Upholstered chairs are available in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes. But, whether you have a soft recliner or a formal dining room chair, it will need to be cleaned at some point. Sometimes a simple vacuuming can remove the dust and brighten the fabric, but other times years of pet stains, food spills, and dirt must be removed.

Before you begin, you need know what kind of upholstery is on your chair. Since 1969, furniture makers have included a tag to assist you in determining the best and safest method of cleaning upholstery. Search for the code tag below the chair or cushion and follow the cleaning instructions.

  • Code W: Water-based cleaning chemicals may be used to clean fabric.
  • Code S: To remove stains and dirt from upholstery, please use a dry cleaning or water-free solvent. The use of these chemicals requires a well-ventilated room and no open flames like fireplaces or candles.
  • Code W-S: Water-based or solvent-based cleaning agents may be used on the upholstery.
  • Code X : This fabric should only be cleaned by vacuuming or by a professional. Staining and shrinking may be caused by any sort of household cleaning chemical.

If no tag is present, you must try several cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous region to determine how the cloth behaves when handled.

How Often to Clean an Upholstered Chair

Spills and stains should be cleaned up right away. Lift any solids away from the fabric with the edge of a credit card or a blunt knife. Rubbing merely pushes the stain further into the upholstery. Wipe liquids with a paper towel until no more moisture transfers.

Although you should vacuum your upholstered chairs and sofa on a weekly basis, stain removal and general upholstery cleaning should be done on an as-needed or seasonal basis.


  • Mild dishwashing liquid
  • Commercial upholstery cleaner
  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Baking soda
  1. Vacuum the Chair

    Always start your deep cleaning by vacuuming the chair. You don’t want to move loose dirt around when completing a thorough cleaning. Use a vacuum with a hose and upholstery brush attachment to help loosen dust and crumbs and one with a HEPA filter to capture as much dust and allergens like pet dander as possible.

    Begin from the top of the chair and vacuum all of the upholstery. Don’t forget the lower sides and back of a fully-upholstered chair even if it is placed up against a wall.

    To reach deep between the cushions and the chair’s structure, use the crevice tool. Remove any detachable cushions from the chair and vacuum both sides. Then, if feasible, flip the chair over and vacuum the bottom and around the legs.


    Sprinkle dry baking soda on the upholstery to help freshen it up. Use a soft-bristled brush to work it into the cloth and let it for at least one hour (overnight is fine). Vacuum the baking soda, as well as the dust and stink.

  2. Treat Stains and Heavily Soiled Areas

    It is preferable if you know what created the stain, but it is not required. You can use a commercial upholstery cleaner to treat the stains by following the label instructions or create a homemade solution that works well on most types of stains. It is a good idea to give special attention to the arms and headrests, which are often stained with body oils and filth.

  3. Create a Stain-Removing Solution and Tackle Stains

    If the upholstery can be washed with water, combine one-fourth cup dishwashing liquid and one cup warm water in a medium mixing basin. To make suds, use an electric mixer or a whisk. Gently clean the discoloured areas using a sponge dipped in the suds (not the water). Rinse the sponge in a separate dish of warm water as the dirt is transferred. Wring the sponge until it is moist but not dripping. For extremely filthy regions, a soft-bristled nylon scrubbing brush may be used.

    Next, wipe away any cleaning solution with a sponge or microfiber cloth dipped in clean water. This “rinse” is critical because any detergent left in the fibers might attract more filth. Let the area to thoroughly dry out away from direct sunshine or heat.

    If a dry cleaning solution is required for the chair upholstery, carefully follow the guidelines on the product package.

  4. Prepare an Overall Cleaning Solution

    For general cleaning of chair upholstery with a W or W-S code, prepare a less-concentrated solution of dishwashing liquid and water. One teaspoon of dishwashing liquid per gallon of warm water is all that is required.

    Use a commercial dry cleaning solution or contact a professional upholstery cleaner for S-coded upholstery.

  5. Clean, Rinse, and Dry the Upholstery

    Dip a sponge or microfiber cloth in the solution and wring until just damp. Begin from the top of the chair and wipe off all of the fabric surfaces. Work in small sections at a time. Do not oversaturate the fabric or any of the chair’s metal or wood components.

    Finish with a clean, somewhat moist sponge or cloth soaked in water. Finish by wiping the upholstery with dry towels to absorb any remaining moisture. Use a circulating fan to speed up drying while avoiding direct heat from a hairdryer.

Tips to Keep Your Upholstered Chair Clean Longer

  • Treat stains and spills promptly.
  • Vacuum on a regular basis to eliminate dust, which weakens fibers.
  • Cover the arms and headrests with washable coverings that can be easily removed and cleaned.
  • Apply a stain-resistant product to a fresh upholstered chair.

Related Questions

  • What is the best thing to clean a fabric chair with?

    Prepare a mild cleaning solution by combining 1 teaspoon liquid laundry detergent with 1 litre of water and stirring thoroughly. It’s important to avoid saturating the material when deep cleaning your upholstered chairs, therefore, we use a microfibre cloth, soaked and completely wrung, to clean the fabric.

  • Can you use carpet cleaner on fabric chair?

    A carpet cleaner may undoubtedly be used to clean a sofa. Upholstery attachments for carpet cleaners are typically mild enough to clean the couch and get into all the nicks and creases. The same cleaning solution may be used; the only difference is the material of the couch.

  • How do you clean a fabric dining chair?

    As much surplus liquid as possible should be removed. Dampen a clean cloth with surgical spirit (rubbing alcohol) and gently dab the stain. Blot the area with cold water mixed with a liquid detergent – it may be necessary to do this more than once. Dry the area with a cloth, then blot dry with cold water.

  • How do you clean a fabric upholstery chair?

    As you wait, make a mixture of four parts warm water and one part laundry detergent. Apply the cleaning solution to your upholstery with a rough sponge or a soft bristle brush. Scrub the cloth along the grain until the dirt and stains are lifted. Wipe away any residual suds or dirt with a moist, clean towel.

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