How to Clean a Fabric Chair

How to Clean a Fabric Chair

Hopefully, you don’t have to clean your fabric chair regularly. However, whether you’ve just purchased one of the best chairs on the Real Homes team’s list and want to keep it looking new, or you’ve received some hand-me-down upholstery in need of some TLC, knowing how to keep your furniture in tip-top shape is always helpful.

Whether you’re cleaning a vintage chair or a couch, this step-by-step instruction will walk you through the basics of commercial cleaning the fabric on these items using baking soda, vinegar, and, of course, your vacuum!

Vacuum the Chair to Remove Any Dust or Debris

You should do this at least once a week to keep your furniture free of dust and filth. Hoovering your upholstery regularly also prevents smaller particles from becoming embedded in the fabric, making the removal much more difficult.

Remove any loose throw pillows, take them outdoors, and gently beat them to get rid of the dust. Then, using the fabric attachment and a gradual sweeping motion, vacuum all exposed sections of the sofa seat and back cushions, working left to right. Set the vacuum to low if you’re working with silk or linen.

If necessary, remove the cleaned back and seat cushions from the chair, place them face down on a clean floor, and vacuum their undersides. Next, using the upholstery attachment, vacuum the visible sections of the furniture. Then, change to the crevice tool to get into any edges, tufting, gaps, or button nooks.

Spot Clean Fabric Stains

Depending on the material you’re dealing with, use these simple spot stain removal procedures after vacuuming up any removable debris. Always read the label first. When cleaning upholstery, dab rather than rub firmly to avoid pushing dirt further into the fabric and distorting it.

Baking Soda

If you want to freshen up your fabric furniture, many swear by bicarbonate of soda or baking soda. Bicarbonate of soda is also an effective stain remover for linen. Simply sprinkle some onto the stain, wait a few minutes for it to work its magic, then vacuum it up and gently dab it away.

Baby Wipes

Choose the softest baby wipes you can find and dab at whatever has gotten on your chair with care. This should work for chocolate and oily fingerprints.

Upholstery Wipes

What if you don’t have any baby wipes on hand? To always have an emergency stain solution on hand, stock up on upholstery wipes. Wipe gently once again and choose one that matches the material of your chair.

Deep Clean Your Armchair

Laundry Detergent

Dilute your laundry detergent with water and spray it onto your chair. A liquid detergent works better than a powder because it needs a lower temperature to dissolve, and a powder detergent can leave smudges behind.


Combine half a cup of warm water and an equal quantity of white vinegar in a mixing bowl. Then, wet a microfiber cloth with the solution and dab the stain with it.

After that, dab with a clean cloth again after mixing a mild dishwashing agent like Dawn with some warm water. Rinse with clean water and remove any residue with a clean cloth. Allow it to dry.

Washing Machine

If your upholstery covers can be removed, and the care label specifies that they may be washed; vacuum first, then proceed following the care directions to the letter. Remember that placing them in a hot wash can cause them to shrink, making it harder to get them back on the furniture. If in doubt, opt for a gentle, cool wash and avoid tumble drying.

Top tip: Gently tug the fabric back into shape after it has been washed. Replace the chair covers while they are still slightly damp and air dry them. Any lingering wrinkles should be stretched out.

Don’t put the cushions back on the couch or armchair with the moist covers just yet; instead, set them up somewhere to dry completely before placing them and using them again.

Dry Your Fabric Chairs

Knowing how to properly dry fabric chairs after cleaning them is crucial, as many people make the mistake of leaving them out in direct sunlight or using a hairdryer to speed up the process.

Remember that strong heat from a blow dryer might harm the material (particularly while wet) and that direct sunshine can fade it.

Here are a few ideas for drying your freshly washed fabric chairs:

  • Dry the material as much as possible with paper towels, then place the chairs under a circulating fan to dry overnight.
  • Take the chairs outside and place them in a shady spot to dry. If it’s a windy day, you might want to rethink this decision because the unsettling dust and debris will make your fabric chairs look dirtier than they were before you cleaned them!
  • Open all the room’s windows and doors while turning on the ceiling fan at maximum speed. Increasing the room’s ventilation will assist in drying the material faster. 

Remove Pet Hair from Fabric Chairs

If your pets want to snuggle up on the couch with you, consider these upholstered chair cleaning tips. Put on a pair of rubber gloves and run them over your furniture to remove pet hair. The gloves create static electricity, which pulls the hair to the chair’s edge, where it can be easily vacuumed off. 

A DIY static spray can also be made by combining water and a small amount of fabric softener. Spray the solution on the chair and use a cloth to wipe away the hair. Furniture brushes and pet hair hand vacuums are two other excellent devices for cleaning fur from furniture.

Final Note

Even the best efforts at home aren’t always enough. If you spilled a full glass of wine on a fabric chair, a pet had a (smelly) accident, or anything else equally dreadful happened to the fabric chair, you should take it to a professional cleaner.

Allowing professionals to handle the stain may cost more, but it will take the stress off and ensure that your chair receives the best treatment option.

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About the Author

Hi, this is Beau. I am a full-time accountant and part-time writer, working with Clean Group for over six years now. I mostly work at the back end, managing the company accounts and keeping everything organised. Having been in this business for almost a decade now, I know how to successfully manage a cleaning business and bring profits without compromising quality and ensuring the best value of money for my customers. I also routinely participate in the process to create cleaning packages that are centred on customers’ needs and designed to be affordable yet profitable for the company.

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