How to Clean Velvet Upholstery

Laurie Brenner

The type of velvet on your upholstery drives the right method for cleaning it.

Brush the nap on velvet upholstery when it is damp.

Velvet made from synthetic fibers is the easiest to clean at home, but hire a professional to clean velvet made from wool, cotton, silk or a combination of these fibers, because you can unintentionally damage the fabric if you try it yourself.


Do not blot synthetic velvet as it can mat the fabric. Use a rubbing action to clean it. If the upholstery dries before you brush it, lightly dampen it and brush it while it is damp. Do not brush the fabric when it is dry.


If you attempt to clean wool, silk or cotton upholstery yourself, you can shrink or damage the upholstery fibers.

Avoid chemical solutions or spot removers, as these can also damage velvet upholstery fabrics.

  1. Attach the brush element to the hose on a vacuum. Remove dust and debris by vacuuming the upholstery.

  2. Mix a teaspoon of clear, mild dish-washing liquid into 16 ounces of warm or tepid water. Stir the mixture to dissolve all of the dish soap in the water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.

  3. Mist the upholstery fabric lightly with the cleaning solution. Do not over-wet the fabric.

  4. Rub the lightly misted upholstery with a coarse-textured towel. The coarser the towel, the better, as it scrubs the surface of the velvet without damaging it, and transfers the dirt and grime from the upholstery to the towel.

  5. Rinse the coarse towel in cool water, wringing it out several times until it is thoroughly rinsed clean.

  6. Add a capful of white vinegar to a gallon bucket of tepid water. Dip the towel in the vinegar and water solution, wringing out the excess water.

  7. Wipe the cleaned upholstery with the towel to remove the cleaning solution from the synthetic velvet upholstery.

  8. Brush any matted areas while the upholstery is damp to the touch with a fine-haired or soft brush. Then let the upholstery thoroughly dry.