How to Clean Upholstered Chairs – Tips and Techniques

How to Clean Upholstered Chairs. Upholstered chairs come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes. However, regardless of whether you have a plush recliner or a formal dining room chair, it will inevitably require cleaning.

Sometimes a simple vacuuming can remove dust and brighten the fabric, while in other cases, you may need to address years of pet stains, food spills, and grime.

Before beginning the cleaning process, it is important to identify the type of upholstery covering your chair. Furniture manufacturers have added a tag since 1969 to help you determine the best and safest way to clean the upholstery. Look for the tag underneath the chair or cushion and follow the cleaning guidelines for the code.

Code W: Fabric can be cleaned with water-based cleaning solvents.
Code S: Use only a dry cleaning or water-free solvent to remove stains and soils from the upholstery. The use of these chemicals requires a well-ventilated room and no open flames like fireplaces or candles.
Code W-S: The upholstery can be cleaned with either water-based or solvent-based products.
Code X: This fabric should only be cleaned by vacuuming or by a professional. Any type of home cleaning product can cause staining and shrinking.

In the absence of a tag, you must test various cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous area to see how the fabric reacts when treated.

How Often Should You Clean an Upholstered Chair??

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Illustrative image How Often Should You Clean an Upholstered Chair?

It’s essential to clean spills and stains immediately to prevent them from setting in.

Use the edge of a credit card or a blunt knife to lift any solids away from the fabric. Avoid rubbing the stain as it will only push it deeper into the upholstery.

Instead, blot liquids until no more moisture transfers to a paper towel.

While vacuuming your upholstered chairs and couch on a weekly basis is recommended, removing stains and cleaning the upholstery thoroughly should be done as needed or at least seasonally.

How to Vacuum an Upholstered Chair

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Illustrative image How to Vacuum an Upholstered Chair

Vacuuming the chair is an important step to start any thorough cleaning session.

This will prevent loose dirt and debris from spreading around while doing a deep clean. To achieve the best results, use a vacuum with a hose and an upholstery brush attachment.

A vacuum with a HEPA filter is also recommended to capture as much dust and allergens such as pet dander as possible.

Begin at the top of the chair and vacuum every inch of the upholstery.

Don’t forget to clean the lower sides and back of a fully-upholstered chair, even if it’s against a wall. Use the crevice tool to get deep between the cushions and the frame of the chair.

If the chair has removable cushions, take them out and vacuum both sides. Lastly, tilt the chair over, if possible, and vacuum the bottom and around the legs.

How to Treat Stains and Heavily Soiled Areas on Upholstered Chairs

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Illustrative image How to Treat Stains and Heavily Soiled Areas on Upholstered Chairs

Knowing what caused the stain is helpful, but not necessary to effectively treat it.

You can use a commercial upholstery cleaner by following the label instructions or create a homemade solution that works well on most types of stains. Pay extra attention to arms and headrests that are usually heavily soiled from body oils and grime.

How to Create a Stain-Removing Solution and Tackle Stains on Upholstered Chairs

To create a stain-removing solution and tackle stains on upholstered chairs, follow these steps:.

If the upholstery can be cleaned with a water-based cleaner, mix one-fourth cup of dishwashing liquid and one cup of warm water in a medium bowl.

Use an electric mixer or a whisk to create suds.

Dip a sponge into the suds (not the water) and gently scrub the stained areas.

For heavily soiled areas, you can use a soft-bristled nylon scrubbing brush.

Rinse the sponge in a separate bowl of warm water as the soil is transferred.

Wring well so the sponge is just damp, not dripping.

Dip a sponge or microfiber cloth in clean water to blot away any cleaning solution.

This “rinse” is important because any detergent left in the fibers can attract more soil.

Allow the area to air dry completely away from direct sunlight or heat.

Note: If the chair upholstery requires the use of a dry Cleaning Solvent, carefully follow the directions on the product label.

How to Prepare an Overall Cleaning Solution for Upholstered Chairs

To clean chair upholstery with a W or W-S code, follow these steps:.

Prepare a less-concentrated solution of dishwashing liquid and water.

Use only one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid per one gallon of warm water.

Dip a clean microfiber cloth into the solution and wring it out well.

Wipe down the entire upholstered surface of the chair, paying special attention to heavily soiled areas like armrests and headrests.

Rinse the cloth frequently in warm water and wring it out well to remove any dirt or cleaning solution.

After wiping the entire chair, let it air dry completely away from direct sunlight or heat.

For S-coded upholstery, use a commercial dry cleaning solvent or consult a professional upholstery cleaner.

It’s important to follow the instructions on the product label and wear gloves and adequate ventilation.

*The information is for reference only.