Cleaning a chair might seem straight forward, but things get a bit more difficult when it's an upholstered chair. When cleaning upholstered chairs or fabric living room furniture, your mind might immediately go to a steam cleaner. And while steam cleaning is a great way to get tough stains out, it's not always an option, especially when you don't have one.
In removing stains from upholstery, professional cleaning is always the way to go, but here are a few ways to clean upholstered chairs with simple household ingredients and items.
Things to Remember
Upholstery cleaning is a very simple task, but you still need to remember a few things before really getting started to know how to properly clean stains off your chair.
To clean upholstery, it's always best to check the attached tag for cleaning guidelines. These are usually communicated through the following letter codes.
The upholstery can be cleaned with water or any water-based cleaning solution.
The fabric should only be cleaned with a water free cleaner or dry cleaning detergent. The use of a water free cleaning solution also requires a well ventilated room and no nearby open flames.
The upholstered chair can tolerate either a water based cleaning solution or a solvent based product. The fabric can also handle a mild detergent and steam vacuum or a dry cleaning solvent.
The upholstery should only be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner or a professional. Any water or cleaning solution can risk staining or shrinking of the fabric.
The letter code on the tag should be your primary instruction on how to clean your upholstered chair. Should you not be able to find a tag, you should test out different cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous area of the chair before proceeding.
How to Clean Upholstered Chairs with Dishwashing Liquid
For this cleaning method, you will need a few things like a vacuum with an upholstery attachment, a sponge, a microfiber cloth, plastic buckets, a soft bristled brush, upholstery cleaning solution, dry cleaning solvent, dish soap and baking soda.
Step 1: Prepare the Chair
When cleaning upholstered chairs, you should always start with a thorough vacuuming to remove dust and dirt. Getting a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment will help you remove any leftover debris.
Make sure that you vacuum the entire surface of the upholstered chair, including the sides and the back, and even the bottom if possible. Remove any cushions to make vacuuming every crevice easier.
Step 2: Choose Your Cleaning Solution
You can either use a commercial upholstery cleaning solution, or create a water based cleaner with dishwashing liquid and warm water.
Simply combine 1/4 cup of dishwashing liquid and one cup of warm water in a medium sized bowl, then mix it with an electric mixer or whisk until suds start to form as these suds will be what you use to clean tough stains—not the soapy water.
Step 3: Remove Stains
After choosing your cleaning solution, you can start cleaning. If you're using a commercial cleaning solution, simply follow the printed instructions at the back.
If you opted for the homemade cleaner, gather some of the suds onto your sponge and gently scrub any stained areas. Make sure that you have some warm water ready beside you in case you need to rinse and wring out any dirt from the sponge until it's damp.
Stubborn stains can be scrubbed away with a soft bristled brush.
Step 4: Blot Away the Cleaner
When all the stubborn stains have been removed, get a damp sponge or a microfiber cloth and use this to gently blot away any remaining cleaning solution. Make sure that any trace of cleaner is removed as this can attract more dirt when left in the upholstery.
When everything has been removed, leave the upholstered chair to air dry completely away from any sunlight or heat.
How to Clean Upholstered Chairs with Laundry Detergent
Aside from laundry detergent, you'll also need a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment, warm water, clean washcloths, a soft bristled brush, hydrogen peroxide—or white vinegar if you don't have hydrogen peroxide.
Step 1: Prepare the Chair
The first step to cleaning upholstered chairs is to vacuum away any loose dirt and dust with an upholstery or brush attachment. Make sure to use small and gentle strokes to cover the entire surface and remove any leftover debris.
Step 2: Make Your Cleaning Solution
In a large bowl with lukewarm water, pour in a teaspoon of mild laundry detergent and mix together until suds start to form. You can use an electric mixer or a whisk to speed this up.
Step 3: Spot Clean Stains
With a commercial spot stain remover, 3% hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar, dip a clean cloth and gently dab your chosen stain remover onto any heavily soiled areas and leave this for around 10 minutes, You can proceed with the next step while waiting.
Step 4: Clean the Rest of Upholstered Chair
With the soapy cleaning solution you made earlier, dip a clean cloth and wring out any excess liquid. Wipe the damp cloth over the entire upholstered surface until it's moist and damp, dipping and wringing your cloth as many times as needed to do so.
Get your soft bristled brush and gently scrub the soapy cleaner into the fabric in small circles from the top to the bottom.
Step 5: Rinse and Leave to Dry
After covering the entire upholstered chair with cleaner, get another clean cloth and dip this into warm water. Wring out any extra water until it's only damp and use this to wipe away any remaining cleaner, dipping and wringing out as many times as needed.
Once you've made sure that all traces of cleaner have been removed, let the chair dry completely away from direct sunlight and any open flames.
As helpful as it is to know how to tackle stains yourself, there's nothing quite like a professional sofa cleaning to make your upholstery feel fresh and new. When regular cleaning simply isn't possible with your hectic schedule, Luce is here to make your life easier. Our well-trained sofa cleaners can give your upholstery a deeper clean so that you can relax more after a long hard day.
Send us a message and schedule an appointment today!