How to clean upholstered furniture

All cleaned up and ready to go

Inspired by my recent (dingy) vintage Steelcase office chair find, I’m sharing how I go about cleaning upholstered furniture. I got the vintage red chair during a Goodwill first Saturday of the month sale so I took her home for only $3. The chair had a lot of dirt and grime on the arm rests and on the casters, like it had been heavily used in an office and then it had been rolled around outside for awhile. Apparently the chair was so gross that I forgot to take a before picture but I think you can imagine it.

Now to the good stuff! How do you get rid of all the dirt and grime from upholstery? Well, let me tell you; there’s no real secret to cleaning upholstered furniture (sorry). All you need is a vacuum, soap, water, and a little elbow grease, but what a difference these simple steps can make! Check below for the details.


What you’ll need:

How to do it:

  1. Start by vacuuming the upholstery with the brush attachment to make sure you get all the settled dust and debris out.

  2. Fill a bucket with hot soapy water (as hot as you can handle). Add soap, just a few drops should do.

  3. Dip your desired rag or brush into the hot sudsy water but be careful not to oversaturate it, you don’t want to get the upholstered furniture soaking wet.

  4. Scrub any problem areas or noticeable stains on the upholstery and give a good once over on the entire piece with your soapy scrub pad.

  5. Wipe the entire piece with a clean damp cloth a few times to get all of the soapy water cleaned up.

  6. Let dry COMPLETELY before using. Don’t skip this step!



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