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How do I Care for Vinyl Upholstery?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Vinyl upholstery is an option many people choose for household furnishings as well as for the car interior. Durable and often fade-resistant, upholstery of this type will last for many years if maintained properly. If you have vinyl upholstery in your home or in a vehicle, here are some tips on how to keep the vinyl looking great year after year.

One of the basics of keeping vinyl upholstery in shape is to deal with surface spills as soon as possible. In most situations, wiping up soda, coffee, or other liquids soon after the spill takes place will require nothing more than a damp cloth. If the liquid is allowed to dry on the upholstery, it will often take more drastic cleaning efforts to completely remove the residue.

While many people don’t think to vacuum or dust their upholstery as part of a regular cleaning routine, this simple action can make a big difference in how your vinyl holds up over time. Dust can collect in tiny folds on upholstered furniture. This becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and may produce unpleasant odors. Vacuuming out the folds eliminates the odor and also helps your vinyl upholstery to look new for a longer period of time.

When it is necessary to use a cleaning agent on your vinyl upholstery, beware of using products loaded with harsh chemicals. They can dull the sheen of the material as well as cause premature fading. Go with a solution of warm water and mild dish washing detergent. Immerse a clean sponge in the solution and wring out the excess. Too much water can cause the vinyl to dry and crack over time, so make sure to use a clean towel to dry the area after cleaning.

Even under the best of circumstances, there is a good chance your vinyl upholstery will incur a small tear, gash, or cigarette burn at some point. Make sure to address the issue at once. Keep a small vinyl repair kit on hand. Many of these kits include tools to match the color and also to imprint a grain that will match up with the original. Kits of this type work equally well with car upholstery and vinyl furniture.

Whether part of regular car maintenance or furniture care around the home, taking proper care of vinyl upholstery is a simple task. By removing dust regularly, using mild cleaning agents, and making sure to clean spills and repair rips and tears quickly, your vinyl will look great for many years to come.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon299661 — On Oct 25, 2012

Explain why both our vinyl desk chairs are completely delaminating after about three years.

By anon77914 — On Apr 16, 2010

very well said, but more i believe in is crypton solution. Everything you need to clean sun-baked stains from outdoor furniture, patios, decks in minutes. It's a crypton furniture cleaning product which cleans up even leather furniture.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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