How to clean an ottoman or pouf [Cleaning method by fabric type]

An ottoman or pouf is a wonderful addition to a living room, bedroom, or nook. But how do you keep it clean? Knowing exactly how to care for an ottoman or pouf properly will help it look lovely for many years. You may be wondering about the best methods and cleaning solutions to use.  We researched the best ways to care for a pouf or ottoman, whether it is made from leather, linen, wool, or another upholstery material.

Keeping your pouf or ottoman clean is a must. Gather the right tools for the job and consider the following cleaning methods.

  • Cotton - Clean with a soft cloth or sponge using shampoo.
  • Faux Fur - Brush occasionally to remove debris and blot with damp sponge
  • Faux Leather - Wipe down with mild detergent using a sponge.
  • Felt - Vacuum ottoman with attachment and spot clean with an appropriate cleaner
  • Leather - Use saddle soap and treat with conditioner
  • Linen - Apply a carpet shampoo or upholstery cleaner.
  • Vinyl - Use a soft brush and alkaline-based cleaner to remove stains
  • Wool -  Spot clean with a mild detergent and water and soft cloth

Depending on the style and material of your pouf or ottoman, you can choose the best course of action to remove troublesome stains, foul odors, and maintain a like-new appearance. Learn the ropes to keeping your ottoman or pouf clean with our helpful tips.

Pouf next to rattan couch on a terrace, How to clean an ottoman or pouf [Cleaning method by fabric type]

Care for Your Ottoman or Pouf

Knowing how to clean an ottoman or pouf properly is critical to enjoying your accent furniture for many years. Instead of struggling to figure out what tools you will need to remove stains or freshen up a pouf's appearance, check out this list. Many of these items you may have around your household and do not need to buy. However, take caution with the type of commercial cleaners you use on an ottoman's fabric.

  • A vacuum cleaner with varying attachments
  • A soft bristle brush or old toothbrush
  • A soft cloth or sponge
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Leather cleaner and conditioner
  • Mild detergents like Castille soap or dish soap
  • An empty spray bottle

Of course, depending on the type of upholstery material, you may need to change how you approach cleaning and caring for your furniture. One good rule to remember is to blot out stains and do not scrub, especially if the stain is fresh. Scrubbing may cause blemishes and debris to hold onto fibers like wool and knitted cotton. Also, certain cleaners may change the color of certain fabrics and materials, so look over ingredients and do a test patch.

Castile soap is an excellent and gentle cleaner on most ottomans and poufs. In place of a shampoo or dish detergent, Castille soap can be used with warm water to lift away stains and refresh fabrics.

Care Codes for Recommended Cleaning Solutions

Get familiar with the unique needs of different upholstery fabrics and recommended cleaning solutions. Look at the care tag on your ottoman or pouf before getting started.

Check the care code on the manufacturer's tag on your pouf or ottoman. 

  • W specifies to use a water-based cleaner that is not harsh.
  • W-S means both water-based, and solvent cleaners can be applied
  • S means that a water-based cleaner should never be used.
  • X denotes that the fabric should only be vacuumed or brushed, and liquids should be avoided.

Disinfect Your Poof

Don't forget the importance of regularly disinfecting your ottoman, including the inside, if it is a storage type. You can make an antibacterial spray using rubbing alcohol, essential oil, and distilled water, or apply a disinfecting wipe that won't bleach or fade the fabric. If you pouf is not damaged by heat, consider using a steam cleaner to lift away stains or hire a professional cleaner for extreme stains and damage.

Caring for Different Types of Upholstery


First, run a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment over your cotton ottoman to remove dirt, dust, and loose debris. If there are fresh stains or spills, take a soft cloth, sponge, or paper towels and blot the affected area. Deodorize your ottoman or pouf by sprinkling baking soda on the surface and vacuum the powder after 15 to 20 minutes. Using baking soda loosens dirt and neutralizes odors.

Remove any deep-set stains by applying a solution of Castile soap or dish detergent and warm water to the fabric. You may also use a bleach-free carpet shampoo. Make sure the solution produces lots of suds to lighten stains and lift dirt.  Use a soft touch and gently rub the stained area with a sponge or soft cloth until it fades away. Rub from the outside edges of the stain toward the center. If possible, remove the cotton cover of the ottoman and throw it in the wash. When washing a slipcover, follow the manufacturer's guidelines and use the gentle cycle.

Check out this gentle liquid cleaner on Amazon.

Check out this vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter and attachments on Amazon.

Faux Fur

If you can remove a faux fur slipcover from an ottoman, turn it inside out and throw it in a washing machine on the delicate cycle in cold water. Make sure to use a gentle detergent, fabric softener, and turn it inside out to air dry. Maintain a faux fur ottoman that isn't too dirty by wiping it down with a baby wipe.

You can use a pet hair brush or vacuum cleaner brush attachment to remove dust and dirt from faux fur. Apply a mild detergent with cool water or a hair detangling shampoo to clean up any stains, and agitate with a brush. Fluff up the faux fur with a handheld dryer on a cool setting to revive your ottoman's look. For routine maintenance, apply a lint roller to the faux fur to pick up pet hair, lint, and dust bunnies.

Check out this pet hair and lint remover on Amazon.

Check out this quality baking soda on Amazon.

Faux Leather

A faux leather ottoman that is not soiled but requires routine maintenance can be cleaned with a damp cloth or sponge and warm water. If there is a stain on the faux leather, mix a capful of mild cleaner and warm water in a spray bottle with a 1:10 ratio and apply it to the affected area. Blot the stain with paper towels first. Gently agitate the stain with a soft cloth or towel if deep-set, making sure to move in the same direction to lift it away. 

Treat stubborn stains on faux leather with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Dip a soft cloth or towel in the solution and blot at the stain. Repeat the process until success. Test any solution you use on faux leather in a hidden area first to ensure it won't change or damage the ottoman.


First, check the tag on your felt pouf to see if it needs to be cleaned with a dry solvent. Exposure to too much water or oversaturation with a solution may cause shrinkage or wrinkles in felt. Before cleaning your felt pouf, make sure that the affected area is completely dry. Never be aggressive when cleaning felt as you can push dirt and debris into the fibers. If you choose to clean felt with gentle dish detergent and cool water, you can add a bit of fresh lemon juice to deodorize and help remove stains.

Remove any debris gently with an old toothbrush or soft-bristled brush. If needed, create a solution of white distilled vinegar and cool water with a 1:2 ratio. Apply the solution to any stains on the felt, dab and blot away the blemish until it lifts. Another method is to wipe stains with a baby wipe or use a lint roller to remove hair. When using a solution, allow the felt to air dry but avoid sun exposure. Feel free to use a clean towel to absorb excess moisture.


Before applying a cleaning solution like saddle soap to a leather pouf or ottoman, use a vacuum cleaner to remove debris from crevices. Be careful not to oversaturate your leather ottoman but apply a generous lather of gentle liquid soap and lukewarm water to stains and grime. Wipe away blemishes and debris with a soft cloth. Allow the leather to air dry before applying a leather conditioner or wax.

If you have ink stains, apply a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover to the problem area. More significant ink stains should get spritzed with hairspray and wiped down with a moist, soft cloth. Do a test patch to make sure you won't change the color of the leather. Grease stains should never be removed with water but use a soft, dry cloth. 

Check out this leather conditioner and cleaner on Amazon.

Check out this waterproofing oil for leather on Amazon.


Regularly vacuum a linen ottoman to keep it looking fresh. Treat stains by blotting the area with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and cool water. You can also apply a mild dish detergent diluted with water or a carpet cleaner. Make sure the solution you use is nice and sudsy to help lift away dirt. Gently agitate the area with an old toothbrush or blot with a sponge. Make sure to move in the same direction and avoid being too aggressive and pressing dirt into fibers.

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Check out this soft bristle cleaning brush on Amazon.


Use a gentle detergent or mild soap and water to clean a vinyl pouf. Gently clean up dirt and debris with a soft-bristled brush and rinse clean with a sponge. Troublesome stains can be treated with an application of hydrogen peroxide or diluted bleach. Typically, you can keep a vinyl ottoman clan with a soft damp cloth, a sprinkle of baking soda, and a diluted white vinegar rinse. Regularly run a vacuum cleaner attachment over a vinyl pouf to keep it pristine.


Use a soft-bristled brush to routinely clean your wool ottoman and sweep away crumbs and debris. If needed, apply a dry cleaning solvent to the wool and use a damp sponge or cloth to remove stains. Test any cleaner on a hidden area first. You can also use a carpet cleaner for wool, and gently agitate stains with an old toothbrush or blot with a sponge. Be gentle when cleaning wool and avoid using a rotary brush attachment when vacuuming the surface.

Check out this carpet cleaner on Amazon.

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