MSU Extension logo

Michigan State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500283
06/24/03

Vinyl Upholstery--Cleaning



Regular Cleaning
Wash with mild detergent and water. Use a soft bristle brush for stubborn soil. Rinse and dry. Some household cleaners and solvents remove plasticizers from vinyl, making them brittle. Abrasive cleaners scratch the smooth surface.

Sometime letting detergent solution stand on surface and "soak" a few minutes loosens soil.

Special Cleaning
Vinyl cleaners sold in furniture stores or auto stores help clean stubborn soil on vinyl upholstery. Vinyl upholstery will absorb stains and dye from fabrics that crock or bleed (like crocking blue jeans on white vinyl or bright prints that bleed). A vinyl protective finish, sold at same stores, helps protect upholstery and resists or retards absorption of stains.

Act at once to remove stains from vinyl. Use a white cloth or paper towels. Keep solvents away from wood or metal parts. When solvents other than water are used to remove a stain, wash the area with detergent and water, rinse and dry.

1. Nail polish and polish remover will cause permanent damage if left on the surface. Wipe off quickly. Blot; do not spread the liquid. Sponge lightly with synthetic turpentine or mineral spirits. While nail polish remover or amyl acetate will remove polish, both may affect the vinyl. Use them only if necessary at you own risk.

2. Ballpoint pen marks may respond to alcohol. If not, cover area with a white cloth soaked in a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide and leave from 30 minutes to overnight.

3. Felt tip markers may respond to treatment with mineral spirits.

4. Remove substances such as oil paint, shoe heel marks, ink, tar, crayon, grease, shoe polish, ointment and cosmetics with synthetic turpentine or mineral spirits. Use hydrogen peroxide bleach treatment if necessary (see #2 above).

5. Chewing gum should be hardened with ice and chipped off. Remove residue with synthetic turpentine or mineral spirits.

When using solvents suggested in No. 1, 3 and 4 (turpentine or mineral spirits) use only in a well- ventilated room and avoid breathing fumes or getting on your skin. Be sure there is no flame, spark, pilot light, or cigarette in area, as they are flammable. Air out cloths used, to evaporate solvent before disposing.

References

This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus with references from Wisconsin Extension bulletin, Care and Cleaning of Upholstered Furniture, and Georgia Extension bulletin, How to Care for Your Furnishings.

Return to main page


This information is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. This information becomes public property upon publication and may be printed verbatim with credit to MSU Extension. Reprinting cannot be used to endorse or advertise a commercial product or company.

MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned.

This information.was reviewed as of June 2008.  For more information about the contents please contact costner@msu.edu for webpage problems strausc@msu.edu .