How to Clean Velvet Upholstery and Velvet Furniture

8 May 2023
Est. Reading: 3 minutes
What's in This Guide?
Cleaning Items You'll Need.
A stiff brush or nail brush
Soft brush
Blunt knife or butter knife
Spray bottle
Dish soap or mild detergent
Rubbing alcohol (optional)
A hair-dryer
Clean cotton towels


Velvet is a luxurious fibre, but it is notoriously difficult to keep clean, and it stains easily. The nap's structure prevents you from scrubbing it like you would conventional fabric. Cleaning velvet requires care and patience to keep it looking its best.

Velvet is also water-sensitive and clumps under moisture. Meaning that to expose the velvet pile without clumping or causing damage, you must dry brush the fabric. The key is to gently groom the velvet and not overwork the pile. This is especially important when cleaning velvet shoes or jackets.

How To Clean Velvet the Correct Way

In this cleaning tutorial, we are using a chair to show you how to clean velvet upholstery, but this method will work on any velvet fabric. The tutorial also applies to velvet headboards and velvet sofas. Among many other types of velvet, such as velvet shoes, velvet jackets, and velvet clothes.

If you want to clean velvet or velour car seats, you may need to adjust your method. Velour car seats will hold quite a lot of contact grease soiling. To clean them, you may need to use rubbing alcohol to break down the soil before adding moisture. But to be sure, spot-test an inconspicuous area first.

Velour door panels, armrests, and seats are typically synthetic and are common in car interiors. They are durable and easy to clean, so will clean up well using the method in this post. The process for washing velour car seats is the same as for cleaning other types of velvet.

Step-By-Step Instructions

How to clean velvet in 5 easy steps from home.

Step One: Brush the Velvet
The first step is to use a stiff brush to clean the surface of your velvet of any lint or dirt. 95% of the filth in the material can be removed dry, therefore you should focus on getting rid of as much of it as you can.

We also carefully scrape away particularly difficult residue from the fibre using a blunt knife.

Step Two: Vacuum the Velvet
Get rid of the loosened debris on the velvet fabric by vacuuming it with a vacuum attachment.

Step Three: Mix Up the Cleaning Solutions
Mix up a mild cleaning solution to take care of the food stains left behind. Add 500 ml of water to a spray bottle and no more than one-quarter of a teaspoon of dish soap. It will not make the solution any better, it will leave the fabric covered in suds and attract more dirt. If you have some, add 2 spoons of rubbing alcohol. While not necessary, it will be beneficial.

Step Four: Wash and Spot Clean
Spray the clean cotton towel with your cleaning mixture a few times. Wipe the velvet gently, going from side to side to prevent letting the stain seep into the fibres. Instead of pushing dirt into the velvet, the idea is to transfer it to the cotton towel. Repeat this process until there is no longer any transfer to your cotton towel.

Step Five: Groom the Velvet
Grooming is essential to retain its soft hand and luxurious feel.

Once all remaining transfer has been removed you can groom the velvet with a soft brush. Sweep the brush from side to side, while using the hairdryer to dry the material.

The main problem with velvet cleaning; people do not dry the velvet and the pile distorts. Leaving it looking unsightly.

Pro Tip...!
A blunt knife's reverse side works brilliantly for grooming velvet. Just be careful not to press down too hard, like you are buttering bread. This will get the pile in a nice uniform direction. Also, if you introduced too much moisture, this is excellent for helping the pile stand correctly after cleaning.

Conclusion on Cleaning Velvet at Home

The outcome is fantastic, and the chair looks amazing (see velvet cleaning video below). The chair was from a retail setting in the city of Dublin and was covered in ingrained food and drink. Normally, we may clean it by rinse extracting it with specialist cleaning equipment. However, this is a tutorial on how to clean velvet at home, and you probably do not have this specialized equipment.

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