How to Clean Upholstered Chairs

Upholstered chairs and furniture come in a variety of colors and patterns. Choosing light upholstered chairs might bring freshness to your room but also difficulty cleaning the stains if you spill a colored drink or food on it. Depending on the stain, you can use different cleaning products and methods. In most cases, You can remove stains from upholstered furniture with mild dish soap, baking soda, and other cleaning products you can find in the local market. No matter which option you choose, remember to use soft towels and brushes that would not damage the upholstery.

If you need help learning how to clean upholstered chairs, you can use some products you already have at home or follow our step-by-step guide:

  1. Vacuum the chair’s surface to remove the dust and loose dirt traces;
  2. Clean up the stains with a homemade stain-removing solution or cleaning product;
  3. Rinse and dry the chair’s upholstery before the subsequent use;
  4. Spray the upholstery with a stain protection spray;
  5. Spray scented essential oil solution for freshness.
How to Clean Upholstered Chairs

How to Clean Upholstered Chairs at Home

You don’t have to bring your chairs to the dry cleaning service and pay a lot of money for cleaning a simple stain that you can remove at home. You may clean up wine, juice, oily, and even food stains on your upholstered chairs with a dish soap solution you can make at home.

Before jumping onto the solution recipe, we must say that you should vacuum the chair’s surface before cleaning it with liquid solvents. Vacuuming the upholstery will remove the loose dirt and prevent the stain’s spreading.

To make a good cleaning solution, you must determine the cause of the stain. Some stains are dark and stubborn and might need a deep clean, different from the routine one. If the stain is oily, it might be easily removed using dish soap.

But, if the stain is colored and smells unpleasant, you should sprinkle baking soda and leave it overnight. The baking soda has excellent odor-neutralizing power and might help absorb the upholstery odor and prepare it for wet cleaning.

When it comes to wet cleaning, you can make a solution by mixing warm water and white vinegar, lemon, baking soda, or water and dishwashing detergent. You can also buy an upholstery cleaning product from a store if you are unsure about the homemade cleaning solutions.

Step 1: Vacuum

Always vacuum the upholstered chairs and furniture before cleaning them with liquid solutions. With the vacuuming, you will remove the loose traces and dust that might only spread the mess if you go with the liquids directly.

When vacuuming the upholstery, you should switch the vacuum attachments and choose one different than the one you vacuum on the floor. Choose a smaller attachment so that you can vacuum the edges.

Step 2: Determine the stain cause

Identifying the stain cause is essential so you know what you’re dealing with and which cleaning method you should choose. You can easily remove some “fresher” stains with a water and white vinegar mixture you can make at home. Mix two cups of warm water with one cup of white vinegar and rub the stained area with a soft cloth.

If the stain has an unpleasant smell and darker color, spread baking soda on it and leave it for a few hours to neutralize the smell. Then, get a damp cloth and rub the area with circular motions.

If the stain is thicker and dried, stuck to the upholstery, it is best to rub it with a soft dry brush. Do not use the wet method because the thick dirt might spread and cause an even bigger mess.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Water Stains on Wood

Find a good cleaning solution

Step 3: Find a good cleaning solution

Once you identify the stain, you can easily choose a cleaning solution. Milder stains can be removed with warm water and vinegar mixture, while oily stains need something more potent, like dish soap or detergent.

The dish soap can successfully remove oily stains and colors from the fabric, meaning you should always go with the dish soap mixture if the stain on your upholstered chair is more intense.

You will need a tablespoon of liquid dish detergent and 500ml of warm water for the solution. Stir the solution with the spoon and dampen a soft cloth in it. Rub the stain and rinse with a clean wet towel.

If the dirt does not come off with these solutions, it is best to choose an upholstery cleaning product or call a dry cleaning service. If the upholstery has darker or no color, avoid buying cleaning products containing bleach because it might damage the upholstery’s color.

Step 4: Rinse and dry the area

Regardless of your cleaning method, always rinse the area with a clean damp cloth or towel to remove the excess soap from the upholstery.

Drying the upholstery with a hairdryer or exposing it to direct sunlight might damage the material. The upholstery should not be exposed to a high temperature, so try to avoid these two drying methods.

To dry out the upholstery, you can use paper towels or a towel with high absorbable power. Leave the chairs to dry overnight in a room with good air ventilation, or turn on a ceiling fan if you have one.

Another method to dry the upholstery is to place the chairs outside in a shady area. You can dry them outside only if the weather is calm and warm. Avoid this on windy days because it might settle new dust and debris on the clean chairs.

Step 5: Protect and add scented spray

You can find a lot of waterproof and stainproof sprays that might add a layer of extra protection to your upholstered furniture. You can also use these sprays for clothes and shoes.

In the end, mix 10 to 15 drops of essential oil of your choice in 300ml of water in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle and spray the upholstery. The essential oil will give a fresh scent to the fabric and a pleasant smell to the entire room.

Read More: How to White Wash Furniture


We are happy if our 5-step guide has helped you learn how to clean upholstered chairs at home without wasting money on expensive cleaning services.

Keep your upholstered furniture clean and fresh with the cleaning power of baking soda and white vinegar!

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