These Laundry Gadgets are My Secret to Keeping Upholstered Furniture Spotless

gray living room


There are some parts of a house that just feel impossible to clean thoroughly and, in my book, upholstered furniture is one of them. Who even knows how much gunk could have settled into the fibers over the years—ew! 

Cozy, fabric-covered pieces, like sofas and chairs, are some of the most frequently used items in your entire home; yet, unless they’re slipcovered, it’s not like you can just throw them in the wash every week or whenever they get dirty.

Even if you’re extra careful and manage to avoid crumbs and grime completely, signs of wear and tear due to regular use will inevitably start to appear after a couple of years. 

And when you’re talking about big-ticket upholstered items (like a sofa!), if you want to get your money’s worth, you need them to stay looking sharp for a lot longer than that.

While we still haven't discovered any furniture care hacks to magically fix serious spills, these two surprising laundry gadgets can actually help. 

1. Fabric Shaver

Typically, this tool’s purpose is to “shave” off the fabric pills that can build up on overly worn clothing. Its internal rotating blades slice off any fraying fibers or pills, leaving behind a more even (and newer-looking!) finish. 

fabric shaver
Evercare Fabric Shaver, Large $11.00

However, I like to use it on my upholstered furniture instead. It shaves fabric pills off of high-contact fabric-covered areas, like seat cushions and sofa armrests, and erases years of use in a snap. 

With light pressure, simply graze your fabric shaver over the worn-looking area a few times, moving slowly so the gentle trimming blades can do their job. Just avoid using on extremely delicate fabrics, like silk, and always test a small, inconspicuous area first just to be safe.

2. Deodorant Removing Sponge

There are some upholstery fabrics you really shouldn’t get wet, especially if it’s a fabric that won’t take well to traditional cleaning products or you worry the dyes might bleed. Plus, you want to avoid drenching the batting inside, too, so it doesn’t grow mildew and start to smell. 

deodorant removing sponge
Hollywood Fashion Secrets Deodorant Removing Sponge $6.00

So aside from fancy upholstery-specific cleaners—which never seem to work for me all that well anyway—you aren’t left with many options.

That’s where a deodorant removing sponge comes in. You know, the kind you use on your clothes to rub off deodorant streaks or makeup smears on your clothes. 

For dry messes, gently rub a deodorant removing sponge over the dirty area in small, circular motions. With a few passes, it will gently buff off the dried-on gunk, without fading your fabric and leaving an unsightly discolored spot.

While I use it on my clothing too, I’ve discovered that this handy laundry gadget works wonders on my upholstered furniture. It’s very effective at buffing out small areas of caked-on gunk, like food residue that’s been rubbed into the fabric.