how to clean an old upholstered chair

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Cleaning an old upholstered chair can be a daunting task, especially if it has years of accumulated dust and grime. However, with the right tools, techniques, and a bit of patience, you can restore your cherished chair and give it a new lease of life. In this article, we will guide you through step-by-step on how to clean an old upholstered chair and bring back its original shine.

Tools and Materials

Before we begin, let's take a look at the tools and materials you will need for cleaning your old upholstered chair. These include:

  • Vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment
  • Soft-bristled brush or toothbrush
  • Fabric cleaner or mild dish soap
  • Baking soda or cornstarch
  • Clean water
  • White vinegar or rubbing alcohol
  • Lint roller
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Towels or newspapers to cover the floor

Cleaning Process

Now that you have gathered all the necessary tools and materials, it's time to get started on cleaning your old upholstered chair. Follow these steps carefully:

  1. Begin by removing any loose debris, such as dust, hair, or crumbs, with a vacuum cleaner using the upholstery attachment. Pay close attention to the crevices and corners of the chair, as these are often the hardest to reach areas.
  2. Next, use a soft-bristled brush or a toothbrush to gently scrub any stains or dirt spots on the chair's surface. Be careful not to scrub too hard, or you may damage the fabric. If there are any particularly stubborn stains, use a fabric cleaner or mild dish soap diluted with water. Apply the cleaner to the stained area and blot with a damp cloth until the stain disappears.
  3. If your upholstered chair has a stubborn odor, sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch generously over the surface of the chair. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes, or overnight for heavy odors, then vacuum the powder off.
  4. For deeper cleaning, mix equal parts water and white vinegar or rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Spray the solution evenly over the chair's surface and let it sit for a few minutes. Blot the area with a clean cloth to remove the cleaner and dirt, then let it air dry. Be sure to test this solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the chair first to make sure it doesn't damage the fabric.
  5. Once you have cleaned the entire surface of the chair, use a lint roller to remove any remaining debris or hair. Then, use a microfiber cloth to wipe the chair down and remove any excess moisture. Let the chair dry completely before using it again.

Maintenance Tips

To keep your upholstered chair looking clean and fresh, here are some additional tips:

  • Vacuum your chair on a regular basis, at least once a week, to prevent dust and dirt from building up.
  • Blot spills immediately with a clean cloth to prevent the stain from setting in.
  • Avoid exposing your chair to direct sunlight, as this can cause the fabric to fade over time.
  • Consider using a fabric protector spray to help repel spills and stains.


Cleaning an old upholstered chair may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, materials, and techniques, you can have your chair looking as good as new in no time. Remember to be gentle, test any cleaner on an inconspicuous area first, and let the chair dry completely before using it again. With regular maintenance, your cherished upholstered chair can last for many years to come.


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