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How to Clean Fabric Chairs for Stains & More

How to clean fabric chairs without rubbing in stains? Get started with these five easy hacks for spotless results.

1. Determine the type of fabric.

Use only the cleaner appropriate for the type of fabric you are dealing with. If you are not sure which cleaning product you should use, check the cleaning care tags or test out a cleaner on a small area before using it to remove stains. Here’s more info on decoding care tags.

2. Clear away loose dirt with a vacuum.

Loose dirt can easily set in, creating an altogether new stain. Prevent such from happening by vacuuming your chair regularly.

3. Mix your own solution.

While most vinyl and leather upholstery will be compatible with furniture polish, fabric chairs can often be cleaned with a DIY solution. 
  • If the chair’s fabric is compatible with a water solution, make your own! In a bowl, stir together water and soap, with water comprising ¾ of the solution.
  • Apply a small amount of the solution to a clean towel, and blot the stain.

4. Use hydrogen peroxide.

You can also apply hydrogen peroxide to any stained areas of a fabric chair. To do this, simply apply hydrogen peroxide to a towel (use microfiber for best results) and blot the stain. Test a small area on the upholstery to make sure hydrogen peroxide won’t affect the fabric.

5. Deep clean with a steamer.

A steam cleaner will deliver a deeper clean than blotting with a towel alone. After cleaning with a steam cleaner, let dry fully before using the chair again to prevent the trapping of moisture.

How to Clean Microfiber Chairs

Microfiber, a man-made material (woven nylon and polyester) attracts particles like a magnet. Clean a microfiber chair with a cleaning brush; dip a scrubbing brush into a diluted liquid dish soap solution and scrub the stain until it lifts. To prevent liquid from sinking into microfiber, have another, dry brush on hand to scrub the moisture when you are done, and make sure to vacuum the fabric as a final step.

How to Clean Vinyl Chairs

Since vinyl is a smooth, somewhat glossy material, it is less aborbent and easier to clean. To clean a vinyl chair, use baking soda. Baking soda on vinyl can be used by either a paste (mixing water and baking soda) or by simply sprinkling some baking soda onto a slightly damp towel and scrubbing the stain with the towel. Once you've applied the towel or paste to the area of the stain, let it sit for ten minutes and rinse off with a clean damp towel. Dry the remaining moisture by blotting a dry towel.

Best Fabric for Dining Room Chairs

The dining room is where you eat, generally, so the best type of fabric for dining room chairs will be easy to clean. Since dining rooms also tend to be more formal, you'll also want to make sure the fabric matches the surrounding elegant decor; cotton blends, suede (similar to microfiber), synthetic fabrics like polyester and short pile velvet are all easy to clean and bring high style.

Best Fabric for Kitchen Chairs

Like the dining room, the kitchen is where the eating is done, but unlike the dining room, the kitchen tends to be more casual. For this reason, you can get away with more casual materials for chairs in the kitchen. Some casual materials that are also easy to clean and comfy enough for kitchen seating include vinyl and polyester blends. If you really want to play it safe, opt for fabrics designed for stain resistance, also called high performance fabric. You can also choose patterned fabrics, which will more easily hide spills and stains than solid fabric chairs. Finally, consider Scotch-guarding, if your kitchen chairs are compatible with it!

Need a Cleaning Care Kit?

Visit us in-store to purchase a furniture cleaning kit designed for the care and cleaning of fabric chairs.

Fabric care kit includes: 8 oz stain away cleaner, 8 oz deodorizer, sponge & absorbent cloth. This kit helps remove everyday stains quickly before they can "set in." Designed for high efficiency in neutralizing strong odors.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.