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Understanding Upholstery Cleaning Codes and Care Instructions

Whether you’re working with a wood coffee table or leather sofa, regularly cleaning and caring for your furniture pieces will help to keep them in top shape for years to come – but which products are safe to use, and which aren’t? Here a few of the most common cleaning codes and procedures and how to follow them.

Standard Upholstery Codes

upholstery cleaning codes

Before cleaning with any type of agent, always check the cleaning tags to make sure you are using the right one for your furniture.

W”: Use a water-based cleaning agent. This cleaning code is the easiest one to follow, since most upholstery cleaners are water-based. You can also gently wipe down stains with a cloth damp with water and not worry about damage. Purchase a water-based cleaner at your nearest grocery store, or (if safe to do so) consider making your own solution by mixing equal parts water and baking soda.

S”: Use dry cleaning agents only. If a stain or spill occurs, look for a professional-grade dry cleaning product and avoid cleaning it with anything containing water.

WS”: Both water-based and dry cleaning agents are safe to use, though we recommend playing it safe and sticking to a professional solvent or dry-cleaning service. If you must use a water-based agent, get to the stain or spill as soon as possible.

X”: Vacuum only; do not use any sort of cleaning solution, professional or otherwise, or else risk permanent damage.

For all types of upholstery, getting to any stains or spills as soon as possible (preferably within minutes of the stain occurring!) will prevent the stain from setting in and increase your chances of completely removing it.

upholstery cleaning type

Assembly Instructions

Part of furniture care means ensuring a proper set-up; assembling furniture in haste and/or without following the instructions included with your item could pose a safety risk.

upholstery assembly instructions

— Common Types of Assembly Chart —

Product Type Common Types of Assembly Required*

Assemble sofa legs with screws: A screwdriver will be needed to attach all four sofa legs.
Attach the back: The back of the sofa will arrive separate from the base, and instructions will be provided for proper attachment.


Assemble the headboard, footboard and/or rails: The headboard, footboard and rails will arrive separately, and instructions will be provided for proper attachment.
Hardware assembly: Any pieces of hardware, such as drawer pulls or headboard trimmings, may come separated. Follow the instructions for attachment.

Coffee Tables

Attach casters: If a coffee table has casters, they will often require assembly.
Assemble the base: The base will arrive separate from the sofa itself, and instructions will be provided for proper attachment.

*If you think you need help with setting up your items, remember that Living Spaces’ Delivery Services includes assembly!

Care Instructions

One of the most common reasons for early damage and wear-and-tear is the failure of performing the standard furniture care procedures. Vacuum, dust and clean your pieces regularly, and follow your furniture’s care instructions to the letter.

upholstery care instructions

— Common Care Instructions —

Upholstery Type Common Care Instructions
  • Vacuum dust and use a damp cloth to wipe stains
  • Use only distilled water

High Performance Fabric

  • Mild foam cleaning agents can be used
  • Use only distilled water
  • Vacuum dust and use a damp cloth to wipe stains
  • Keep away from heat and direct sunlight

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.