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Removing Odors from Furniture Upholstery

By Luke Armstrong

Upholstered furniture can release a stink for numerous reasons. A pet may have urinated on the family sofa. Or the furniture may be brand-new and smell of chemicals. Whatever the source of the unbearable stench, removing the odors may be accomplished by using any of the following methods.

What causes furniture upholstery to smell?

removing odor from furnitureBefore launching an odor removal mission, it is important to diagnose the cause of the unpleasant smells. Pets may be the culprit when ammonia-based odors are noticed. Urine reeks like ammonia, and yellow stains clearly indicate that a furry friend has urinated on the couch.

When a homeowner smells the urine but is unable to visually detect the stain, a back light can help. Shine the back light on the suspected area when the room is dark. (Back lights are available for rent through tool companies.) Examine the furniture’s skirt and crevices for urine stains.

Dog drool might be the offender. Bacteria runs rampant in dog drool and can cause stinky odors. Plus, the bacteria can react to the soil on the furniture and release foul smells. Human sweat, too, may be to blame since the neck and arms comes into contact with the furniture.

Volatile organic compounds may saturate new upholstered furniture. The compounds naturally evaporate and pollute the indoor air. Off-gassing, as the process is known, can lead to side effects, like headaches and dizziness. When smells are offensive and cause unwanted reactions, deodorize.

Upholstered furniture is not as consumer-friendly and cleanable as nonporous pieces, like varnished wood. Furniture covered in fabrics tends to readily absorb odors, since the soft materials are permeable. In fact, upholstered furniture is far more permeable than non-upholstered furniture.

Completely removing the stink from upholstered furniture is likely to be a major challenge. Savvy homeowners are encouraged to try to eliminate the foul odors via DIY project. In the event that the offensive whiffs persist, decide whether or not to seek professional help.

Option 1: Treat the Stain

upholstery stain cleaningUpon examining the sofa and finding the stain causing the odors, treat the stain quickly. An enzyme-based cleaner (which may be obtained as an over-the-counter product) can neutralize offending odors that come from urine stains. Enzyme-based cleaners do not typically require rinsing out.

Stinky smells coming from pet urine may be removed by utilizing water-based cleaning solutions. The effectiveness is due to the fact that urine itself is water based. If the urine has soaked through the furniture, clean the upholstery and replace the interior cushions.

Option 2: Let the Furniture Breathe

A dose of bacteria-killing sunshine and fresh air successfully dislodges disagreeable smells from upholstered furniture. Prior to temporarily leaving the furniture outside, remove the slipcovers and cushion covers. Toss the fabrics into the wash and launder according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If practical, remove the cushions from the furniture. Prop them outside in a vertical position, such as next to a patio table leg. Outdoor air will freely circulate around the cushions on both sides. Let the furniture sit under a screened porch for several days to thoroughly air out.

Option 3: Apply Baking Soda

A common household staple, baking soda can be used to absorb odors from upholstery. Sprinkle baking soda over the upholstered parts of the furniture. Also remove the cushions and toss a generous amount of baking soda onto the platform below. Let the baking soda sit for two hours, then vacuum.

When vacuuming, run the brush extension over both sides of the cushions. The body of the upholstered furniture should also be vacuumed with the brush attachment. Alternately, use a hand-held vacuum to access the innermost recesses of the furniture, such as the crevices.

Option 4: Steam Clean

Renting a steam cleaner from the local hardware store is another effective way to eliminate the smorgasbord of odors from upholstery. Set the steam at a minimum level to avoid oversoaking the cushions. Run the steam cleaner over every area of the furniture for a maximum clean.

Option 5: Hire a Pro

Professional upholstery cleaners are the solution when DIY methods fail to produce desirable results. Experts rely on one of two cleaning methods: wet cleaning or dry cleaning. Wet cleanings are less toxic and highly effective. Dry cleanings protect the fabric but require adequate ventilation.

Upholstered furniture offers comfort and relaxation. At the same time, well-used upholstery can start to stink. When your favorite pieces of furniture could use a professional clean, trust ServiceMaster DAK. We are a highly rated upholstery cleaning service and available to revitalize your furniture.

upholstery cleaningServiceMaster DAK technicians are experienced in cleaning furniture of all types and materials. We use safe yet advanced technologies and methods to return the sheen to your upholstery. Different fabric types require specific cleaning products and tactics. We are careful to use correct cleaning methods.

ServiceMaster DAK specializes in cleaning upholstery in both residential homes and commercial businesses. We treat upholstered cubicles and desk chairs along with sofas and cushioned chairs.

ServiceMaster DAK offers a thorough clean of all furniture fabric types, from leather to micro-fiber. We are proud to service family homes and businesses in northern Illinois, including communities in Northbrook, Glenview, Wilmette, and Lake Forest. Call to schedule a quality upholstery cleaning today.