Is there any safe way to have upholstered furniture cleaned?

Asked by Liz Wells
Burlington, NC

Have upholstered furniture that has suffered years of pets and kids. Needs some serious cleaning. Don't know about some of these companies that advertise steam cleaning or ecofriendly chemical cleaning. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Answered by Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Bainbridge Island, WA

A Kitchen That Works LLC

July 16, 2012

Dear Liz,

Finding legitimate eco-friendly upholstery cleaners can be challenging because they are typically using private label (and proprietary) cleaning solutions. So the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) may not list all the ingredients, but it is still worth asking for the MSDS.

There is a non-profit trade association, the International Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification ( that certifies upholstery cleaners and develops and sets standard for the entire inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. 

  • You can go to their website and type in your zip code to find certified members.
  • Once you find members it is a matter of interviewing them regarding their use of environmentally friendly products.

Good Luck!


For more information:

Read "Can you recommend a nontoxic fabric treatment to protect my ivory couch from stains?" a Q&A answered by Mary Cordaro.

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