How to Clean an Upholstered Bed Frame: A Complete Guide

By Geoff McKinnen Certified Sleep Coach

Last Updated On April 18th, 2024
How to Clean an Upholstered Bed Frame: A Complete Guide

Key Takeaways

  • Upholstered Bed Appeal: Upholstered beds offer both visual charm and comfort, allowing for the personalization of bedroom decor. The soft fabric provides a cozier feel compared to traditional wooden headboards, enhancing the overall bedroom aesthetic.
  • Maintenance Challenges: While upholstered beds add a luxurious touch, they require meticulous care. Delicate fabrics accumulate dust, stains, and even mold over time. Faded or worn upholstery is a risk without proper cleaning. Knowing the right techniques, cleaning solutions, and preventive measures is crucial for long-lasting pristine condition.
  • Cleaning Guidelines by Fabric: Different upholstery fabrics demand specific cleaning approaches. From velvet and leather to cotton and linen, each material requires tailored care. Regular maintenance involves vacuuming and spot cleaning, while deep cleaning methods, including steamers and professional services, should be employed seasonally.

Upholstered beds have become increasingly popular for many homeowners due to their visual appeal and comfort. The padded fabric adds an extra layer of cushioning and feels far cozier to lean against than a wooden headboard. The fabric also allows you to add personality and color to your bedroom decor.

However, delicate fabrics require more care and maintenance than bare wood or metal bed frames. Over time, upholstered beds can accumulate dust, dirt, stains, and even mold if not cleaned properly. The fabric can also become faded, worn, or ripped without gentle handling.

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By learning the proper techniques and cleaning solutions for your particular upholstery fabric, you can keep your bed in pristine condition for many years. This guide will cover everything from vacuuming and spot cleaning to deep cleaning methods using steamers or professional-grade cleaners. We’ll also provide tips on how to tackle stubborn stains and odors as well as recommendations for maintenance and prevention.

Quick Guide: A 30-Second Summary

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Materials Used in Upholstered Beds

Upholstered bed frames can be covered in a wide variety of fabrics from velvet and leather to cotton and linen. Here are some of the most common:

  • Velvet – Luxurious and elegant, but requires special care when cleaning. Avoid scrubbing and use only light pressure.
  • Leather – Easy to wipe down and clean, but can crack if it dries out. Needs occasional conditioning.
  • Cotton – Durable, affordable, and can withstand vigorous cleaning, hot water, and bleach.
  • Linen – Tightly woven for durability. Spot clean only and allow to fully air dry.
  • Polyester – Withstands wear and tear, resistant to stains and fading.
  • Wool – Soft but retains moisture easily. Use steam or dry cleaning only.

The filling inside cushions also matters. Feather, down, foam, cotton, or poly-fill provide padding. Check tags to see if the internal materials are washable or if spot cleaning is required.

Always inspect the label on your upholstered bed frame before cleaning. Look for the proper washing methods or dry cleaning codes. This will tell you which products can be safely used.

Preparing to Clean Your Upholstered Bed

  1. Remove all bedding, including mattress pads, sheets, blankets, duvet covers, and pillows. This allows full access to the upholstered frame as well as the upholstered fabric headboard.
  2. Vacuum the bed base and headboard before wet cleaning. This removes dirt, dust mites, pet hair, and other debris.
  3. Gather your supplies: vacuum attachment, cleaning solutions, clean sponge or soft cloth, dry cloth, toothbrush for tight areas, etc.
  4. Check the tag for washing instructions and a suitable fabric cleaner. Look up codes if none are listed.
  5. Test cleaners in a small, inconspicuous area first to check for any discoloration or damage.

Regular Maintenance Cleaning Tips

  • Vacuum weekly using the soft brush attachment. Pay extra attention to creases, tufts, and buttons where dust collects.
  • Spot clean spills and stains right away with a mild detergent and warm water solution. Avoid vigorous rubbing.
  • Use a toothbrush to gently work cleaners into intricate areas like seams or embroidery.
  • Allow all parts to fully air dry before replacing bedding. Moisture can breed mold and mildew.
  • Freshen up your mattress and box spring with baking soda or baking powder between deeper cleanings.

Deep Cleaning Methods

Over time, vacuuming and spot-treating may not be enough for your bed frame. We suggest planning for seasonal deep cleaning sessions every 3 to 6 months.

One effective deep-cleaning method is steam cleaning. This involves using heat to sanitize and loosen stubborn, stuck-on grime. Employ a handheld steamer or use the upholstery attachment on your steam cleaner.

For targeted treatment, consider using spot cleaners designed specifically for upholstered furniture. Follow the product’s instructions meticulously to ensure efficient and safe stain removal.

If your upholstered bed requires a more forceful approach, extractors can be employed. These vacuum systems are designed to rinse away dirt and stains from the padding more vigorously, providing a thorough cleaning.

In cases where your bed is seriously soiled or stained, professional cleaning services can be a powerful solution. These companies use potent equipment and commercial-grade cleaners to deliver a comprehensive and effective deep clean to your upholstered bed. While costly, they can be extremely effective for beds you may have considered beyond salvaging.

Cleaning an Upholstered Headboard

If you have an upholstered headboard but not a full upholstered bed frame, it still requires regular cleaning and care. Headboards easily attract dust, oil, hair products, and other debris since they are in constant contact with your head and hands.

Follow these tips to keep your upholstered headboard clean and fresh.

Start by vacuuming the headboard at least once a week with a soft brush attachment. Pay close attention to crevices, tufts, and any decorative trim where dust likes to accumulate. For more thorough cleaning, mix together a solution of lukewarm water and a small amount of mild, gentle detergent. Lightly sponge this onto the headboard using a soft cloth. Avoid rubbing vigorously or saturating the fabric. Rinse with a clean damp cloth to remove soap residue.

About once a month, use baking soda to deep clean and deodorize the headboard by liberally sprinkling it onto the fabric, letting it sit for 1-2 hours; afterward, gently blot the area with a paper towel and vacuum away, ensuring this effective method is applicable to natural fabrics as well, as the baking soda absorbs odors, surface oils, and perspiration that can accumulate on an upholstered headboard over time.

Be prompt about spot-cleaning any spills or stains to prevent them from settling deeper into the fabric. However, avoid scrubbing aggressively as this can damage delicate upholstery. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance on cleaning products safe for your particular headboard fabric.

Cleaning by Fabric Material

Certain fabrics require special care instructions:

  • Velvet: Avoid water. Use a velvet brush weekly. For stains, blot gently and use steam or dry solvents.
  • Leather: Wipe down weekly with a damp microfiber cloth. Condition occasionally with leather cleaner.
  • Wool: Vacuum cleaner only. Professionally steam-clean wool upholstery if needed. Do not get wet.
  • Linen: Spot clean only. Use a cloth dampened with warm water and mild detergent.
  • Cotton: More durable. Can withstand hot water, bleach, and vigorous scrubbing if needed.
  • Polyester: Easy to clean. Withstands most water-based cleaners, detergents, and disinfectants.

Removing Stubborn Stains

Tackle and spot-treat pesky stains on your upholstered headboard or bed frame as soon as possible. Here are some remedies for common culprits:

Drying and Deodorizing

It’s crucial to allow all parts of your upholstered bed to completely dry after cleaning. Lingering moisture encourages mold, discoloration, and unpleasant odors.

Speed up drying time by placing it near a window, using fans, or blowing on low heat with a hairdryer. Turn cushions periodically. Apply baking soda to freshen up the fabrics. Vacuum after an hour or sprinkle some scented carpet deodorizer powder.

Preventing Future Stains and Damage

  • Use mattress covers and pads. Waterproof protectors shield against spills and stains.
  • Rotate your mattress frequently to allow upholstery to wear evenly.
  • Immediately treat tougher stains, spots, and spills by applying white vinegar. Give it a gentle scrub and blot it with a clean cloth. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing aggressively.
  • Discourage eating, drinking, or jumping on the bed to prevent stains.
  • Keep pets off upholstered surfaces to avoid scratches, bites, urine stains, and fur.
  • Vacuum weekly and use fabric freshener spray to prevent embedded dirt and odors.

When to Call for Professional Cleaning

In most cases, you can keep your upholstered bed spotless with regular light cleaning. But if you encounter any of these issues such as persistent stains or extensive soiling that regular cleaning cannot resolve, it’s advisable to call the pros.

They have the expertise to use solvent-based cleaners specifically tailored to the affected area, ensuring efficient stain removal without compromising the integrity of your upholstery. By incorporating professional assistance into your regular cleaning schedule, you can maintain the pristine condition of your upholstered bed for years to come. If you encounter any of these, call the pros:

  • Beds more than 5 years old with extensive, embedded soiling. The pros have heavy-duty equipment.
  • Pervasive unpleasant odors that DIY remedies cannot eliminate. Odor removal is a specialty.
  • Expensive heirloom beds where DIY damage would be heartbreaking.
  • Severely soiled internal mattress material. Professionals can access the interior.
  • Visible mold or mildew growing on the mattress or upholstery.
  • Major spills that have soaked far into the padding.


How do you clean upholstery on a bed frame?

Cleaning upholstery on a bed frame involves a few simple steps. Start by vacuuming the fabric to remove loose dirt and debris. For stains, use a mild detergent or upholstery cleaner with a soft brush or cloth. Always check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, as different fabrics may require specific care. Consider spot testing in an inconspicuous area before applying any cleaning solution to ensure compatibility.

Are upholstered bed frames hard to clean?

Upholstered bed frames can be cleaned with proper care, but the level of difficulty depends on the material and construction. Regular maintenance, such as vacuuming and immediate spot cleaning, can prevent the accumulation of dirt and stains, making the overall cleaning process more manageable.

However, certain fabrics may require specialized cleaning products, and delicate upholstery may need professional cleaning. Understanding the specific cleaning needs of the upholstery and addressing spills promptly can contribute to easier maintenance.

How do you get dust out of a bed frame?

To remove dust from a bed frame, start by vacuuming the entire frame, including seams, joints, and any crevices where dust may accumulate. Use a vacuum cleaner with a nozzle attachment to reach tight spaces.

For areas with stubborn dust, consider using a soft brush or a microfiber cloth to gently wipe away the particles. Regular dusting and cleaning routines help prevent the buildup of dust on bed frames.

What are the downsides of upholstered beds?

While upholstered beds offer comfort and style, there are some potential downsides to consider. Upholstered fabrics may attract and retain dust more than solid surfaces, requiring regular cleaning. Stains can be more visible on upholstery, and certain materials may be more prone to wear and tear.

Additionally, upholstered beds may be challenging to clean thoroughly, especially if the fabric is not removable or machine washable. Individuals with allergies should also be cautious, as upholstered surfaces can harbor allergens.

Are upholstered headboards easy to clean?

Cleaning upholstered headboards can be relatively straightforward with routine care. Regularly vacuuming the headboard, using a soft brush or upholstery attachment, helps prevent dust and debris buildup. For stains, follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and use a mild detergent or upholstery cleaner.

Some upholstered headboards feature removable covers that can be machine-washed, offering an easier cleaning solution. As with any upholstery, prompt attention to spills and stains contributes to easier maintenance.


Upholstered beds add comfort and elegance to your bedroom but require gentle care and regular cleaning to keep them in optimal condition. Unlike wood or metal beds, they require some special care and cleaning methods to keep them looking beautiful. Learn your bed’s fabric composition and proper cleaning methods. Stick to a routine of frequent vacuuming, prompt stain removal, and periodic deep cleaning.

With proper maintenance, your upholstered bed can remain beautiful for over a decade. Or know when it’s time to hire professional upholstery cleaners for a thorough refresh. Follow these tips, and you can rest easy knowing your lovely upholstered bed will provide comfort and an inviting backdrop for your bedroom for years to come.

More Cleaning Guides for Mattresses & Bedding

For mattresses:

For pillows:

For sheets:

For blankets, quilts, comforters, etc:

For other bedding items:

About the author

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

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