How do I Care for Vinyl Upholstery?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Vinyl upholstery is often textured and colored to resemble leather.
Vinyl upholstery is often textured and colored to resemble leather.

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.

Vacuuming and dusting vinyl upholstery on a regular basis can prevent unpleasant odors due to bacteria.
Vacuuming and dusting vinyl upholstery on a regular basis can prevent unpleasant odors due to bacteria.

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.

A towel should be doused with cleaning solution and wrung out before being used to clean vinyl upholstery.
A towel should be doused with cleaning solution and wrung out before being used to clean vinyl upholstery.

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.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

anon299661

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

anon77914

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.

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    • Vinyl upholstery is often textured and colored to resemble leather.
      Vinyl upholstery is often textured and colored to resemble leather.
    • Vacuuming and dusting vinyl upholstery on a regular basis can prevent unpleasant odors due to bacteria.
      Vacuuming and dusting vinyl upholstery on a regular basis can prevent unpleasant odors due to bacteria.
    • A towel should be doused with cleaning solution and wrung out before being used to clean vinyl upholstery.
      A towel should be doused with cleaning solution and wrung out before being used to clean vinyl upholstery.