How to clean a fabric headboard for a spotless and hygienic bedroom

Cleaning experts break down how to treat a fabric headboard for a spotless finish and a refreshing goodnight sleep

A light-coloured bedroom with built-in shelves and a fabric headboard on the bed
(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Fabric headboards are favoured for their cosy and often rather grandiose look, even though they come in all shapes, sizes and materials with different aesthetics. But their one disadvantage is that they accumulate dust and dirt fairly quickly, which is why you need to know how to clean a fabric headboard before or when you invest in one.

That’s because not cleaning your best headboard properly (or at all) can lead to dirt build-up and discoloration, as well as mould growth and pest infestations, whether that’s from dust mites or bed bugs.

Despite this, headboards tend to be one of the most commonly missed areas when cleaning the bedroom. But as we just outlined here, that really shouldn’t be the case. So to get you on track with your fabric headboard cleaning, we’ve consulted our experts to share their top tips on how to best give it a spruce-up. 

A green-painted bedroom with a bed with a pink quilted fabric headboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

How to clean a fabric headboard

‘Even though a fabric headboard can look nice, it can also harbour a lot of dirt and harmful organisms in comparison to other surfaces that are easy to wipe down,’ says Petya Holevich, Fantastic Services' domestic cleaning expert and supervisor. ‘These fabrics can also easily stain from spills, make up, natural skin oil and other factors. The cleaning process is actually not difficult if you do it regularly so there’s no major dirt build-up.’

Cleaning a fabric headboard is in many ways similar to how you’d clean the upholstery of your sofa or the like. So your tools and essentials will be pretty much the same as those when you clean a sofa.

Petya Holevich
Petya Holevich

Petya Holevich is an experienced housecleaning and laundry expert with over 5 years of dedicated time at Fantastic Services. Her journey with the company not only contributed to the maintenance of immaculately clean domestic spaces but has also put her at the forefront of training new teams, honing her leadership skills and elevating her communication abilities. This, in turn, has enhanced her communication with clients as well, ensuring an exceptional level of service and fostering positive relationships and friendly attitude.

A light-coloured bedroom with built-in shelves and a fabric headboard on the bed

(Image credit: Future PLC/Anna Stathaki)

What you’ll need

Step-by-step guide

The most regular thing you should do is get rid of the dust on your headboard with your best vacuum cleaner, using the brush attachment.

‘One of the most regular things you should do is clean dust from the headboard so it doesn’t go deeper into the fabric. You can do that by using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment and hoovering it over the surface of the headboard, not overlooking any crevices and nooks as well,’ Petya explains.

A more in-depth cleaning process is using a solution to further clean the fabric. ‘You can wipe the surface down with a damp cloth and a solution made of baking soda and mild detergent.’

A bedroom with a foliage-print wallpaper and a green fabric headboard on the bed

(Image credit: Future PLC)

How often should you clean your fabric headboard?

It’s recommended to vacuum clean your headboard every time you vacuum your bedroom.

‘For the regular vacuuming maintenance of the fabric headboard, do it every time you vacuum your bedroom, which should be at least once a week,’ Petya advises.

When it comes to deep cleans using the aforementioned solution or your best steam cleaner, once a month will do. 

‘I’d recommend performing a semi-regular deep cleans every 2 to 3 weeks, or at least once a month,’ Petya says.

A bed with a curved fabric headboard and floral bed linen

(Image credit: M&S)


How do you get stains out of a headboard?

‘For stains or spills, it's essential to act quickly,’ says Baqir Khan, owner and cleaning expert at Extreme Cleaning. ‘Blot the stain with a clean, damp cloth to absorb as much of the spill as possible. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this can spread it further.’

Then use a mixed solution made with water and a mild detergent or an upholstery cleaner. ‘Mix a small amount of mild detergent or upholstery cleaner with water according to the product's instructions. Dampen a clean cloth with the solution and gently blot the stained area. Be cautious not to oversaturate the fabric,’ Baqir warns.

Finally, dampen another cloth with only water to get the product out of the fabric. ‘Gently blot the area to rinse off any residue from the cleaning solution,’ he concludes.

If your stain is greasy, then baking soda can also help, according to Petya, ‘For grease-based headboard stains, you can use baking soda by applying it to soak up the grease. Afterwards, clean it again with a mixture of baking soda and detergent or a fabric upholstery cleaner.’ 

A bedroom with a bed with a fabric headboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Can you steam clean a fabric headboard?

Yes, you can deep clean a fabric headboard with a steam cleaner. 

‘I’d recommend investing in a steam cleaner and performing regular deep cleans with it. However, if you have a velvet or suede headboard, avoid using water or too much liquid in general because it can damage the material,’ Petya says.

And there you have it! Now you have no excuse to be skipping out on your headboard cleaning. 

Content Editor

Sara Hesikova has been a Content Editor at Ideal Home since June 2024, starting at the title as a News Writer in July 2023. Sara brings the Ideal Home’s readership features and news stories from the world of homes and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more, focusing on all things room decor, specialising in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, home offices and dining rooms. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.