Cleaning Old Upholstery

I bought an old brocade chair at a junk store. The upholstery is in good shape, no spots or stains, just generally dirty all over. What's the best way to clean it?


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August 30, 20180 found this helpful

Unless you know the fabric is washable, just vacuum. There are companies that come to your home to clean non-washable upholstery.

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August 30, 20180 found this helpful

If there is a care tag hidden under a cushion or stapled underneath the chair, it may give you cleaning instructions. If the cushion has a zipper it may be tucked inside. In the short term, a thorough vaccuming with a hand held machine like a shark or if your vacuum has an upholstery tool I would do a gentle all over clean! If you have a dry sunny day, letting it sit out in the sun forca few hours can freshen it up!

If it has a smell, you may want to call one if the upholstery pros in to check it out!


Enjoy your find!

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August 31, 20180 found this helpful

I believe you mean the upholstery is too dirty to just vacuum and use but you need to do more before you will allow it in your home? I have also found items that were in that condition but they were a bargain and I decided to take a chance on cleaning them well enough to use.

  • There are upholstery cleaners in the cleaning aisles of most large grocery stores as well as Lowe's, Home Depot, Ace or True Value Hardware so check out several and see which one looks like something you would like to try.
  • Although, I have used cleaners like Spray N' Wash and they did a good job but you have to be careful if the fabric is delicate.
  • Decide on your cleaner; have everything you will need handy; lots of clean rags (I like white as you can see the dirt).
  • Turn your chair so you start with the very back panel on your chair - a place that cannot be seen from the front.
  • According to the type of cleaner you have chosen; spray or dab the cleaner on this panel and wait appropriate time before trying to remove. Do NOT soak the panel as you just want to clean the top layer, not the inside.

    You can always go back a second time if the first did not do a good enough job.
  • I usually have a damp cloth ready and dab wherever I have the cleaner - sometimes you can slightly rub (in the direction of the grain - never against the grain) but do not "rough" up the material. You should see a large amount of dirt on your cloth so just keep turning the cloth until you need a new clean cloth or you can stop and wait an hour or so for that to dry and see how it looks.
  • Upholstery will usually look cleaner when dry than when wet. Inspect your work and see if it needs a second time.
  • If you are fairly gentle and do not rough up the material you may find this will work on the rest of your chair. Just be sure to do everything in stages; back, sides, front and then the seat (do the seat lightly all over and wait! - then do it lightly again until it looks like what you envisioned when you first saw it.
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  • This is a slow process and better done outside but not in hot direct sunshine. You can always use Febreze if a slight cleaner odor lingers very long.
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August 31, 20180 found this helpful

I got a bottle of upholstery cleaner recently from the grocery store and it worked great. I think it was called Resolve? (Can't remember, I'm not there right this second.) Anyway, give it a shot! It wasn't costly.

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August 31, 20180 found this helpful

There are upholstery cleaners that I think might be of help to you. You can find them in most hardware stores, read the label carefully to find what best is for your kind of materiel.

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