How to make upholstery smell nice for spring and summer – seasonal scent secrets from experts

Professional cleaners share their suggestions to freshen up your furniture

A neutral living room eith a cream corner sofa and a round wooden coffee table
(Image credit: Layered Lounge)

As the seasons shift and we transition our homes from winter to spring and summer, it is the perfect time to swap out our home fragrance for something more seasonal. 

While we can light the candles and set out diffusers, freshening up and cleaning upholstery is one of the best ways to layer seasonal scents around your home for long-lasting fragrance. 

These five simple cleaning and fragrance tips will help to make your upholstery smell nice for spring and summer to help shake away those musty winter blues.

How to make upholstery smell nice for spring and summer

When making a home smell good for spring and summer, you want to opt for fresh seasonal scents, such as bright florals and comforting laundry, suggests Vanessa Terra Bossart, cleaning expert and owner of Green Terra Cleaning:

‘Selecting the perfect fragrance sets the tone for a seasonal transition. Floral and citrus notes embody the essence of spring and summer, so I suggest looking for scents with hints of jasmine, lavender, lemon, or grapefruit to breathe life into your living space with freshness and vitality.’

With your scents picked out, you can start fragrance layering.  

white tier on tier shutters in living room with white sofa and pink cushions shutter store

(Image credit: The Shutter Store)

1. Use linen sprays

Of course, the most obvious way to add a personalized scent to upholstery is to use a linen spray, begins Eliana Coca, cleaning expert and owner of E.C. House Cleaning

‘To make your own DIY linen spray, simply mix distilled water with a few drops of your chosen essential oils in a spray bottle and lightly mist the upholstery. Be sure to check the spray on an inconspicuous area first to check it doesn't stain or cause damage.’

Of course, if you don’t fancy making your own, there are plenty of luxury options on the market. 

2. Wash covers in strong-smelling detergent

To tackle cleaning and home fragrance in one go consider adding any removable laundry covers to your load when doing laundry, suggests Gabriella Dyson, Solved section editor for Homes & Gardens. Check the laundry symbols to ensure it is compatible with wet cleaning, then add in a good dousing of your nicest smelling, mild laundry detergent or upholstery detergent to freshen up your upholstery for the spring and summer months. 

Line dry for a longer-lasting fragrance, she adds.

3. Remove lingering odors

Your fresh spring fragrances won’t stick around for long unless you clean old, musty odors away first, notes Eliana Coca, cleaning expert:

‘To deodorize, try cleaning with baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda over the upholstery, and allow it to sit for about an hour before vacuuming away. This not only helps to deodorize the fabric but also lifts minor stains and refreshes the material,’ she explains. ‘Regular vacuuming with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner further assists in removing allergens and dust that can trap odors.’

If you have one, you can also use a steam cleaner to deep clean upholstery cushions and kill odor-causing bacteria. Be sure to let them dry fully either outside, or using a dehumidifier, to prevent musty smells from returning.  

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 4 lb | $2.73 at Walmart

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 4 lb | $2.73 at Walmart
Cleaning with baking soda is an easy, eco-friendly way to get a sparkling clean, fresh-smelling home, so it's a good idea to keep some in your utility cupboard.

4. Use dryer sheets in pillowcases

Putting fresh, strong-smelling dryer sheets inside your cushion covers and upholstery covers is a simple hidden fragrance hack that subtly scents any room in your home. Dryer sheets, such as Bounce, from Walmart, slowly release their scent, especially when you sit back on a sofa or snuggle into throw pillows on your bed, making it the perfect long-lasting solution.

Remember to replace these as needed to keep the hidden scent fresh. 

5. Freshen upholstery up outdoors

If you have the space and the weather is nice enough, you can move your upholstery outside into the sun and fresh air to help air it out and remove lingering odors, suggests Vanessa Terra Bossart, cleaning expert:

‘Make the most of sunny days by taking your upholstery outdoors for a breath of fresh air. Allowing your cushions and pillows to soak up the sun's rays helps naturally disinfect and deodorize them, infusing them with a delightful, sun-kissed aroma – giving you similar benefits to air-drying laundry.’

Note that this method may not be the best idea if you struggle with hay fever, however. 

Pair these upholstery scent hacks with the best candles and best oil diffusers, and you have a personalized home spring/summer scent that any guest will be jealous of. Remember to pick scents that complement one another, rather than fight against each other to prevent the room from smelling overwhelming. 

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.