The best way to clean fabric chairs and upholstered furniture

Whether you’re flaking out in the evening or curling up on the weekend, your fabric chairs and sofas are there for you in the moments you need them the most – so show them the love they deserve! The best way to clean fabric chairs and upholstery depends on the materials they’re made out of and what level of cleaning you’re doing. 

Here, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know about upholstery cleaning, from how to deep clean a microfiber or cotton couch and the best fabric cleaning products to use on your furniture. 

If it’s time for your annual professional upholstery cleaning, get in touch with our team to request a free quote. 

Things to do before cleaning fabric chairs and upholstery 

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If you’re anything like us, you’re super excited to start cleaning. But there are a few things to do before you dive in. 

Check the tags

Not all fabric chairs and upholstery are the same – that beautiful sofa you invested so much in needs to be treated differently from the other cheap-and-cheerful furniture in your home. 

Before you get started, be sure to check the tags on your upholstery and fabric chairs and familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s instructions. They’ll help you figure out what cleaning products and methods are compatible with your upholstery. 

You’ll usually find the tag under the cushions or on the bottom of the chair or sofa itself.

  • W = Use a water-based cleaner
  • S = Use dry cleaning products (nothing containing water) 
  • WS = Use water-based or dry cleaning products
  • X = Vacuum only, don’t use products or it could cause permanent damage (if you encounter a spill or stain, reach out to the pros for advice ASAP)

Vacuum regularly

Vacuuming your fabric chairs and sofas should be part of your regular cleaning regime. Removing dirt and dust will help to avoid stains from developing over time, as well as maintain the quality of your furniture. 

Be sure to vacuum like a grown-up – use the proper upholstery attachment on your vacuum, remove all cushions, and get into the corners and tight spaces. 

Spot treat first

Before attempting any major cleaning or stain removal, try spot-treating a discreet section of your chair or sofa to make sure your cleaning products and methods don’t do any damage. 

While the manufacturer guidelines (and this post!) should give you a good overview of what to do, it’s always best to test.

How to clean fabric chairs and upholstery

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Whether you’ve noticed a bit of a stale smell or you’re ready to incorporate regular upholstery cleaning into your regime, it’s important to clean your fabric chairs and sofas every few months (and have them professionally cleaned once a year). 

The cleaning process varies, depending on what material your upholstery is made of. 

Cleaning upholstery made from cotton, rayon, linen, and wool

Vacuum to clear away as much dirt and dust as possible 

  1. Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over the main areas of your chair or sofa and allow it to sit for 30-60 minutes
  2. Vacuum baking soda up thoroughly using the upholstery attachment

Cleaning upholstery made from polyester and nylon

  1. Vacuum thoroughly 
  2. Apply a thin layer of cleaning solution by misting the sofa with a spray bottle – consider a homemade cleaner made of warm water, vinegar, and dish soap
  3. Gently wipe the solution into the chair or sofa with a clean white cloth

How to deep clean stains from fabric chairs and upholstery 

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If you have a spill situation or notice a stain on your fabric chairs or upholstery, it’s important to act as quickly as you can. If possible, bring in the pros to assess the damage and help implement the most effective stain-removal strategy. 

When treating a stain at home, it’s vital that you check your furniture’s label for cleaning guidelines. And remember what we said about spot treatment – while time is of the essence, don’t rush into an even bigger mess with a cleaning method that you haven’t tested out first.

Cleaning stains from cotton, rayon, linen, and wool

  1. Apply a solvent cleaner to the affected area
  2. Use a clean white cloth to blot the stain – make sure not to rub
  3. Start slow and work section by section
  4. Allow the area to dry 
  5. Vacuum 

Cleaning stains from polyester and nylon

  1. Apply water-based cleaner to saturate the affected area
  2. Use a clean white cloth or small brush to lift the stain
  3. Work section by section until the stain has lifted
  4. Allow the area to dry
  5. Vacuum or wipe the area with a dry cloth

Have a leather sofa? Check out our guide to cleaning and restoring leather furniture

Professional cleaning for fabric chairs and upholstery

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Regular cleaning and quick action against stains and spills will help to keep your upholstery looking fresh, but professional cleaning ensures you can maintain it over the long term – and protect your health.

Comprehensive deep cleaning gets deep into the fibres of your fabric chairs and sofas, fighting off mould, dust mites, and other allergens. If it’s time to book in for pro cleaning, reach out to our team.

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