How To Clean A Recliner: Complete Guide

Recliners are one of the most used furniture in our homes. We can sit on a recliner for a whole day and it is usually everyone’s favorite especially when watching a movie. They are just so comfortable that we sometimes fall asleep on them too! It is no surprise when one day, you start noticing that your recliner is a bit different. It smells off and covered with different particles – mainly hair and food! Now you wonder how to clean a recliner! The thing with recliners is that their surface needs to be maintained and taken care of. Do we leave it to a professional?

When it comes to this situation, we usually scratch our heads trying to figure out the proper way of cleaning a recliner. Well, if you would rather clean it yourself, you are in luck! In this article, we will be going over how to clean recliners of different upholsteries and situations.

Determining the Material

Here is the tricky part when it comes to cleaning furniture, especially recliners – there is not just one solution! What worked for your friend’s recliner might not necessarily work on yours. To avoid future problems, you need to be aware of the material of your recliner. It should be one of your deciding factors.

Here are some of the common recliner materials:

Faux Leather

This material is synthetic leather and is usually a preferred material for sofas. Aside from looking beautiful and grand, faux leathers are durable and low maintenance. They are less prone to fading and cracking unlike the other materials too!


Recliners that are upholstered in microfiber look very soft and comfortable. You might not want to stand up from it too! Apart from those, this type of recliner is usually easier to clean compared to the others.


Suede is an unfinished leather. Thus, you can count on it for its durability. Plus, the feel of a velvet-like surface is so nice to the touch! Each rub changes the shade of your couch which is fun too!


This recliner is much more affordable compared to others. At the same time, they can come in different varieties of styles too! Having a recliner made of fabric gives off a cozy feel in your living room.

Now here is how you should clean your recliners according to its material:

How to Clean Faux Leather Recliner

Step 1: Mix mild dish detergent with warm water for regular cleaning and a mild bar of soap for tougher stains and grime.

Step 2: Carefully wipe the stains with a damp cloth. Make sure to squeeze excess mixture and to not rub the surface. Doing so may lead to discoloration!

Step 3: When the surface has dried up, use a new cloth to wipe and polish your recliner.

How to Clean Microfiber Recliner

When it comes to microfiber recliners, they usually come with care tags that will have any of these letters: S, W, SW, or X. Do not ignore those and always keep them in mind. It is a guide on how to properly clean your recliner too.

Clean recliner with tag S

S means your recliner should be cleaned using solvent-based cleaning agents.

Step 1: Run the vacuum on your recliner to remove dirt particles.

Step 2: Spray waterless dry cleaning solvent or rubbing alcohol in one section of your recliner.

Step 3: Rub the sprayed area vigorously with a cloth or sponge. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have covered the whole recliner.

Step 4: As soon as the recliner dries up, brush it to re-fluff the fibers. Make sure to use stiff bristle brushes.

Clean recliner with tag W

W means you can use water-based cleaning agents on your recliner.

Step 1: Run the vacuum on your recliner to remove dirt particles.

Step 2: Mix water-based shampoo, foam upholstery cleaner, or clear dishwashing liquid with water.

Step 3: Work on one section of your recliner at a time using a damp sponge. Make sure to squeeze out the excess mixture.

Step 4: When dry, brush your recliner to re-fluff the microfibers. Make sure to use stiff bristle brushes.

Clean recliner with tag X

X code means you should only use a vacuum to clean your recliner.

When you have a recliner with this cleaning code, you might think cleaning it is easier; but actually, you need to be more careful with it. When your recliner badly needs cleaning, you will have to bring it to a professional.

To maintain your recliner, just vacuum it up regularly and brush it using stiff bristle brushes.

Clean recliner with tag SW

SW means your recliner can be cleaned using solvent-based or water-based cleaning agents.

This is the easiest to clean. When looking for microfiber recliners, it’s best to go with the one that has this cleaning code.

When faced with easier stains and grime such as food or drink and pet drool or fur, it is recommended that you go with water-based cleaning.

On the other hand, if you need to deal with tougher stains like pen or crayon marks and oil or grease, it is highly recommended to follow solvent-based cleaning.

How to Clean Suede Recliner

Similar to microfiber recliners, this type usually comes with care tags too. However, if yours does not or if you have lost it, it is safe to assume that it’s an S-labeled recliner.

Step 1: Vacuum the whole recliner first. Make sure to run it repeatedly especially on the corners.

Step 2: With the right mixture, start with one section of your recliner. For S labels, it is best to use rubbing alcohol. Make sure to use damp cloth or sponge. Don’t forget to squeeze excess mixture.

Step 3: Once dry, brush the whole recliner with a soft scrub brush.

How to Clean Fabric Recliner

Just like the Microfiber and Suede Recliners, this type comes with a cleaning code too. Make sure to use the right mixture for each label.

Step 1: Brush the whole recliner using a stiff brush with natural bristles. This will loosen the stain and remove loose dust and dirt.

Step 2: After brushing, run the vacuum on the whole recliner to remove particles on the surface. This makes it easier for you to determine tougher stains.

Step 3: Sprinkle baking soda over the entire recliner. For areas with tougher stains, mix baking soda with water. Let it sit for 20 minutes.

Step 4: Vacuum the whole recliner again to remove the baking soda. It’s best to use brush attachment for the vacuum during this step.

Step 5: Spray on the right mixture depending on your recliner’s cleaning code. Make sure to work on one section at a time and use damp cloth or sponge. Don’t forget to squeeze excess mixture!

Step 6: Manually dry the recliner using a soft towel and let it air dry overnight.

How to Clean Spots From a Recliner

When you’re watching movies on your recliner, it’s normal to have something to eat and drink beside you. While that may be cool, fun, and convenient, doing that increases your chances of spilling and staining your recliner!

When that happens, it’s best to treat it immediately to have an easier time cleaning. It’s best to take action within 10 minutes!

Step 1: Using a clean and dry cloth, blot the stain immediately. Be careful not to rub the surface!

Step 2: Using the right mixture, apply it to the stain, and work on the outside first. This avoids the stain from spreading out.

Step 3: Let the recliner dry and brush it afterward.

Can we use a steam cleaner, vacuum, detergent, or vinegar?

When trying to keep your recliner in tip-top shape, it’s normal to experiment on different cleaning tools and agents to find out which one is the most effective and efficient.

If you’re thinking about using a steam cleaner, it’s best to check in with the manufacturer to see if your recliner’s material can handle the heat. On the other hand, a vacuum is the safest option and can be used with most of the materials.

In using detergents, make sure your sofa has a water-based label. It’s worth noting that mild detergents are your safest option too. For vinegar, if you have real leather, you can use it as an alternative. Make sure to mix vinegar with water in equal amounts. However, for fabric upholstery, you can use it as an alternative for baking soda but do so sparingly. Using it too often can damage the condition of the fabric.

How to Protect Your Recliners

Cleaning recliners too often is also detrimental to its condition. You might think you’re just maintaining it but in reality, you’re causing it to wear and tear faster. Also, it’s better to invest in recliner protectors than to buy a new recliner!

Your first option is to get an upholstery protector. They’re easy to use but it would need reapplication once in a while. Just spray about 6” from the surface twice, both in a slow and sweeping motion.

Your other option is to get a cover. This is a very straightforward option. However, you would need to clean this one up too!

In case you need to fix any part of your recliner take a look at our guide on how to do that!

Finally, when purchasing a recliner, make sure to consider their special care notes and not lose them. This will help you keep your favorite furniture looking brand new. Maintaining the looks of your recliner is not just for its benefits anyway. When you have a good looking recliner, it adds up to the aesthetics of your home too. It’s a win-win!

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