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8 Tips to Quickly and Easily Clean an Upholstered Chair

Mar 21, 2023

A clean and stylish upholstered chair adding a touch of elegance to the living area, creating an inviting and enjoyable ambiance.

Having an upholstered chair in your home can add a touch of elegance and comfort. But over time, the upholstery can start to look shabby if it’s not properly cared for. In this quick and easy maintenance guide, we'll show you how to clean an upholstered chair so that it looks new! Whether you have a fabric or leather chair, these eight tips will help keep it looking its best. Let's get started! 

1. Vacuum the chair thoroughly to remove any dust or dirt 

Vacuuming should be done periodically to eliminate any dirt buildup that may have occurred over time. Vacuuming your chair can help keep it looking and feeling its best. It‘s important to move the vacuum slowly and evenly across the chair so that dirt and dust are removed completely. Getting into those hard-to-reach areas below the seat and cushion is especially essential. Remember to check the crevices between cushions (if they are detachable) too! With regular vacuuming and a little extra TLC, you'll enjoy sitting in your chair for years to come! 

2. Spot clean any stains

Stains can be a real nuisance to your furniture. To keep those tough marks from becoming permanent, spot cleaning is key. Start by blotting the excess liquid with a cloth or sponge. Work from the outside of the stain inwards so as not to spread it around further. Once you’ve got up as much of the mess as possible, mix together some mild detergent, warm water, and a few drops of white vinegar for an effective yet gentle cleaning solution that won’t damage your fabric. Dip your cloth or sponge into this solution, rub it on the stained area in circular motions, and then rinse with clean water. You can repeat this step until all traces of that pesky stain are gone! 

3. Shampoo with an upholstery cleaner

Cleaning your upholstery can seem daunting, but with the right supplies and patience, you can quickly restore your furniture to its original beauty. One of the best ways to give your upholstery an effective clean is to shampoo it with an upholstery cleaner. Not only will this remove dirt and debris, but it will also help bring back the fabrics' natural oils, which may have been stripped away with age and wear. Be sure to follow the directions on the cleaner for the best results — if done correctly, your furniture should look as good as new! Taking care of your upholstery will ensure it has a longer life and stays looking great for years to come.

4. Allow the upholstery to dry completely before using it 

If you're the ambitious type and you want to thoroughly clean your chair's upholstery, a good way to do that is to remove it from the chair frame. To do this, carefully remove it ensuring that you don't rip the fabric. Next, wash it with upholstery cleaner — be sure to follow the directions. 

When taking care of upholstery, it's essential to ensure it is completely dry before using or putting it back on the furniture. Allowing it to dry completely will ensure that moisture or mildew doesn't settle into the fabric and cause mold or discoloration. Spending a little extra time ensuring the upholstery has been dried properly means you'll be able to enjoy its beauty and protection for a long time. And if you're ever in doubt, don't hesitate to reach out to an expert – they can provide invaluable advice and knowledge about how best to care for and maintain your upholstery. 

5. Use an upholstery guard to protect against spills and stains 

Protecting your furniture from spills and stains is key to keeping it in beautiful condition for a long time. An upholstery guard can be your best line of defense. Upholstery guards create an invisible barrier that repels liquids, preventing them from soaking into your furniture's delicate fabrics and creating stains. Applying this protector regularly also helps to extend the life of the fabric, saving you time and money in cleaning solutions or other treatments down the road.   

6. Flip cushions regularly to keep them from becoming misshapen or lumpy

Remember to flip your cushions regularly to keep them in top condition! Make sure you turn your cushions around at least once a month, or even more frequently if possible. This will prevent the material from compressing due to regular use, and it will help maintain the shape and structural integrity of the cushions. Most fabrics are designed to “bounce back,” so if your cushion is starting to look lumpy or misshapen, flipping it around can bring life back into it. Regularly turning your cushions also helps extend their life — not only to maintain appearance but also for comfort's sake. 

7. Avoid placing your upholstered chair in direct sunlight, as this may cause fading 

Taking precautions to prevent fading of your upholstered chairs is an essential part of any home furniture maintenance regimen. Direct sunlight can fade fabrics and discolor leather, so keep your chairs away from windows or locations where the sun will be beaming. If you’re looking to let in some natural light while still protecting your chair, try placing sheer curtains or blinds over the windows. Additionally, rearranging your furniture occasionally can help preserve its beautiful finish and design as sunlight increases in intensity throughout the year. Finally, if you have certain pieces that aren't frequently used and you want to make sure they won’t fade, it might be best to store them out of direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time. Ultimately, these little steps can ensure that your upholstered furniture will look great for years to come! 

8. Check and tighten any loose screws to ensure the chair is secure

Making sure your chair is safe and secure doesn't have to be a long and potentially tricky process. All you need to do is ensure any loose screws are checked and tightened. We recommend giving them all a regular run-through, as this can hugely impact the overall stability of the chair itself. Taking just a few minutes out of your day can save you from any potential harm in the long term.  

How Acima Can Help 

Sometimes your upholstered furniture can’t be saved and you need to think about shopping for a replacement. If you're in the market for a new chair but don't want to ruin your budget, Acima Leasing can help! With our manageable lease-to-own options*, you can have the shopping power you’re looking for. The no credit option* with Acima Leasing makes it easier to get what you want when you need it most at a store near you. If you can’t clean your furniture and need another option, consider using Acima Leasing to help you shop. 

Check out this resource page as well as our FAQs to learn more about how Acima Leasing works.  


Common Questions About Upholstered Furniture 

Can you reupholster an old piece of furniture? 

Yes, you can reupholster an old piece of furniture. Reupholstering a piece of furniture changes its look and feel while giving it a new lease on life. Reupholstering involves removing the existing fabric or upholstery from the frame and replacing it with different fabrics, colors or textures to give your piece a refreshed look. Once the fabric is removed, it's also possible to repair any damage to the frame before starting the cleaning process. Ultimately, reupholstering is a great way to preserve vintage pieces or give new life to something that needs an update. 

Does steam cleaning damage upholstered furniture? 

No, steam cleaning generally does not damage upholstered furniture. Steam is a great way to remove dirt and bacteria from fabric without applying harsh chemicals or detergents. It's essential to check the manufacturer's recommendations before doing this, as some fabrics may not hold up well to high levels of heat or moisture. 

What can I use to protect my upholstered furniture from wear and tear? 

One way to protect your upholstered furniture from wear and tear is to use a fabric protector. This protective coating can help guard the furniture’s fibers against dirt, spills and other messes that could cause damage. Additionally, you can also use slipcovers or throws for extra protection.