you can fill up a bucket with water and add a few drops of mild, liquid dish soap. Dip a white cloth into the water mixture, wring out the excess water and moisture, and then gently blot any stains to remove them. You can wipe down the entire box spring with the damp cloth. Let the box spring air dry and then you can put your mattress back. 

Since you have taken the time to clean your upholstered fabrics, headboard, bed frame, and box spring, you might as well also have a freshly clean mattress. First, strip your mattress of all the sheets, covers, and pads and you can wash them while you are cleaning the mattress using the following steps: 

  • Vacuum the mattress with your vacuum’s brush attachment, making sure to get between the seams
  • Remove any stains using an enzyme cleaner and a cloth. Blot the stains with the enzyme cleaner and white up any excess cleaner with a damp cloth
  • Now you can deodorize your mattress by pouring an even layer of baking soda across one side of the mattress and letting it sit for 10 minutes to one day
  • Vacuum up the baking soda and then repeat the steps on the other side 

Deodorizing your mattress takes time, but it is vital to maintaining the life of your mattress. You will also want to let your mattress completely air dry by opening some windows before putting on the pads, covers, and sheets so that you do not get mold, mildew, or bacteria. Using a mattress cover also helps keep your mattress clean. 



Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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