How To Clean a Chenille Couch

Thomas Ferraioli

Chenille is a delicate fabric and must be handled with care. Because of its tufted construction, the fabric needs a gentle touch during the cleaning process. Chenille couches can be successfully cleaned by hand with a low-moisture method.

Excessive stains or accumulated dirt require the services of a professional upholstery cleaning company.

  1. Choose an upholstery shampoo designated for hand or foam cleaning. Avoid upholstery shampoo that requires a steam machine. Read the label for recommended fabrics, and choose one that specifies chenille as an approved material.

  2. Cover hands with protective rubber gloves. Mix shampoo in the bucket as per the manufacturers recommendations. Always pre-test in an inconspicuous area to make sure the cleaning solution does not have an adverse reaction with the fabric.

  3. Agitate the solution in the bucket to form lots of suds. Dampen sponge or baby's hairbrush with the solution, and wring out excess moisture. Scoop up some suds and gently apply them to the chenille fabric. Lightly and evenly wet the fabric with the shampoo foam, very gently brushing or dabbing the nap of the chenille.

  4. Blot excess moisture and soil from the fabric with a clean terry cloth towel.

  5. Repeat steps two and three as needed to cover small sections of the couch at a time.

  6. Stand up any cushions or pillows to dry. Keep pets and children away from the couch until it is fully dry.

  7. Tip

    If water rings or brown spots persist after cleaning, purchase a brown-out or anti-yellow concentrate from a carpet cleaning supplier. Before attempting to clean any upholstery, check for a cleaning label with standardized codes: "S" means solvent only (dry cleaning); "S/W" means the fabric can be either solvent cleaned or wet cleaned with a water-based shampoo, as described above; "W" means that wet-based cleaning is the preferred method.


    Avoid excessive agitation, as this can damage chenille while wet.

    Do not over-wet chenille, as this can cause water rings when dry.

    Work in a well-ventilated room. Avoid using highly toxic products containing ingredients such as carbon tetrachloride.