Written by Grove Collaborative

Is it easy to clean velvet? Here’s how to do it naturally.

Last Updated: October 26, 2021


Here are the best practices for cleaning and maintaining velvet upholstery and clothing without the use of harsh chemicals.

Long ago were the days when velvet was accessible only to European nobility. Sought after for its recognizable sheen, velvet's ubiquity can be traced to its ability to punctuate an outfit or accent a living space. The question is how to keep this timeless fabric looking ageless.


Hundreds of years ago, Europeans didn't have to deal with their children's PB+Js or a spilled bowl of movie night popcorn. Fortunately for us, we have a little more at our disposal to keep things clean enough to eat off of.


Here are the best practices for cleaning and maintaining velvet upholstery and clothing without using harsh chemicals.

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Grove Tip

What is velvet made out of?

Velvet refers to the structure of the fibers rather than the material itself. A dense weave and short cut gives it its smooth appearance and soft feel.


Traditionally made from silk, velvet is also woven from other natural materials such as cotton and wool, as well as synthetic ones including polyester, acetate and rayon.

Velvet upholstery cleaning tips: Sofas, couches, armchairs, and more

1. Start by absorbing any liquid spills with a lint-free cloth, such as a microfiber towel.

Be sure to go lint-free as lint can get caught in the velvet fibers.


2. Take a moderately stiff-bristle or soft brush (such as the brush extension for your vacuum cleaner) to loosen dried, encrusted materials stuck to the fibers.


3. Vacuum up debris from a velvet sofa or other furniture using the brush extension of a vacuum cleaner.


4. Prepare a soap and water cleaning solution in a reusable spray bottle.

Add 2 cups of water, 2 drops of plant-based dish soap, and 2 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol.


5. Apply a couple sprays of cleaning solution to a lint-free cloth.

Gently dab at problem areas to avoid damaging the fabric.


6. Fully dry wet areas with a hairdryer (set on the lowest setting).

At the same time, move a lint brush back and forth on the affected area. Don’t let it air dry.


7. Finally, groom the fibers in one direction with the backside of a butter knife.

Tip: Use the same amount of pressure as if you were buttering toast.


Watch this video for a couple more tips on how to clean velvet upholstery:


How to clean velvet shoes


  1. Absorb any liquid with a cloth if there was a spill (preferably lint-free such as a microfiber towel).
  2. Using a soft-bristle brush, loosen and remove any dried, caked-on dirt.
  3. Prepare a cleaning solution in a reusable spray bottle: 2 cups of water + 2 drops of plant-based dish soap + 2 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol.
  4. Apply a couple sprays of cleaning solution to a lint-free cloth and gently dab to spot clean.
  5. Fully dry wet areas with a hairdryer (set on the lowest setting) while going back and forth on the affected area with a lint brush.

How to clean velvet clothing


  1. Absorb any liquid with a cloth from the velvet fabric if there was a spill (preferably lint-free such as a microfiber towel).
  2. Using a soft-bristle brush, such as a toothbrush, loosen and remove any dried, caked-on dirt.
  3. Prepare a cleaning solution in a reusable spray bottle: 2 cups of water + 2 drops of plant-based dish soap + 2 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol.
  4. Apply a couple sprays of cleaning solution to a lint-free cloth and blot the stain.
  5. Dry wet areas with a hairdryer (set on the lowest setting) while going back and forth on the affected area with a soft-bristle brush to reset the material's uniform.

A couple more Grove tips for cleaning velvet naturally

1. Be sure to first check the manufacturer's product tag for any item-specific cleaning instructions.


2. When vacuuming velvet upholstery, use a brush extension to avoid leaving permanent nicks or scratches.


3. When dabbing with a lint-free cloth and cleaning solution, wet your cloth no more than necessary.

Too much water and friction can kink or agitate the fabric's surface, compromising its smooth appearance.


4. For velvet upholstery, pass a handheld steamer to refresh the appearance of your velvet.

Velvet fibers will compress over time. Follow with steps 6-7 in the "Cleaning velvet upholstery" section for the best look after cleaning.


5. Lastly, for larger stains or high-end velvet pieces, consult either a furniture or fabric specialist to get them professionally cleaned.

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