Tips to Washing Your Headboard


Washing Your Headboard

The average person spends about 228,000 hours in bed during their lifetime. With all that time spent in bed, you can guess how dirty a headboard may become over time. Knowing that your head spends so much time next to the headboard is a great reason to keep it as clean as possible. 

You must use care when washing a headboard. Wooden and metal headboards are easier to clean. Upholstered headboards can be challenging to clean.  There are many ways that you can successfully clean a headboard. 

In this article, we will learn the best ways to clean a headboard. 

Cleaning a Headboard

There are many different types of headboards. Each headboard will have a specific way that it needs to be cared for and cleaned. You must clean a headboard carefully, so you do not cause damage to the furniture. Before you begin, you need to gather the proper materials. 

  • Warm water
  • Gentle cleaning solution
  • Soft cloths
  • Bucket
  • Spray bottle
  • Wood cleaner
  • Furniture polish
  • Vacuum with an upholstery attachment
  • Fabric cleaner

Depending on the type of material your headboard is made of the materials needed will vary. Even if you are cleaning a metal or wood frame, you may still want to use a vacuum to get dust from the crevices in the headboard. 

Wood Headboards

One of the most common types of headboards is a wood headboard. Wood is an easy type of headboard to clean because it requires minimal materials and elbow grease. When cleaning wood, you want to be careful not to saturate the wood because it could cause damage. Follow these steps to clean a wooden headboard. 

Wood Headboard Cleaning
  1. Pull the bed away from the wall, if possible so you can reach all areas of the headboard. 
  2. Use the vacuum to remove any excess dirt and cobwebs that may have accumulated on the headboard. It is best to use a soft brush attachment to avoid scratches. 
  3. Use a dry microfiber cloth to remove any dust from the headboard. 
  4. Go over the headboard with a damp cloth to clean excess dirt. 
  5. Dry the headboard with a microfiber cloth.
  6. Apply furniture polish or oil if you desire. Make sure it does not get on the bedding when applying it. 

You should add dusting the headboard to your weekly chores to help keep the dust and grime at bay. 

Metal Headboards

Metal headboards are also easy to maintain and care for. Most metal headboards are made with a series of bent metal tubes that are painted. When cleaning a metal headboard, you want to make sure you do not use anything abrasive because it will scratch the surface of the headboard. If you scratch the paint off the headboard, it can cause rust to form after cleaning. Follow these steps to clean a metal headboard.

Metal Headboard Cleaning
  1. Pull the bed away from the wall, if possible so you can reach all areas of the headboard. 
  2. Use the vacuum to remove any excess dirt and cobwebs that may have accumulated on the headboard. It is best to use a soft brush attachment, so you do not scratch the headboard. 
  3. Use a dry microfiber cloth to remove any dust that is on the headboard. 
  4. Go over the headboard with a damp cloth to clean excess dirt. 
  5. Dry the headboard with a microfiber cloth.

There is no reason to apply polish to the metal frame. Drying the headboard with a microfiber cloth will leave a nice shine on the metal. Doing this with your weekly cleaning routine will cut down on the dirt that gets trapped on the headboard. 

(Sources: Time for Sleep, Just Headboards, and Bed Frames)

Upholstery Headboards

One of the most difficult headboard materials to clean is the upholstery. Fabric traps dust and can become stained very easily. Just like any fabric, it takes care and caution to maintain its cleanliness. Different types of fabric are used to cover headboards, so you need to know what type yours is covered with. The most common coverings are made with cotton or linen (Source: Sewing is Cool) because of their durability. Here is how you can clean them. 

Upholstery Headboard Cleaning
  1. Pull the bed away from the wall, if possible so you can reach all areas of the headboard. 
  2. Use the vacuum to remove any excess dirt and cobwebs that may have accumulated on the headboard. A lot of vacuums come with a special upholstery brush that you can use. 
  3. Many headboards have buttons and other adornments that can hold dust, you may need a smaller detailing attachment to get the dust that has accumulated around them. 
  4. Using a cloth dampened with detergent and warm water, you can gently wipe off the headboard. Be sure not to oversaturate the upholstery because you could end up with water spots or mildew if it does not dry correctly. 

Tough Stains

Sometimes an upholstered headboard can gather some stains that are challenging to get out. If this is the case, you may need to use a special fabric cleaner. Using fabric cleaner can be tricky because it can make the fabric discolored. It is wise to test the colorfastness of the fabric by cleaning a small area on the bottom back of the bed. If there is any discoloration, it will not be noticed, and you will know not to use the cleaning solution. 

Once you have determined the colorfastness of the fabric, you are ready to begin cleaning. Following the directions on the upholstery cleaner, begin cleaning the headboard, concentrating on the stained areas. After the stain cleaner has had an opportunity to sit, you need to go over the bed with a damp white cloth to remove the cleaner. 

Using a white cloth is important because the color will not bleed from the cloth onto the headboard. After the headboard has been cleaned, allow it to dry and run the vacuum over it to remove any excess dust and dirt. 

How Do You Clean a Wall Headboard?

Cleaning a wall headboard can be more challenging than cleaning a headboard that is attached to the bed. It is challenging because you must be careful not to get a cleaning solution on the wall. Most paint does not handle water and cleaning solutions well. Nonetheless, you can clean a wall headboard, carefully. Follow these steps to clean your wall headboard.

Clean a Wall Headboard
Clean a Wall Headboard
  1. Pull the bed away from the wall so you can reach all parts of the headboard. 
  2. Using a vacuum, carefully clean the dust out of the crevices of the headboard. It would be best to use a soft brush or upholstery attachment when doing this to avoid scratches. 
  3. If the headboard is wood, you will want to use a damp cloth to gently wipe away any dust or dirt that is on the headboard. You may need to use furniture polish or a soap and water solution. 
  4. Upholstered headboards may require stain remover, if this is the case, you will want to apply it to an inconspicuous location near the bottom of the headboard and then proceed with cleaning. 
  5. After the stain cleaner has had an opportunity to sit, you will want to use a damp white cloth to wipe away the dirt that is lifted by the stain cleaner. 
  6. Allow the headboard to fully dry then vacuum it to remove any dirt that is left. 
  7. Carefully move the bed back into position. 

How Often Should You Clean a Headboard?

You may be wondering how often you need to clean a headboard. There is not a set rule about the number of times or frequency that a headboard needs to be cleaned, but it would be wise to at least wipe it down each week and plan a deep clean every six months. If the upholstery on your headboard gets stained, you may need to increase the frequency of cleaning. 

(Source: Fantastic Services)

Cleaning Ornate Headboards

Some headboards are adorned with intricate decorations that can trap dust daily. When cleaning a headboard with this level of detail, you must do a thorough job when you clean it. For general cleaning, you can easily wipe over the headboard with a microfiber cloth, but during deep cleaning, you want to make sure you get into all the crevices. 

A vacuum can help you remove most of the dust and dirt, but inevitably, there will be dirt that cannot be vacuumed up. In this case, you will want to use detailing brushes or even Q-tips, depending on the space you are working with. 

Tools: Cleaning an ornate headboard will require different tools than normal headboards. One of the most valuable tools you will use is a brush. This brush should not be stiff because it could scratch the wood unnecessarily. Sometimes a simple paintbrush can do the trick, but there are detailing brushes that can be used too. 

Distilled water: When cleaning an ornate headboard, it is best to use distilled water. Using distilled water eliminates the risk of chemicals seeping into the wood. Most designs are appliques that are glued to the wood. You want to keep moisture away from these parts because it can cause the wood to separate. 

Soft cloth: A soft dry cloth is one of the best things that you can use to finish cleaning ornate wood. This will allow a nice shine to develop on the wood without using polish or harsh chemicals. 

Whenever you clean an ornate headboard, you need to use care, so you do not damage the headboard. Some ornate headboards are antiques and need to be treated carefully. Harsh chemicals and water can damage antiques. 

Remove Scalp Oil from a Headboard

One of the most common stains you will find on a headboard is scalp oil. Unfortunately, pillows shift during sleep, and often your head will touch the headboard. The sweat and oil that is on your scalp will end up on the headboard. You will not notice stains right away, but over time you will notice an oily-looking spot. This cannot be removed with simple soap and water. Here is how to clean it. 

  1. Gather your materials, detergent and water, soft cloth, and baking soda.
  2. Use a cloth to carefully wipe the area where the stain has appeared.
  3. Put baking soda on the area and leave it to sit for several hours
  4. Vacuum or wipe the baking soda off. 
  5. Use a damp cloth with the detergent solution to wipe the headboard off.

Oil stains can be tricky to remove so it may require several repetitions of the cleaning process until you are happy with the result. If traditional cleaners are not working, you may need to find something specific to oil stains. A furniture or upholstery store may be able to help you find the best item. 

(Source: Apartment Therapy)

Why is My Headboard Sticky?

If you have a wooden headboard, you may notice a sticky film has built up over time. Whatever you do, do not try to scrape this film off because you will damage the wood. The sticky residue is from grease or vapors in the air. If you use an oil diffuser in your room, you may notice this build-up. Cleaning the residue off is easy to do. 

  1. Dust the furniture first.
  2. Apply a cleaning solution to the headboard with a damp cloth.
  3. Carefully dry the solution off. 
  4. You may need to repeat this several times to remove the residue. 

For particularly thick build-up, you may need to use a vinegar solution, but make sure it is diluted so you do not damage the wood and always wipe with clean water after. Never use an abrasive sponge or brush to remove the build-up. It will be tempting to do this because it may seem easier, but you will damage the wood. 

(Source: Speed Cleaning)

Final Thoughts

A headboard is the focal point of many bedrooms, it is also an area that gets used constantly. It is easy for dirt and grime to build up on headboards if they are not cleaned properly. To eliminate the risk of germs and to keep your headboard presentable, you need to take time to clean it often. 

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